Although the Big Bad Wolf huffed and puffed and couldn’t blow down a brick house in the nursery rhyme doesn’t mean termites can’t gobble up a perfectly good brick or other abode.
Termites are known as wood-destroying insects, prone to tunneling through the support or wood siding in homes. Their behavior leads many homeowners to believe their brick home isn’t vulnerable to termite infestations. Though brick or concrete houses are little harder for termites to enter, they aren’t completely safe from termites.
Is It Really Brick?
A lot of modern homes appear to be constructed of brick but are really built with brick veneer. The homes are constructed with a wood frame, like most structures, and the brick is applied to the surface instead of wood or vinyl siding. If moist soil or mulch makes contact with the edge of the brick veneer, termites will travel behind the veneer and access the wood underneath. Termites won’t leave behind a visible entry point, and will most likely do serious damage before they’re discovered. The best way to avoid termite damage to a brick home or any home is to be proactive in preventing the entry of termites altogether. Once they get in, termites will continue to damage a home until there is either nothing left to eat, or they are eventually eradicated. Ensuring the roof, exterior walls, and foundation are all properly sealed is an easy way to prevent the entry of pests.
You may think you are at less risk if your home is constructed on a concrete slab, but this can unfortunately make things worse. The concrete itself may be impenetrable for termites, but slab homes are known for holding moisture beneath them, creating the perfect breeding ground for termites. In addition to this, the slab will more than likely develop small cracks over time and the termites will venture through right on cue. Termites can enter your home through expansion joints in the concrete, holes for plumbing or spaces for electrical wiring and utilities. Ensure all entry points are sealed, and keep water away from your foundation. A baiting system can reduce the risk of infestation and protect your home from unwanted termite visitors.
Older brick homes are commonly built with structural brick instead of veneer. The walls aren’t made with a wooden framework; instead, they are entirely supported by brick. The walls are traditionally several bricks thick, while veneer is usually built with only one layer of brick. Most homes with structural bricks have interior plaster over wood lath, which is directly attached to the masonry with no space or insulation. Once termites enter through, they have direct access to wooden elements inside your home.
Termite damage can often be easily noticed by simply paying attention to visual cues around your home. Sagging walls, floors and ceilings, as well as cracking on the interior or exterior walls, can be indicators of compromised studs, joists or other structural elements.
Though holes in wood could be an obvious sign of termites, a more likely but subtle indicator is hollow-sounding wood. If you think you have termite damage in an area, tap on the surrounding wood trim and door jambs and listen for hollow sounds.
Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security that your brick home is impervious to termites. Suspect termites may be using your home as an all-you-can-eat buffet? Declare war by getting a termite inspection from a licensed pest control company.