Termite Structural Damage
In an average year, termites are responsible for $1 billion to $2 billion in property damage. Most of this damage is not covered by standard homeowner insurance policies. Termite infestations commonly go undetected until obvious signs of damage occur.
Termites can damage a number of structural components in a house, including the following:
- support beams
- wall studs
- floor joists
- ceiling joists
- roof supports
- drywall or sheetrock
Depending on the location and extent of the damage, and the building materials required to fix it, repairs can be complicated and costly.
Common signs of termite infestation include sagging floors and ceilings, traces of dust similar to dust, piles of wings that resemble scales and areas that seem to be slightly water damaged. Contrary to popular belief, termites are not partial to aging wooden structures; they have been known to inhabit new buildings within a short time after construction.
However, although structural failure due to termite damage is not at all uncommon, it can be easily prevented through the use of regular inspections and treatments. Trusted termite inspectors will provide two-part reports, outlining damage already present and potential causes and locations of future damage. Areas with a high likelihood of infestation include damp areas, woodpiles and loose wooden paneling. Addressing these threats may prevent termite infestation and can save homeowners considerable money on structural repairs.
If your termite inspector finds superficial termite damage during an inspection, ask him or her about the extent of the damage. While you may see only a small amount of damage, there may be more damage beneath the surface. For example, if a hardwood floor is damaged, termites likely have infested the subfloor and floor supports beneath it.