Termite Damage: Assessing the repair

Last week we provided a termite treatment for a home in Southington, CT.  The home had termite damage located in the main beam and live termites in a first floor wall.

Termite damage to main beam
Termite damage to main beam


The words termite damage tend to get the attention of homeowners very quickly.  The reason is that most smart homeowners are aware that having termites is not good, but were you aware that termites cause more damage than fire, flood and wind combined.  In fact,your more likely to have termites than any natural disaster.

Termites are cryptic by nature.  They don’t want to be found.  Often the damage you see is not all there is.  Take this home in Southington, Ct for example.  The only reason the termites were found was because they happen to be doing a remodeling project.  Had it not been for this project the termites may have eaten for years without being found.

Structural Damage

I’m not a damage expert, but I’ve been in the pest control industry long enough to realize when I see it to give advice.  First, not all termite damage is structural.  There are plenty of times when the termites have done very little damage at all.  Typically, the test for assessing structural damage is going to depend on several key issues such as location and how deep upon probing the wood is able to be penetrated.

For instance, termites commonly infest garage frames, but they’re also likely in the garage trim as well.  The trim piece is not structural, but the frame is.  If upon inspection a screwdriver is able to penetrate the framing of the garage then the damage is likely replaceable.  If however, the wood has only minor evidence of termites and the penetration of the wood is insignificant then replacement is not likely warranted.   The same test can be applied to other areas like the band joist, sill plate and wall studs.

Next, when a person inspecting termite damage is making a determination of replacement, they’ll also be looking for wood compression and to see if the wood is shifted or rolled.  Compression takes place when the “meat” of the wood is gone and the weight of the home is bearing down on a particular area.  Upon visual inspection compression looks like waves in the wood.  If you know what your looking at, it’s actually fairly obvious.  When “rolling” of the framing takes place the sill will appear to be lifted either to the front or back.  This rolling is caused when the termites have damaged a section of the wood either to the outside or inside.

Termite Damage Repair

The repair and replacement of termite damage can be a very difficult task and should only be undertaken by a qualified, fully insured professional.  Over the years I’ve seen many “repairs” that range from professional to dangerous.  Make sure whomever you contract with to make your repair has done this type of work before.  It’s also a very good idea to get a permit for the repair from the building inspector of the town you live in.

If you have termites and need help, call Envirocare Pest Control at 1-888-879-6481.  We can help