Each year, termites cause significant damage to structures in the United States. Experts estimate homeowners spend billions of dollars annually to treat infestations and repair termite damage. The interesting thing about damage from termites is that homeowners and property managers seldom see termites. Watch for the signs and get regular inspections from a quality, licensed inspector — because early detection is the key to stopping and preventing further termite wood damage.
Termites are difficult to detect because they infest structures and devour the wood inside walls and other hidden areas. Before you start thinking about termite damage repair cost and questions like, “Does homeowner’s insurance cover termite damage?”, make sure you’ve taken the proper steps to stop the infestation and prevent it from coming back. Beginning repair work before you’ve taken care of the termites is a waste of time and money, and the chances of more repairs are high.
Once your home is termite-free and protected against reinfestation, it’s time to think about termite damage repair. But how do you know how much damage termites have done if much of it can be hidden? You learn how to spot termite damage in some of the most common areas of your home and how to look for telltale signs. Here’s what you need to know about termite damage and more from top to bottom.
Types of Termite Damage
Termite Droppings (Frass)
Termites love the damp wood found in basements and tunnels, which is why termites are often discovered either within basements or emerging from them. Termites build their tunnels using their feces, or frass, as part of the building material for the tubes they build. Drywood frass can be different colors, depending on the wood termites have been eating, and they are always six-sided. While the appearance of frass is a sure sign of a termite infestation, cleaning up the “damage” requires only a broom and a dustpan.
Termite Exit Holes
When a colony matures and produces reproductive termites, workers create small holes to allow them to exit. Locating these holes can identify the location of a termite infestation. Repairing termite exit holes in wood requires sanding to create a smooth surface and filling the holes with wood filler. Wood fillers and finishing products come with easy-to-follow instructions that can make the process easy for the average DIYer.
Another practical termite repair many homeowners can tackle is termite damage in drywall. Again, be aware that a wall or other surface damaged by termites could have hidden structural damage. Consider having a professional inspect any areas where damage has occurred to make sure you’re not just putting a bandaid on a bigger problem. For most surface damage on sheetrock, a little sanding, patching, and painting will usually do the trick.
Sagging floors and ceilings result from both subterranean and drywood termite infestations. Severe infestations can even cause the termite wood-damaged areas to buckle or collapse. Contrary to popular belief, termites are not partial to aging wooden structures; they have inhabited new buildings within a short time after construction. Unfortunately, structural failure because of termite wood damage is not at all uncommon.
While the scope of structural repairs varies greatly, in addition to repairing termite wood damage in the framing, you could be looking at sheetrock, molding, and other repairs. While patching holes and some other repairs are easy for some homeowners, the rest of the repairs should be handled by a professional.
Termites can damage the underlying flooring and the laminate over it. Damage caused to laminate flooring by termite infestations can appear similar to water damage. Laminate will blister and sag in affected areas and you may even see small holes in the flooring. When repairing damage like this, it is often necessary to remove and replace the flooring and underlayment. If you’re pretty handy, this may be something you can do yourself, but if in doubt, leave it to the pros.
Hardwood floors are typically more expensive to replace or repair than laminate and other flooring types. But if the termite wood damage is restricted to a few small areas, you may be in luck. That’s because some hardwood floors, and certain laminate floors, contain individual boards or pieces that can be removed.
Depending on the type of flooring, you may be signing up for some sanding and figuring out how to get a matching finish, but for an experienced DIYer, this route may save money. If you’re not comfortable working with the tools and products needed to repair termite damage in hardwood floors, skip it and hire someone who is.
Damage caused to ceilings by termites commonly resembles light water damage. Affected ceilings buckle and sag. Repairing termite ceiling damage depends upon the level of infestation and the materials with which your ceiling was constructed. However, the first visible signs of termite damage often indicate full-scale infestations and can require expensive replacement.
In addition to ceiling repairs, you could also have structural damage in the frame above the ceiling. Patching a ceiling here and there to cover exit holes and painting isn’t too difficult, but serious damage should be inspected by a professional.
Subterranean termites are the most common variety in California and are responsible for most damage to structures. Almost any exposed wood or gap underground can allow these termites to cause significant damage to a foundation, which will require installing supports and replacing blocks. This work will require a professional who is well versed in not only termite damage, but understands the procedures for proper foundation repair.
If termites have already damaged your home, you’re going to need wood repair services from the team at Hi-Tech Termite Control. People rarely know they are dealing with an infestation until after the pests have already started to cause damage to the home. In your time of need, you deserve to have an expert who specializes in repairing the destruction caused by wood-destroying insects like termites.
If you have an infestation, we’re here to help. Based upon the nature and extent of termite infestation, Hi-Tech’s advanced technology could be the perfect solution. We proudly provide service throughout Southern California, including in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Orange County — call to learn more or get started today with a free inspection!