If you are in the process of buying a house—congratulations! Whether it is your very first home or you are simply relocating to a new home, buying a house is an exciting time. What is less than exciting, however, is moving into your new home and discovering that it has structural damage caused by termites and pests. Before you move into your new home, it is important to have a termite inspection performed so you avoid any unforeseen costs or damages.
How Termites Can Damage a Home
Termites can cause more than $5 billion in property damage each year, and are known as “silent destroyers” because of their ability to chew through wood, flooring and even wallpaper. While it would take a single termite roughly 3,100 years to eat the wood in a 1,000-square-foot home, termites never exist alone. In fact, termite colonies can range from a few thousand individuals to several million, depending on their species. Several colonies can also live together on one acre of land—meaning millions of termites could have access to your home at any time.
The areas of a home that are most vulnerable to termite damage are slab foundations, areas where wood touches dirt and inaccessible crawlspaces.
Getting a Termite Inspection Before Buying Your Home
The repairs from termite damage can cost thousands of dollars, depending upon how much wood has been eaten, how long the colony has been in existence in the home and where the damaged wood is located in the house. The fact is, however, repairs to a home are often more expensive than original building costs themselves.
That is why it is so important to get a termite inspection before you finalize and close on the contract and move into your home.
A termite inspection is different from a standard home inspection in that the inspection assesses the condition of the physical structure of a home from the roof to the foundation. Termite inspections, when performed by a professional, typically last for an hour. During the inspection, a termite specialist will inspect and probe the home from the attic to the basement for signs of termite damage. These signs include buckling wood, swollen floors and ceilings, areas that appear to be suffering from slight water damage and visible mazes within walls or furniture. Termite infestations can also exude a smell similar to mildew or mold.
After completing the inspection, the termite specialist will issue a report and detail any infestations found along with a cost estimate to exterminate the termites.
Keeping Termites at Bay After Buying a Home
Once you have purchased, there are steps you can take to avoid a termite infestation in the future.
- Keep your home dry. Repair leaking faucets, water pipes and AC units that are on the outside of your home. Make sure your basements, attics and crawl spaces are well ventilated and free from excess moisture.
- Direct water away from your home. Ensure that your downspouts, gutters and splash blocks are properly working and sending water away from the structure of your house.
- Store wood properly. Store any firewood at least 20 feet away from your home and at least 5 inches off of the ground.
- Space your mulch. In the spring, mulch your landscape properly by keeping the mulch at least 15 inches away from the foundation.
- Look for signs. Look for signs of mud tubes, which indicate areas where a termite may be attempting to reach a food source.
- Also, monitor all exterior wood areas of your home for any noticeable changes.
How to Find a Termite Professional
Your termite inspection should be handled by a licensed pest professional. At Dodson Pest Control, we offer free inspections should you notice the slightest sign that termites or any other pests may be in your home.