After you triumphed in the war against the termites, you’ll be left with the marks of the infestation. Repairing termite damage is another crucial step after the treatment itself, and for worse cases, it will cost more bucks. It could be a total replacement of the wood beams or minor repairs on the foundation. Whatever it is, what’s important is you make sure to fix the damage right away to avoid structural problems in the future.
Here, I wrote some things that you should know about the repair process among other reminders. Read this before you get your tools or call a contractor.
Know the extent of the damage
Termite damage could fall in either of the three categories: non-invasive, moderate, and heavily invasive damage. In the case of non-invasive repairs, the termites haven’t settled inside the wood yet and the damage is mostly superficial. This can be fixed using a wood hardener to fill up the holes left by termites. You can also use a sealer to avoid the oxygen from seeping through the wood.
Moderate damage, on the other hand, is when the termites had already started munching inside the wood. Wood hardeners and sealers can also fix this but you have to be careful of the moisture as this can easily make the wood susceptible to another infestation.
The last one is the heavily invasive damage. In this case, the wood is no longer workable in repairing termite damage. Replacement is the usual solution to this and the help of a professional should be sought especially if the structural integrity of the property is already in question.
So how will you know the extent of the damage? The exterminators are the right people to trust about this. An inspection will usually take place before the treatment where you’ll be provided with a Wood Destroying Insect Report.
Areas that need repair
This depends on where the termites harbored inside your house. Most of the time, the joist, wooden beams, studs, wooden walls, and floors are the commonly infested parts of a property. The key to knowing what areas of your house need repair is to read through the report the exterminators would give you.
You can save yourself from the hassle of repairing if you call a contractor to do the job. They can conduct a full inspection of your house to see what needs some fixing. However, the repairs and renovations in your house should be assessed first by the pest control company who provided the treatment. There might be baits and treated wood you’re not supposed to be disturbing or removing.
DIY vs. professional repair
Repairing termite damage through DIY means is best for non-invasive and moderate damages. All you need are some tools and basic knowledge of carpentry to seal the damaged wood. But in cases of severe damages, to the point that some parts of your house are already sagging, it’s pressing that you call for professional help.
Hiring contractors will cost more but it will be the best solution to a massive damage after the termites are eradicated. So what’s the difference between hiring a pro and doing it by yourself?
DIY methods are money-savers but it won’t guarantee peace of mind. On the other hand, professional repairs may cost you more but you’re sure that your property is in good hands. It’s up to you to choose whatever means you’re investing in for repairs. Just keep in mind that heavy damage will impose structural danger on your property.
To fix or to replace?
Fixing or replacing certain wood material in your house depends on the extent of damage and the type of termites that munched it. Contrary to the common notion, termites don’t always congregate in large numbers as some of them could swarmers while others are not. The likes of Subterranean and Formosan mites usually go in large colonies, therefore, larger damage on the affected areas.
A large colony of these mites could compose of more than four million members in a matter of weeks and harbor on a 2 x 5 piece of wood and chew it in a couple of days. If the material is beyond repair, which is easy to assess based on its look, you definitely have to replace it. Also, an infested wood material that’s been in your house for at least ten years should be replaced as well.
You can also change the material even if it’s not damaged a lot. Repairing termite damage is the best excuse especially if you’re really thinking of a massive renovation.
The cost of repairs
One thing you should know is that the repair cost would be a separate amount of the treatment. A highly invasive infestation could cost you as much as $3,000 in repairs alone but this will, of course, depend on the rates of the contractor you’re hiring.
The repair doesn’t stop after replacing or treating the affected wood. What comes next is the aesthetic aspect of painting, buckling floors, or replacing wood with tiles. All this depends on the how much you can spend an extra.
If the walls of your house need to be removed and replaced with new ones, it would definitely add up to the price. Repairs alone instead of replacing the material would cost less. In case the termites are already inside the timbers before the treatment, you might have to replace it to restore the integrity of your property.
The bad news is that the usual homeowner insurance doesn’t cover repairing termite damage. Why? Because termite infestations are deemed as a maintenance issue. It’s your responsibility as the homeowner to prevent and contain such situation. This is not one of the conditions labeled as sudden or accidental like floods or fire.
It’s rare for insurance companies to offer termite coverage insurance but there’s still chance that you can find one with intensive research. If you can’t find any, try asking your pest control provider about a continuing contract for annual inspections or follow-ups after a treatment. It’s a matter of preventing the infestation from happening as there is no apparent insurance coverage that will save your pocket.
It’s easy to think that like hurricanes or fire, termite damage is a matter of accidental condition. This is why speaking to your insurer is important before moving into your new house.
-Call for help if it’s unmanageable for DIY solutions
You might be the ultimate DIYer in your house, but if repairing termite damage is beyond your knowledge, never hesitate to tap the experts for help. This will save you more bucks in the long run instead of trying and buying commercially available solutions. Also, you might ruin the termite treatment applied to specific areas of the house.
Don’t fret about the price just yet as you can always come up with a compromise with the contractors. Still, you should prepare a budget if the termite damage is at the highly invasive stage.
– Control the moisture source on your home
After the termites are exterminated, you should keep a close watch on the moisture level of your home. A hygrometer would help but in a less technical aspect, you just have to remove the source of moisture. Check for pipe leaks or overused humidifiers that can start the seeping of moisture into the other wood material in your house. This increases the probability of another infestation.
Air conditioners should be used in a moderate temperature that’s not too cold or too hot. If you think your house has high humidity levels, you can use a dehumidifier to balance it.
-Have a continuous termite prevention plan
Prevention doesn’t stop after the treatment. You should continuously employ preventive measures in your home, and if you have the money, a continuing contract with a pest control company. Some termite infestations have the chance of creeping back if you fail to secure your home. There are a few swarmers that might have survived the extermination and it can go back to your abode.
If you’re thinking of having annual inspections, you should talk about it to the pest control company that provided the treatment. Looking for another exterminator to do the inspection might not be a good idea.
– Repairing termite damage while the treatment is ongoing
Some homeowners tend to rush into getting the damage fixed that they start working on the damage while the treatment is ongoing. Chances are you’re going to disrupt the baits or remove the treated material that should be exposed to the pest.
You should also note that chemical treatments are harmful to inhale. If you roam on the area while the exterminators are applying the termiticides, you’re exposing yourself to health threats. Plus, it’s a pet peeve for the exterminators when the homeowners keep on toying the areas they’re supposed to be working on.
-Neglecting structural damage after the treatment
After the termites are removed from your house, never let the damage sitting without any plan of repair. This rings true especially for those who have highly invasive termite damage. Your house might be on the verge of crumbling or the affected area might sag and fall over time.
However, the problem surfaces when you don’t have the money to get for repairing termite damage. Homeowner insurance doesn’t cover this condition and you’ll have to shell the amount from your own savings.
-Don’t forget to ask for future check-ups on your house
A continuing agreement between you and the pest control company is crucial to prevent another event of an infestation. Once the repairs are finished, you should let the exterminators do some check-ups on the treated area. This is for assurance that the treatment has been successful in eradicating the pest. Annual inspections are also a good investment
If you’re repairing termite damage, the following information above is just some of the basics you should know. Just remember that the treatment should be finished first before you do any DIY repairs or hiring a contractor.
Also, it’s important that you get the damage repaired. It might compromise the integrity of your property that could turn out worse than an infestation. Do you agree? Let me know below!