It happened. You discovered a termite infestation in your home. Sadly, it’s an inevitable reality for many homeowners, as termites are responsible for more than $5 billion in damage in the US each year, according to the National Pest Management Association – an expenditure not covered by homeowner’s policies.
The first line of defense is treatment. Calling a qualified professional exterminator to remove the infestation is at the top of your list. After the termites have been eliminated, then your home can be inspected for damage. Structures in the home that have suffered from termite assault need to be repaired or replaced as soon as possible, because the bored wood left behind after an infestation is weak and can threaten the structural integrity of the whole house. Hiring a professional contractor that is experienced in recovering homes from termite damage is the wisest choice. Skilled contractors will thoroughly investigate the home’s structure including the foundation, framework, walls and windows, and then provide an estimate. It’s best to get quotes from several companies before making a decision.
If the needed repairs are minimal and only at the surface, the homeowner can attempt to recover the damaged areas in a number of ways:
- Apply a wood-hardening compound and sealer. This is similar to wood putty, and it completes the gaps left by the termites. You will need to pull the wood out until it creates a smooth surface and then you can use the wood filler to take over. Sand it down upon completion to ensure it is locked in place. Ideally, you should monitor this area during wet months to ensure no new cracking occurs. If you start to see a lot of issues as the seasons change, you may need to look for other treatment options.
- Remove the damaged wood and replace it with new wood.
- Attach new wood to the damaged wood to provide support (more cost-effective when feasible).
If termites have gone unnoticed for a number of years (which is rare unless the structure is vacant or the problem is ignored) and there is evidence that termites have caused invasive structural damage, a professional contractor should do the work. Severe damage often necessitates dismantling portions of the home’s wiring and plumbing to repair the affected wood. This is especially true if the termites got into a load-bearing wall. Before you get too deep in repair work, you may want to hire a contractor to inspect and recommend repairs for your home.
After the home has been restored, it is essential that you schedule routine termite inspections with a professional exterminator. An experienced technician is able to spot the very early signs of infestation, and an invading colony of termites can be eliminated before it has the chance to cause dangerous and (even more) expensive damage. You’ll also want to have a home checked out for signs of infestation if you’re house hunting, so your dream home doesn’t turn into a costly nightmare later on.
Does the thought of termites strike fear in your heart? Rest easier with regular home inspections by a licensed professional pest control company.