Many times clients ask us if the termite inspection is really important on a home purchase. Termites are a major problem, causing structural damage to the house that can be expensive to repair. There are many different types of termites. I am not a termite expert, but I can tell you what I have found by doing some research and from my years of real estate experience.
There are at least five different types of termites which include dampwood termites, drywood, formosan, subterranean, and conehead termites.
What do termites do?
To live and travel, termites make subterranean termite homes. Typically these are found in soil or some kind of moist or damp area, and they are always with other termites. They consume wood and while the amount varies by species it really adds up over time. You never find just one termite; where there is one, there are many more to follow.
In fact, a termite colony can have tens to hundreds of thousands of termites in them! It is estimated that a colony of subterranean termites can consume up to 12.9 pounds of wood per year!
There are some really easy things that you can do to eliminate potential termite issues. First and foremost – try to eliminate any kind of moisture that you possibly can. Make sure that gutters and downspouts are clean and working properly.
Excessive plank cover and wood mulch is a really big issue as well. Keep that wood mulch away from the house as much as you can. Repair any crawl space issues, water pipes, AC units, and anything of that nature.
You want to also remove or eliminate food sources. Termites eat wood so you don’t want to keep any firewood or lumber close to the foundation or the crawl space of your house. Get rid of any dead trees or debris off your house and make sure that your decks and wooden fences don’t have damage.
“Termites are a constant threat to your house if left untreated.” – Ryan Wessels
Termite Warning Signs
The biggest warning sign is going to be mud tubes on your walls. If you have termites, you are going to find mud tubes. They look just as they are described – like a tube of dried mud. This is a great indicator that you have termites.
If you have a basement, you always want to look and make sure that you don’t have termites in those dark and damp areas. If you see any cracking or bubbling paint – there is a probability that termites have been there.
Any type of damage you can see to wood when you are looking at your paint boards or anything that has a super soft surface, you want to look over and see if there are any other signs of termites. Typically what you will find when you do see termite damage is a vine-like path.
Eliminating Termite Problems
First and foremost, as I’ve previously mentioned, you have to eliminate areas where termites are prone to be – which is moisture and the two D’s: damp and dark places.
Once you’ve eliminated the issue, then you have to treat for termites.
The treatment isn’t as expensive as you may think. STL Real Estate has had several rehabs treated in the past and the treatment itself is not that expensive.
Don’t put off termite treatment for fear of the cost. If you have to make major repairs, such as structural repairs, those could create a much bigger expense than just the termite treatment.
The termite treatment can be done by most pest companies. STL Real Estate has gotten it done by several small and local companies’ right here in St. Louis. It does not have to be a major, international company, and they don’t have to specialize in termite treatment.
Most insect companies will treat for termites. And again, your biggest expense will potentially be on fixing what they have destroyed and not actually eliminating the termites themselves.
No one is exempt from termites so always make sure you are checking for termite damage and preventing the possibility of them getting into your house and into your lives!