Do you need a termite inspection?
Before you buy a house, be sure you have it inspected thoroughly for termites. In some cases, signs of infestation may be covered up with new baseboards, caulk, plaster and paint. (Photo courtesy of Angie’s List member Bryce N. of Berkeley, Calif.)
Termites are a common problem in homes, but it isn't always easy to detect an infestation. Getting a routine termite inspection from a professional will ensure your home is termite free, and stays that way.
Termites come in four main types—dampwood, drywood, Formosan, and subterranean—and they thrive in different climates. Just because you may live in a colder climate, your home may also be at risk of an infestation. Termites eat 24 hours a day, seven days a week, causing major damage to your home and surrounding structures. This is one reason why termite inspections are so important to your home.
What are the signs your home has termites?
The most telling sign is actually seeing them. To look for termites, you should search the damp areas of your home, especially around wood. You may also find swarms of them around windows and other parts of your home after it rains. If this is the case, you'll want to contact a pest control service immediately to combat the problem.
You may also find mud tunnels that termites create when they can't eat a certain substance. For example, if termited are feeding on a wood beam in your home and then discover concrete, they will create a mud tunnel to follow until they find another source of food. You can also find mud tunnels in your foundation. The tunnels are about the width of a pencil and are a definite sign that you have a termite problem and should have an inspection done on your home.
Lastly, the most common sign that you have termites is wood damage. At first, this can be hard to detect because termites destroy the inner parts of the wood and don't always leave any markings on the outside. At first glance, you may think that all of your woodwork is fine because it doesn't look damaged or decayed. But that doesn't always mean that you're in the clear. If wood damage is severe, it may start to show darkening or blistering on the outside. Routinely poking woodwork with a screwdriver to see if it crumbles is a great way to check for termites on your own between inspections. If you find that the wood crumbles or shows odd signs of damage, you should call someone immediately to investigate the source and severity of the problem.
How often should you have a termite inspection?
Termite inspections are a very important part of keeping your home safe and well maintained. Many home inspections include termite inspection. If your home inspection doesn't, it's important to have one done when purchasing a home. Once that initial inspection is done, it doesn't mean you are forever in the clear. You should still receive routine termite inspections to make sure your home isn't infested and to gain valuable information on how to prevent one.
You should have an expert come out once a year to check for termites and termite damage. He or she will check the interior and exterior of your home, as well as basements and crawlspaces. The professional may also inspect your attic. A termite inspection is relatively fast, and depending on the size of the home, can take around 30 to 45 minutes. Once the inspector completes the inspection, he or she will review the findings with you and go over any necessary treatment or preventative measures that you should take. Doing this on a regular basis will ensure your home stays termite free and safe for years to come.