Termites and Paint

Bubbling or Peeling Paint as a Sign of Termites

When subterranean termites infest wood, they usually will not emerge into sunlight or air as light and dry air can be harmful to them. For protection, they live just below the surface of the wood. As termites need moisture, the termite galleries will contain moisture, brought by the termites. As any painted surface which has moisture behind it will react, the painted surfaces adjacent to termite infestation may peel or bubble. Not all bubbling or peeling paint on a structure is a guarantee that there are termites behind the painted surface, but bubbling or peeling can be a sign of moisture.

As the subterranean termites avoid exposure to the exterior of the surfaces, they can regulate the humidity and temperature to optimum conditions. They do this by varying the depth into the wood for temperature control and by humidifying the area with moisture. When the moisture migrates to the paint surfaces through the wood, the paint will bubble and peel. Another way that bubbling and peeling paint relates to infestation is that if the termites consume the wood directly behind the paint, there is nothing holding the thin coat of paint and it will crack, bubble, or peel. Moisture can also get behind paint surfaces due to leaks or even poor sealing and cause bubbling and peeling so a careful inspection is required to determine the cause.

If there are signs of bubbling or peeling paint inside a home, the homeowner should look for water leaks. If there are no leaks, the area should be probed to see if the wood is soft. If there is any question as to whether there are termites present, the homeowner should contact a professional pest control company to perform a proper inspection.

Bubbling or peeling paint can be an early warning that termites are present.