You may be in the process of buying or selling a home and a termite inspection is required to be able to close on the property. Or, you may have lived in your home for a couple of years and realize it’s time to protect your investment and have an inspection performed.
Many people ask, “How often should I have a termite inspection done on my home?” Conscientious home-owners will have an inspection performed every 1-2 years. Waiting longer than that can give termites a chance to invade your home and cause extensive, expensive, and sometimes irreparable damage.
Termites are unattractive creatures that can invade your home and quietly wreak havoc on the structure. For the purposes of this article, let’s get familiar with the different types of termites there are, how they damage a home and how an inspection can save you substantially in terms of heartache and hard dollars.
Types of Termites
There are over 2,000 different species of termites that are known to exist; however, we’re going to look at just a few that pose a threat to your home.
Subterranean Termites These are by far the most damaging of all the different types of termites. They live in underground colonies, or in mounds above ground in colonies that can contain over 2 million members. They build a network of mud tubes to access food sources and protect them from the elements and open air.
Formosan Termites Not as prevalent in the Midwest, these are a very aggressive and destructive type of termite. They build huge colonies and live inside intricate mud nests. They exist primarily in the south and southwest, however, migration to the north and Midwest bears watching.
Drywood Termites Unlike Subterranean and Formosan termites, Drywood termites, as the name implies, do not need contact with the moist ground. They will often build nests in roof materials, wooden wall supports and any dry, dead wood found throughout the structure.
These different types of termites have several things in common. As the air and ground temperatures rise as winter ends, these structural destroyers will go out in search of buildings that have sustained damage from the elements, giving them an easy target to gain a foothold and establish a damaging colony. Like bees, termites send out scouts to find ideal locations for the swarm to locate. Once found, you can bet that the colony won’t be far behind.
What Happens During a Termite Inspection?
A termite inspection is a visual inspection of a structure by a qualified expert; one who is trained to spot the signs of termite infestation. Some of these signs can include small pin holes where termites have eaten their way through drywall or wallpaper, a hollow sound when you tap on the wall, bubbling paint or paint that is peeling, crumbling baseboards, jammed doors or windows.
These are just a few of the tell-tale signs that you may have a termite problem, but leave it to an expert to do a thorough inspection and determine the extent of the damage, if it is in fact due to termites.
When an inspector arrives, you can expect them to:
- Carefully inspect the interior and exterior locations of the foundation, particularly where wood is on, or near, the soil
- Look for visible signs of termite infestation, such as wood damage, mud tubes, discarded wings, termite exit holes, termite droppings
- Inspect visibly damaged wood. Probe the surface with a screwdriver or knife to expose tunnels
- Look for blisters in wood flooring, indicating termite activity below the surface
A thorough inspection will start on the roof, progress to the inside of the attic and rafters, involve an inspection of the walls and flooring throughout the home, and will include a detailed inspection of the foundation of the home and the intersection of wood and the foundation. Termites do leave clues as to their presence; an expert inspector will find them and let you know what the extent of the damage is.
Why Schedule a Termite Inspection?
Your home is very likely the largest financial investment you will ever make. You likely protect the exterior with fresh paint, fertilize and maintain lawns, plants and flowers, pressure wash common areas and keep fences in good repair. While these are all good practices to maintain or increase the value of your home, why take a chance and let your home be invaded by creatures that will feed upon, and destroy, the very structure you live in?
Statistical data shows that the average American family moves every five years. Having a home that is actively suffering termite infestation and damage can substantially delay the sale of a property. Many prospective buyers have clauses included in sales contracts that if a home is/has suffered termite damage that the contract is voided. If you are selling your home to relocate for a new job, this can cause you serious financial hardship if you end up paying for two homes while one is being treated for termite damage.
An investment of less than a hundred dollars every couple of years to prevent thousands of dollars of termite damage treatment is a very smart investment a homeowner can make. Insurance policies do not cover termite damage, meaning it will be an out-of-pocket expense to have the problem alleviated.
Lucent Home Inspections has conducted hundreds of professional, thorough inspections. Contact us today and arrange an affordable termite inspection to give you the peace of mind knowing what your situation is. It’s much better to diagnose the problem early so treatment is less invasive and less expensive. Don’t hesitate, call us today at 309-300-0007.