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How Wood Rot Can Cause Termite Damage

How Wood Rot Can Cause Termite Damage

wood rot termite damage

Extreme Termite Damage!

Termites are nasty home invaders that have no interest in bothering humans. Their lives are completely separated from ours. They don’t need our food scraps, our bodies, or our pets but they do love wood rot. That’s the problem with termites- you never know they are in your home! You will find out quickly if you have bed bugs, ants, fleas, or cockroaches but termites may be feasting on your home unnoticed for years.

Video on Termite Damage and Wood Rot Repair

We recently visited a home who scheduled a siding replacement but upon inspection it was found the home had wood rot and been a termite food fest for quite some time. The unnoticed nature of the infestation caused extensive repairs to be needed. The damage was so bad, termites began eating the foot of a wooden chair after they made their way through the subfloor!! Below we will explore (with pictures and video) the causes and extent of termite damage and how to repair.


Wood Rot Attracts Termites

Wood is rich in cellulose, the food source of termites. The attractiveness of the wood is increased by the presence of moisture which causes wood rot. Removing moisture away from your home- especially the foundation- can help you prevent termite problems. In the home we repaired, there was significant wood rot that attracted the termites which were caused by two major factors:

1.) The foundation was too close to the ground

2.) The slope of the yard was not significant enough.

These two issues combined to cause excess water during storms to flow towards the house and soak the wood at the base of the wood. It was a perfect storm for wood rot and an all-you-can-eat buffet for the termites! 

To Prevent Termites

Follow these basic steps to prevent wood rot and eliminate moisture from your home:

brick house with wood rot

Even brick houses aren’t safe!

  • Divert water from foundation
  • Make sure gutters and drains are clean and work properly
  • Repair any leaking pipes, faucets, or A/C units
  • Seal any possible entry points for water around pipes and utility lines
  • Remove potential food sources from around foundation (firewood, stumps, etc…)

Repairing Termite Damage

The first step to repairing termite damage is to remove the colony from your home. To do this, call a professional in your area. The job requires the use of many chemicals that should only be handled by those certified to do so. After the termite colony has successfully been exterminated, wood rot should be removed and replaced. In some cases, such as the video below, damage occurs on main support joists of the house. The wood on these cannot be removed due to the support they provide. An alternative in this case is to provide additional beams along the termite damaged wood to improve the strength of the support joists.

In the home we fixed multiple areas were affected by termite damage. Damaged wood had to be removed and replaced in the following places:

stages of wood rot repair

Stages of termite damage repair

  • Band board (added rot and bug resistant PVC)
  • Framing
  • Main support joists
  • Sub flooring

As you can see that is a very extensive repair, so keeping an eye out for termites is a good idea! Keeping reading to learn how to identify a termite infestation.

How to Spot Signs of Termites

If you may be worried you have termites, there are a few simple cues of an active termite colony. A quick survey of your property should be able to tell you if you have an infestation but as always, contact a professional to take a look if you aren’t sure. If you notice any of these issues, you may have termites:

  • A swarm of winged insects in your home or in the soil surrounding your home
  • Cracked or bubbling paint

    termite mud tubes

    Termite mud tubes- a sign of an active colony

  • Termite droppings
  • Hollow sounding wood
  • Mud tubes (act as termite highways)

Treatment for Termites

I hope this post has shed some like on the silent home assassins. If you notice any of the warning signs in your home, contact a professional exterminator immediately to stop any further damage. If you have noticed any wood rot but have thankfully been saved from termites for now, then call a local home repair company like ProMaster at 513-724-0539. We can replace the wood rot and fix the cause so you keep your house dry and insect free! Thanks for reading. If you have any questions or comments about termites please share them with us below!

Call (513) 724-0539

or Click here for ProMaster Home Repair & Handyman

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  1. Laurel Wimbish says

    In process of buying a 10 year old home in Georgia. The front of house has wood pilings up to 3rd deck due to house built on sloping land. Termite damage on 3 pilings at bottom. Termites have been eliminated but how do you repair the bottom of pilings? They are sitting on cement slabs and still got termite damage. Do you need whole piling replaced? Should we back out of contract?

    • Hi Laurel,
      I don’t think you need to back out of the home sale. Simply find a reputable home repair or deck repair company in your area to have them replace the posts. It isn’t a huge deal… we do them all the time up here in Cincinnati. So long as the footers and deck structure is sound, jacking up the deck and replacing the posts isn’t terribly costly. Best of luck to you!
      Thanks for your question and let me know how it turns out.

  2. Scott Kent says

    Can you tell from a picture if this is wood rot

    • Jacob Addison says

      Hi Scott, you most likely could tell whether something or not is wood rot from a photo. If you live in the Cincinnati area, however, please note that we can’t give estimates based on photos.

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