Termite Damage to Phoenix Area Homes
Termites damage property by eating wood and other plant matter, and nesting in hollow spaces. Termites possess strong mandibles specifically developed for chewing wood.
Some termites start with damaged wood and spread from there, but drywood termites attack structurally sound lumber.
Termites will eat any wood or other natural materials. Paper, storage boxes, and carpets are all at risk. They do the greatest damage to wood. They eat both structural and decorative lumber.
Additionally, termites are filthy insects. Many types will nest in wall voids, tight empty spaces, and hollowed out lumber. They build their nest mostly from termite feces. Inside, termites grow fungus to feed immature members. Aside from the health hazards, these habits increase damage to your home and the size of the colony eating it.
Initial termite damage is mostly superficial. Tunnels in external wood, damage to decorative molding and sills, and what appears to be water damage to boxes, books, and carpets. Over time, termite colonies grow and infest structural supports, hollowing out studs, beams, and flooring.
Given a long enough period, termites will destroy the structural integrity of your home. Some species can do this in two years. Thankfully, most types take longer to reach this level.
Hollow sounds when knocking on what should be solid wood are a good sign of advanced damage.
Termite Damage Repair
In rare cases termites damage homes beyond repair.
Other damage falls into three categories, depending on when the infestation is caught and corrected. Before you begin repairs, it is important to ensure the infestation has been eliminated. Beginning repairs too early only provide termites with additional food.
Repair cost and difficulty depend on the length of infestation and fall into three categories.
Severity of Damage
Superficial damage occurs before nests are fully established. Small holes in walls, shallow and incomplete tunnels, and apparent water damage to cardboard and carpets mark this stage.
Most repairs can be completed yourself by carving out affected wood and filling it in with appropriate materials. Once a termite infestation occurs, the lumber is susceptible, especially if repairs are incomplete. Employing a professional is recommended for this reason.
Moderate damage is similar to superficial but more prevalent. Termites begin digging into structural lumber and infest non-essential wood. Tunnels are longer and deeper.
Repairs are time-consuming and more difficult. A homeowner experienced with home repair can still perform the tasks. Damaged sections may need to be removed and replaced.
Damage to structural integrity occurs when termites have bored into beams and studs. At this point, repair requires a professional. Some structures can be repaired while others will need to be carefully replaced.
The time and effort for these repairs usually require more than one visit. Costs depend on materials, experience, location and amount of structures damaged. Estimates run in hundreds of dollars for each repair segment. The entire home typically costs hundreds to thousands of dollars.
How Do I Prevent Termite Damage?
Here are steps you can take to make your house a less attractive target to Termites.
- Keep mulch, wood debris, and firewood away from your home.
- Trim shrubs and bushes away from the foundation.
- Remove excess vegetation, including stumps and debris. If you compost, use an enclosed system.
- Keep lumber and paper products clear of the foundation, inside and out.
- Remove infested trees and stumps.
- Fix leaky roofs, gutters, faucets, pipes, air conditioners, and other water lines.
- Clean all vents, keep them open, add fine mesh screens or grates to those on the outside.
- Seal gaps and cracks in walls, including those around utility cables and pipes.
- Grade soil so that the water runs away from your foundation.
- Reduce humidity by ventilating crawl spaces and attics.
- Remove all wood-to-soil contact.
- Regular, professional, pest control.
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