Fall is the time to get your home ready for the winter months and make needed minor repairs. As you do, you may want to be on the lookout for signs of termites. Termites are usually detected when they swarm in the springtime, but the termites that threaten your home are most likely tiny, whitish creatures can do their damage all year long. These voracious wood-eaters are often detected while doing home remodeling or repairs.
According to the National Pest Management Association, termites infest more than 4 million homes each year, causing an estimated $2.5 billion in damage in the U.S. alone. To make matters worse, termite damage is rarely covered by insurance. Of the more than 2,000 species of termites, about 20 of the most damaging species are called “subterranean” termites, and they can be found all over the United States. They tend to live in moist soil, and build pencil-thin mud tunnels to the nearest source of wood, feasting on the cellulose found in wood. Drywood termites actually live in the wood, and do not need contact with soil.
During the mating season, which can vary with geography, some species produce winged termites that emerge from underground and congregate in large, flying swarms. If you see these swarms, or other signs of termites such as mud tunnels, discarded wings or dead termites, chances are you already have some termite damage to your home.
Even buildings with steel frames and masonry walls are targets for termite damage because they generally contain wooden components such as exterior trim, wood doors and window frames, fascia boards, and support beams, not to mention wood furniture, cabinetry, flooring, or shelving within the structure.
If you think your home has termite damage, contact a termite specialist immediately. Professionals can determine the extent of the termite damage to your home, and help protect it with a chemical barrier. Once this is done, you will need to deal with the damage that termites leave behind.
When repairing termite damage to the exterior of their homes, many people use pressure treated wood for added protection. “Although it’s good for structural materials, pressure treated wood has a limited protection period, and it doesn’t usually work well for fascia and exterior trim,” suggests Jim Goodman, of Turnkey Millwork, Inc., manufacturer of custom synthetic millwork products. Cellular PVC house trim looks great and is not subject to termite infestation or rot.
“Wooden arbors and pergolas are particularly susceptible to termites if they make contact with the ground. Infested exterior structures like these not only deteriorate quickly, but they also invite infestation into the backyard, and dangerously close to the home. Building a pergola with a termite resistant cellular PVC pergola kit can offer the same beauty and appearance of wood, but it won’t rot or become infested with termites.”
While we may not be able to eradicate termites completely, homeowners certainly have some control over how much food they provide for these damaging pests, and should consider alternative synthetic building products that can make a home more termite resistant.
Turnkey Millwork is a leader in termite resistant cellular PVC millwork products, including house trim, fascia, arbors and pergolas.