Hidden termite damage or even structural damage is a possibility whenever a home has a termite problem. Termite damage especially hidden termite damage can go on for years undetected. Homes with undetected hidden termite damage are at the greatest risk for structural problems caused by termites.
Recently we were called to a home in Cheshire, CT with just such an issue. The call started as a one for what the homeowner suspected of being “wood rot”. Typically we don’t get involved with these types of jobs as a carpenter is usually the best person to call. A carpenter should be able to correct the issue of exactly why wood rot exists. The usual culprit is water congregating in a particular area and then soaking exposed wood. However, right from the start I suspected that this job wasn’t water damage. The reason is that like most good termite inspectors I asked a few key questions. The exact questions I asked were:
1. Has your home ever had termites?
Answer- Yes, back in the early eighties
2. Is the damage located anywhere where there may possibly be water seepage?
Answer- No, the damage is located at an interior wall between the house and our concrete slab breezeway.
Asking these questions and getting accurate answers helped me decide that this couple needed a termite inspection. We provided the termite inspection for free.
Upon arrival at the home the picture located below is what I found. This previously hidden termite damage was located in a baseboard just as the homeowner explained between a concrete slab breezeway and the basement stairs. If you look closely at the damage you’ll see the characteristic mud left behind by eastern subterranean termites. These termites were also building shelter tubes up a 2″ high concrete wall and entering into the drywall. as pictured to the right.
The couple who owns this home were obviously distressed as they’d had a relatively significant termite problem in the eighties. However, the didn’t do yearly termite inspections after the 8th year of being termite free and figured the problem was beat. They were wrong.
Hidden termite damage
Although we don’t usually open walls to see what type of damage exists within the wall, this homeowner was persistent. Since we do have staff members that are handy we agreed to open the wall for an inspection. When we opened the wall it was obvious that the termites not only had been there awhile, but also that a major repair was going to be needed.
Moral of the story
Over my past 20 years in the pest control industry I’ve seen many homes like this. Most all of the issues could have been prevented by having an annual termite inspection. The homes that are in particular danger are those homes that have had termites in the past.
Past termite treatments
Over the years, particularly in the seventies and eighties many homes were treated with a product called Chloradane. This product has since come off the market due to safety issues. Many people who remember this product talk about it as if it had magical properties and that a home treated with it could never have termites again. Someone should tell that to the aforementioned homeowners as their home was treated with Chloradane and they’re getting a termite treatment bill for $1200 and a termite damage repair bill from a home improvement contractor well in excess of that.
If your home has had termites in the past or has termites now, please fill out the form below or call us at 1-888-879-6481. We can help.
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