Termites are able to inflict costly damage to your property. They’ll eat everything from insulation and fabric to carpeting and cardboard. While termites may be a friend to the environment, they are certainly no friend to your home. They’ll feast on wood and cause damage to your crawl space, walls, basement, and support beams.
Both termite damage and the following wood rot can compromise the structural integrity of your home. Because they look similar, these two issues can be hard to differentiate if you’re not a professional. Wood rot, most commonly dry rot, occurs because fungi attack the wood and destroy it, leaving it hollow inside. Termite damage, on the other hand, occurs when termites eat wood from the inside out, leaving it hollow and structurally unsound.
Once the infestation has been cleared out, you need professionals to repair the damage. In some cases, the damage will make it so you can no longer reside in the house. Let’s explore how Innovative Basement Authority can help your home recover from termite damage.
Signs of Termite Damage
Termites cause billions of dollars in damage every year, with homeowners having to spend exorbitant amounts out of their own pockets to treat them. Most of the time, this happens without you even knowing until it’s too late. It’s only when you see the telltale signs of termite damage that you realize how deep in you really are.
- Visible Termites, Wings, and Droppings
Termites are hard to eradicate because of how quickly they start new colonies. When termites mature, they leave the nest and, upon doing so, shed their wings. You can find these wings in hidden corners, spider webs, or surfaces like windowsills.
You may also see mature termites leaving the nest in large swarms. This can take place both inside and outside. Because it takes years for a termite colony to produce swarmers, you can assume that this has been going on for some time. A professional exterminator should be called as fast as possible to prevent further damage.
After their wood consumption, termites can also leave behind droppings known as “frass.” These piles of droppings are another sign that you might have a termite infestation. The droppings are quite small and resemble wood shavings or sawdust. This troublesome sign indicates that infestation is quite far along. Because of the damage to the wood, and subsequently, to your home, extensive home repairs might be needed.
Winged Carpenter Ants (Left) have pinched-in waists, elbowed antennas, and forewings that are longer than their hind wings.
Winged Termites (Right) have a uniformed waist, straight antennae, and wings of equal size.
- Sounds from the Walls
These wood-eating creatures can often be heard through the walls. If you are close to termite-infested wood, you will be able to hear them chomping away. Other termites also bang their heads against the wood to warn their colony of danger.
The hollowness of the wood already compromises the structural integrity of the wall, but this movement can worsen the problem. This results in a weak wall that can collapse and injure people. If your basement or crawl space is affected, a professional can install supports to help stabilize your walls and recover from the damage.
- Dried Mud
When termites accidentally make an opening that leads to the outside world, they generally cover it with mud to prevent exposure. This is because they dislike exposure to the outside airflow. These “pinholes” are a sign of a termite infestation that is ongoing. This can make the already paper-thin walls even weaker. Wall repairs or reinforcement will be required to ensure safety and security.
- Mud Tunnels or Mud Tubes in the Foundation of Your House
Most commonly seen around the house’s foundation, these are caused by subterranean termites that use them to travel from the soil to your home. These mud tunnels hold moisture, which protects the termites from drying out. Moisture is a common theme among termites; it not only attracts them but also lets them thrive. Moisture-proof and waterproof solutions specific to your basement or crawl space will be needed to help combat this. The foundation should also be fixed in order to ensure that future infestations are avoided.
- Damaged or Hollow Wood
Because termites eat wood from the inside out, the wood can sound hollow when tapped. If you knock on an area and it sounds hollow, it may be a sign of termite damage. This results in blistering wood. In addition to being unsightly, this is dangerous, since the wooden structure is not intact. For example, in the case of your support beams, they would be unable to support the weight of your ceiling or walls. If the damage isn’t repaired, this could result in tilting or collapsed walls.
- Appearance of Water Damage
Peeling or bubbling paint is often seen in cases of termite infestations. This takes place because of the moisture buildup that termites produce when eating. This moisture will attract more termites as well as fungi, which will result in more buildup and advanced wood rot. If the paint is bubbling, the wall beneath it is infested and will need to be replaced or reinforced.
- Damaged Trees
Termites can also damage trees in your backyard. This can be dangerous, since the tree can fall over, damaging your home or other areas of your property. It is also a bad sign since their next target could be your home. Fallen trees can also damage structures like pergolas and decks, which would then need foundation support or other repair solutions.
- Swollen Ceilings and Floors
Termites cause the wood to not only swell but also become unsteady. This can be extremely dangerous since it can cause structural damage to the floors and ceilings. There is even a risk of bodily harm since this can make parts of the infested areas cave in, which further damages the house and results in more repairs needed.
- Buckling Floors
While this can be caused by excessive moisture, another cause of buckling wood is termites. Wood blistering is a classic sign of termites and should be investigated before further damage occurs. Buckling floors and excessive moisture make the floors weaker and more prone to damage. In addition to destroying the look of your home, this makes the floor uneven and harder to walk on. When temperatures change, the wood might even shrink, exposing unsightly cracks and gaps.
- Maze-Like Patterns in Wood
This is the most obvious sign of termites, caused by the insects eating through your wooden flooring, walls, or furniture. This weakens the structure of the wooden object and makes it more likely to break down. Floors can splinter and give in, furniture can collapse, and walls can be prone to cave-ins.
- Windows and Doors That Are Hard to Open
Termites produce moisture when they eat and tunnel through wood. This may result in the door frame or window frame beginning to warp and cause friction. Because of this, doors and windows may become jammed, and be difficult to open and close. Addressing this sooner rather than later may allow one to salvage parts of the frames, instead of throwing out and replacing everything.
- Smells Like Mildew and Mold
Mildew and mold-like smells are a sign of extreme termite infestation. Call a professional immediately. This is especially true if you remove the mold or mildew and the area continues to smell. The culprit is likely moisture, and not resolving this will result in more termite damage and wood rot until affected areas are completely destroyed. One common area is the crawl space or basement. Over time, mold causes structural damage to the house and the things in it.
Causes of Termite Damage
Termite damage may occur because of several factors. These include but are not limited to:
- Excessive Moisture
Termites thrive on moisture. This protects them by insulating them, which is why they look for wood in wet areas. Water buildup around your property is one of the main reasons they target your home. Other attractions include:
- Standing water
- Leaky pipes
- Clogged gutters
It is essential to avoid these at all costs if you want your home to be less attractive to termites.
Even wet air can attract termites. This is why it is necessary to make sure that all areas of your house are properly ventilated and that air circulation is taking place. Key areas to target here are bathrooms, the basement or crawl space, and even the laundry room. Innovative Basement Authority’s comprehensive list of waterproofing solutions can be utilized to make sure moisture is eliminated. The WallSeal™ vapor barrier can seal your basement completely and thus deter moisture and improve air quality. It’s also important to properly seal your crawl space, and the CrawlSeal™ vapor barrier will be used to fully encapsulate the area.
- Foundation Issues or Cracks
Termite infestations inside your home are much harder to deal with. Foundational issues are the main culprit for this. Cracks and openings can be gateways for termites and can result in a severe infestation. This can be prevented by fixing any cracks or holes as soon as they are formed.
Cracks around doors and windows, as well as those in walls, provide easy entrances for termites to enter your home. Even cracks in concrete and lack of caulk can allow these creatures to make their way inside. Our use of wall anchors and carbon fiber supports ensures that load-bearing walls are salvaged and save you the expense of replacing the entire structural system.
- The Proximity of Wood
Tree branches, woodpiles, and other wood that is in contact with your house can be fodder for termites. Mulch and firewood close to the home can also result in a termite infestation. Therefore, be careful to place lots of room between a fence post and your house. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Termite Damage Repair
It isn’t a matter of can you – it’s a matter of should you. DIY solutions may seem attractive because of the cost, but don’t be fooled into this. Termites leave behind costly damage, but the situation can escalate if you use the wrong tools, safety equipment, or lack the right experience.
- Escalating the Damage
If you attempt to repair support beams, walls, or flooring that’s been damaged by termites, there’s a high chance of making the problem worse. You may:
- Cause the beams to collapse
- Reinforce the wrong areas and thus place unnecessary weight on part of your walls that can’t take it
- Only cover up structural issues or cracks rather than fixing them
- Miss signs of related damage, which can escalate out of sight
- Damage waterproofing measures that are already in place within your crawl space or basement
That’s just a few possible damages. Your DIY attempts will not have the long-term benefits of seeking out a professional. With Innovative Basement Authority, you can benefit from long-term warranties on the work, free inspections, and more than 15 years of experience. This will ensure your home is better prepared for the future, rather than harboring surprise damage waiting to be discovered.
- The Wrong Gear and Safety Equipment
Replacing and repairing wood that’s been damaged by termites is a delicate process. It requires specialized gear and equipment to make sure the corrections are applied properly. Aside from that, professionals will have safety measures, equipment, and masks that allow them to deal with areas that are weakened by infestations. If you try to undertake this yourself, you could end up with injuries.
Innovative Basement Authority can also use professional-grade solutions to any structural instability. These can’t be replicated on your own. With a professional inspection, a team can assess if you need solutions such as IntelliJack™ floor joists or other stabilizers to lift any floors that are sagging due to wood decay. With everything level and back to its original position, any sign of termite damage will be erased.
Once you’ve successfully removed the termite problem, you should focus on making sure that it doesn’t happen again. Termite control isn’t usually covered by home insurance, and for good reason. It is part of the owner’s due diligence to ensure that their property is protected and regularly inspected. Innovative Basement Authority’s solutions can help make these efforts more effective.
- Make Changes That Help Long Term
Termites are only able to infest a home if they can gain access. Because of this, it’s important to have your home inspected for any cracks, gaps, or fissures along your:
- Crawl space
Even cracks in your flooring can allow termites to work their way up and into your home. If extreme weather has caused your home’s foundation to settle, this may lead to gaps in your crawl space or basement. Heavy winds can shift tree roots, causing them to poke into your home. These are all factors that an expert will be able to identify and recommend repairs to correct, so your home can stay termite-free.
- Target Moisture and Humidity
In order to make your home less attractive to termites, consider looking into moisture-proofing and waterproofing options. Make sure to keep moisture away from your home with a crawl space dehumidifier. No moisture equals less interest from termites, making this a win-win solution. Using vent covers can also minimize open spaces for termites to crawl through.
If your basement is prone to flooding, don’t worry. Using the SafeDri™ Sump Pump System can eliminate this problem. This can pump out water and leave your basement nice and dry, and more importantly, less attractive to termites.
Local Crawl Space Professionals Can Help You with Termite Damage Repair
Termite damage repair can be both costly and inconvenient to deal with – save yourself the stress and leave it to the professionals. Not only can you rest assured that your work will be taken care of properly, but you can also rest easy knowing that your home will be better equipped for any future termite scares. With our state-of-the-art prevention measures and repairs, termites will be less of a concern. These include structural wall repair and more. From a dehumidifier and crawl space vent covers to wall anchors and carbon fiber supports, we have it all.
Contact us and book your free inspection today! Take advantage of our free quote policy and ask us any and all questions about our termite damage repair services.