Termite damage repair is a $5 billion industry. While most homes can be salvaged, sometimes the damage is so extensive that it’s more economical to raze the house and start over.
How to identify termites
Occasionally, a homeowner will mistake termite damage for water damage. They see the paint bubbling up and think it’s a moisture problem. Loose tiles can also be a sign of termite damage. Sometimes a homeowner will even find a swarm of termites in their home. While these particular insects can’t feed on wood, they are indicative that a colony is present. But, the swarm may also be an ant colony, which looks a lot like termites. They can be differentiated by the antennae--ants have elbowed antennae. Ants also have a ‘waist’. Termites have mostly straight antennae and are straight-bodied.
What is next?
If extensive structural damage is present, those structures must be replaced or additional support added so the structure is safe, even before repair work begins. This means ceiling joists, floor or wall studs. In other words, anything that could compromise the integrity of the home.
Formosan termites are the fastest breed of termites. They can eat their way through a home to the point of significant damage or even collapse of the home in a couple of years. Other, smaller termites take much longer to cause such extensive damage, and depending on the type, may not feed on certain types of wood.
But, once the damage has been done, it’s important to get the very best termite treatment available. Treatment is an ongoing affair. Once termites gain a foothold, the home needs to be regularly inspected and treated as needed. Termite companies, their treatments, and prices vary greatly. Every situation is unique, so the homeowner shouldn’t choose a termite company in haste, or listen to ‘limited time’ specials or high-pressure tactics.
Sometimes, the damage is so significant that a family is forced to move out of their home until the contractor is able to make is safe again. But, often, the process of restoring the home is just like any other remodel--it can be a pain for the homeowner, but they’re still able to live in the home. Circumstances vary widely. The important thing is to make sure each contractor is aware of what you want to be done during the bidding process.
Many homes sustain termite damage but have a positive outcome if they have a good termite control treatment plan and a quality reconstruction. The good news is that many homes have sustained termite damage in the past and been great homes for many years after treatment, so if a home has termite damage, with proper treatment and a quality reconstruction company, an event that seems like a catastrophe becomes no more than a bump in the road.