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Can Your House Collapse From Termites?

Termites invade your home and consume various organic materials that contain cellulose as the main component. They may eat books, window trims, furniture, ceiling beams, flooring, textiles, and even picture frames.

If left untreated, these tiny insects can make your home collapse, although this would take years and depends on the severity of the termite infestation. However, as having even a few termites on your property can be dangerous, you shouldn’t wait until your house is structurally damaged to deal with them.

Let’s take a look at the length of time termites will take to collapse a home and how you can slow the process down.

How Fast Can Termites Cause Structural Damage And Destroy A Home?

Termites need cellulose and moisture to survive. As soon as these insects spot food sources like wood in the house, they signal other members of the colony to follow them. Thus, these colonies expand, and the termites may mature just from eating cellulose in your wooden structures or items in your home.

How fast or slow termites take to damage a house depends on the wood type in your home and the environmental conditions. On average, one termite can take as long as 3,000 or more years to make its way through a 1,000 square feet house. But the sad news is that termites don’t work, travel, or live alone. They do this in colonies, which means it reduces this timeline.

A colony can consist of millions of termites that can mature and interact with other colonies to reproduce more termites. Thus, if termites infest your house, you may be dealing with a serious problem.

Colonies would take about half a year to damage a slab of wood. So the exact length of time they’ll take to damage the entire house or building will depend on its size. However, it may take 3 to 5 years for termite damage to be apparent, but this also depends on the number of colonies you’re dealing with.

Some studies suggest that it can take 15 years for termites to collapse a home. Thankfully, most infestations are identified and eradicated within a year. So, you don’t necessarily have to worry about finding a new place to live just yet!

How Do You Know If Termite Damage Is Serious?

Termites usually attack structures from the inside. As a result, the signs of damage might not appear immediately. But this is unfortunate as it is often not possible to identify and fix the issue right away.

However, here are some signs of infestation to look out for:

  • Painted surfaces that have peeled off or show bubbles across the surface.
  • Wooden surfaces that look like they have been damaged. You can use a sharp object to inspect the inside for the damage. Tap the wooden surface or item with something heavy like a stone. If it produces a hollow sound, termites might live inside.
  • Check also other areas of your house for signs of termite infestation. You may notice blistered wood, or tiny holes in your wallpaper and other wall coverings. If they are present, the termites could be traveling inside their tunnels in your wooden structure.
  • Also, as some types of termites breed in soil, they may leave dirt and soil traces on the surfaces they’re eating.
  • In addition, if you see light-brown pellets called frass, you could be having a termite issue. When cleaning their nests, drywood termites tend to push their droppings out through exit holes in the wood.

Does Termite Damaged Wood Need To Be Removed?

Fixing termite damage can be a costly process, considering that most home insurance companies don’t offer this coverage. Usually, when you spot surface damage, it may mean that you’re dealing with a serious issue that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. However, this doesn’t always mean that it’s the end of your home.

Deciding whether to remove termite damaged wood depends on the extent of the damage. It may be wise to remove it if the wooden structure is destroyed beyond the surface. For safety reasons, it is usually recommended to remove the structure into which these pests have penetrated. But if you’re only dealing with minor damage, just clean it and use hardeners to support the wood.

Let’s briefly look at the types of wood damage and how to address them:

– Superficial Damage

Here the termites haven’t gone deep into the structure. Thus, you can repair the damage by applying wood hardeners and sealants to the area. Make sure that you clean and check that the damage hasn’t gone too far.

– Moderate Damage

Signs of moderate damage include discolored and rotten spots in the area where the termites have penetrated. It may resemble water damage and look moist or crumbling. You should first clear the damaged wood to know how deep the damage is.

Then clear the affected wood, sand it, and seal holes using a wood hardener and sealant. Consider adding extra wood if the damage is more extensive.

– Extensive Damage

Sometimes the infestation might be too large, such that the floors or ceiling swell. In this case, these areas have a greater risk of collapsing.

This type of damage is better addressed by a professional. But if you decide to do the work yourself, make sure you know the extent of damage you’re dealing with and add support beams where necessary.

After cleaning the surface, it’s important to remove boards that have been severely destroyed and replace them with new ones.

To Sum Up,

Termite infestation is commonly referred to as the silent killer for your home. These pests burrow deep into the house structure and will eat away at the wood and other materials over time. Given a large enough termite colony and enough time, this can quickly lead to a huge problem for homeowners.

The truth is, it is not always easy or possible to detect termite infestation in time, and it usually goes undetected for years. This is why it is such a concern for property owners in Orange County, California.

If you suspect a termite infestation in your home, don’t wait any longer to contact our professionals at Chem Free Exterminating. We are committed to providing you with the quality service you expect, the results you desire, and most importantly, a termite-free home.