Posted on: 14.04.2023 Posted by: Редакция Comments: 0

Searching for termite damage can be incredibly costly, as most homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover termite damage. Typically, surface damage is a sign of a more severe problem underneath that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. But does termite damage mean the end of your home?

Termite-damaged wood needs to be removed if the damage extends beyond the surface. If the colony has invaded the structure of your home, it is safer to replace the wood, especially in load-bearing areas. However, for superficial damage, you can clean and reinforce the wood with wood hardeners.

In this article, we will examine what termites are and how to easily detect an infestation. We will also discuss how to completely eradicate a colony and what needs to be done to repair the damage.

What are termites?

Although termites resemble common ants, they are actually more closely related to cockroaches. Like ants, termites tend to live in colonies and have segmented body shapes. They differ in their color, which is whitish and often translucent, but they also seek out warm and moist areas in which they can hide. For this reason, they are usually found deep in the foundation of your home.

If you have termites in your home, the damage is likely to extend well beyond the outer surface. These tiny creatures prefer to burrow into the structure of your home, including floor joists, support posts, and wall studs. Once inside, they eat away at the wood and weaken the building, while the outer layers remain more or less untouched.

The good news is that the damage to your home is rarely irreparable. This is usually only the case with homes that have been vacant for a long time, allowing the colony to thrive.

How do you know if you have termites?

Termites typically find their way into your home through cracks in the foundation or by building mud tunnels at the base of pipes and downspouts. Unfortunately, they can be difficult to identify.

One of the easiest ways to determine if you have an infestation is during the warmer months. At this time, winged termites will emerge from the existing colony. This swarm can be seen in and around the house until it disperses in search of a new area to establish a new colony.

You can look for signs of termite damage in your home by checking for:

  • Discarded termite wings
  • Bubbling under wallpaper
  • Wood surfaces becoming papery
  • Buckling in wood structures and beams
  • Swollen floors or ceilings
  • Holes in firewood or near trees and tree stumps
  • Fecal matter that looks like sawdust

Unfortunately, termite damage can often look similar to water damage. If you are certain the area is dry and there has been no water leakage, then it is likely termites.

How to get rid of termites

Before you can repair your home, it is important to eliminate the termite problem. It is recommended to call a pest control expert, especially for larger infestations, to ensure that your home is completely termite-free before starting the necessary repairs. However, there are measures you can take if you believe the colony is not too large.

Find the colony

Start by locating the most likely area of the colony. You may see mud tunnels running along the side of your house or notice large discarded termite wings once the swarm has found its new home. Look for swollen surfaces or feces from the inside and watch for signs of infestation. Soldier termites will tap on the wood to warn the colony of nearby threats.

Cardboard traps

Since termites feed on cardboard, you can set up a trap by stacking damp cardboard sheets near the colony. Monitor the trap until you notice it has been infested. Termites will abandon their colony in favor of the new food source. Once you have enough termites, remove and burn the trap. You will need to repeat this process multiple times to ensure you capture as many as possible and do not completely destroy the colony.

Beneficial nematodes

Beneficial nematodes are tiny worms that are naturally parasitic. They burrow into their hosts and cause death within a few days. They are available at most gardening stores and should be planted in moist soil as soon as possible.


If your termite problem is with furniture rather than the structure of your home, try placing the piece outside. Termites can only survive in darkness, and the UV rays and heat from the sun will kill them, although it may take a few days. Try setting up a cardboard trap nearby to catch any termites attempting to escape.

Boric acid

Boric acid is one of the main components of most termite insecticides and is available at most hardware stores. It works by dehydrating termites that come into contact with it, effectively killing them and parts of the colony. The acid needs to be sprinkled over areas near the colony for the termites to come into contact with it. Reapply as needed.

What to do with termite-damaged wood?

Once you have dealt with the termite colony and worked to prevent any further infestation, it is time to repair or replace the damage left behind. In some cases, the damage is minor and it should be possible to cut out and replace small sections. In other cases, you may need to remove much larger areas of your home.

There are two ways to repair termite damage:

  • Remove damaged wood and replace with new wood.
  • Clean the most damaged areas and apply new wood as support for the old.

Although it is always advisable to consult a professional for potential structural damage, you may be able to repair the damage yourself. As long as the termites have not severely damaged support beams or load-bearing posts, it is possible to remove and replace supports in the affected area.

Superficial damage

For superficial damage, when the termites have not been able to penetrate deeper into the structure, you can repair minor damage with adhesives and wood sealants. Make sure to thoroughly clean the area and assess that the damage does not extend too far. Once you have the spot ready, apply a wood hardener to secure the spot, followed by a sealant on the damaged area and the surrounding beams.

Moderate damage

If the termites have been able to further penetrate the wood, you will likely see rotten, damaged areas in that section. It may appear water-damaged and crumbly or discolored. Before attempting to repair this, always remove the rotted wood to determine the extent of the problem, as it may go deeper than it appears.

For moderately damaged areas, you should be able to remove decaying wood, sand it down, and fill any holes with a wood hardener and sealant. If the damaged area is more extensive, you can either add additional wood for support or completely replace the damaged section.

When working with hardwood floors, it is usually easier to remove and replace beams and find matching stain or paint to blend them with the old. This will better ensure the integrity of the floor in the future.

Significant damage

If the damage extends beyond a few boards, it is best to call a professional. In such cases where the colony is large enough to cause swelling in the floor or ceiling, there is a much greater risk of areas collapsing.

However, if you feel confident in doing the work yourself, start by inspecting the height of the damage and add support beams as necessary. For example, if the ceiling is swelling or support beams are infested, you will need to provide a support while working in that area to bear the weight.

Work slowly, removing surface damage and working into the wood until you reach healthier portions. During this cleanup, you may discover entire planks have been damaged and need to be completely removed. The deeper the colony has burrowed, the more likely you will need to remove the damaged wood and replace it with new wood.

For non-load-bearing areas, you may be able to add wood supports to the sections rather than removing the wood entirely. However, in load-bearing areas, it is safer to remove them and replace with fresh, sturdy wood.

Surrounding areas can be cleaned and treated with wood hardeners, and a sealant should be applied to the affected areas to prevent further issues.

Final thoughts

If you are fortunate enough to detect an infestation early and stop the damage before it can affect the structure of your home, you should be able to remove the rotten spots and fill them with a wood hardener. In some cases, you may need to add additional wood for support. However, if the colony is deeply embedded in the structure or foundation, you may need to remove specific boards that cannot be repaired anymore.

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