Termites – one word that strikes fear into the heart of most property owners in the U.S. Termites cost American property owners $5 billion annually, affecting around 600,000 homes. The average cost to repair termite damage is $3300. Formosan and subterranean termites, which are the most common in the southern United States, account for 90% of all termite damage. In fact, one small colony of just 60,000 termites can eat an entire 2×4 in just 5 short months. On top of that, most homeowner’s policies do not cover termite damage, leaving homeowners to pay these repair costs themselves.
Termite damage can include the appearance of water damage, maze-like designs in wooden structures, mud tunnels, buckling ceilings or walls, and swarms of termites themselves. If you are seeing signs of termite damage, odds are there is already an established colony that has been doing damage for a period of time. Damage can range from aesthetic (with ruined furniture, walls, or carpeting) to structural (which can damage the integrity of the home and cause ceilings and floors to collapse). While it is rare for termites to damage a home to the point that repair is impossible, the damage that can be done to the structure of the home can be significant. Most damage can be repaired by either replacing the damaged wood or adding a wood support to the damaged sections.
Termite damage can be prevented or caught much earlier with annual termite inspections by a licensed termite professional. In the meantime, check out these tips to help prevent termites from getting into your home:
- Get rid of any moisture in and around your home by repairing leaking faucets, pipes, and AC units; consider enclosing your crawlspace to keep moisture out from underneath your home.
- Repair any damaged fascia, soffits, and roof shingles.
- Replace weatherstripping around doors and windows.
- Repair any loose mortar around basement foundations.
- Make sure downspouts and gutters are functioning, cleared of clogs and debris, and positioned away from foundations.
- Routinely inspect the outside of your home for termite damage, including signs of mud tubes, uneven or bubbling paint, and wood that sounds hollow when tapped. Make sure to check windows, door frames, and skirting in your inspection.
- Make sure there is at least an 18 inch gap between the wood portions of your home and the soil.
- Call a professional if you suspect you have a termite problem.