Termites and Brick Homes
Famous American author, Gordon B. Hinckley once said, “You can’t build a great building on a weak foundation. You must have a solid foundation if you’re going to have a strong superstructure.” When it comes to termites, the foundations of your home are the first line of defence against termite infestation. Termites eat wood, so logic would dictate that building a brick house on strong foundations would act as the ultimate deterrent.
However, the problem with that logic is that it assumes the entire structure is built with bricks. In actual fact, the vast majority of brick houses are hiding wooden frames, especially the very popular brick veneer. So what you are left with is the illusion of a strong superstructure, which could be providing termites with unlimited access to an ‘all-you-can-eat’ buffet.
Unlike with a raised or wooden structure, you probably won’t see the tell-tale signs of termite infestation, either. The internal wooden frame will act as a superhighway, supplying termites with enough food to last for months. The most worrying aspect of this kind of infiltration is that the wooden frame is usually the main supporting structure in the house.
That means that load-bearing beams are being destroyed, which could lead to the support structures collapsing with devastating effect. If you are lucky rogue termites who’ve found their way into either skirting boards or household furnishings will become visible.
However, by that stage, the wooden structures concealed within your walls will have likely suffered irreparable damage. In some cases, the extent of the damage is so bad that the house basically needs to be rebuilt from the ground up. You might also want to check with your homeowner insurance provider, as you may not be covered for failing to inspect for termites.
So, your ‘worst-case scenario’ is that your home is virtually destroyed and, due to a loophole in your insurance, you are not covered for the damage. It is safe to assume that most homeowners do not have the kind of cash it would take to rebuild or purchase a new home.
However, by bringing in a building inspector to assess your property and determine the potential threat from termites, or whether they are already present, you will save yourself a lot of heartache and money. The inspector can identify likely points of entry, and then advice you on how to prevent termites from exploiting those weak spots. Every area in and around your home is covered by the inspection, which means you can prepare your defences before termites have even breached the threshold. Basically, you can declare war on the termites by launching a pre-emptive attack.
If you suspect that termites have managed to enter your home, do not delay in having a termite inspection carried out. Check your skirtings for weakness and, if you have exposed wooden frames in or around your property, check those too for the signs of boreholes and damage.
It is important that if you do suspect you have termites, that you act quickly, you can save your home from serious termite infestation. Once you have had an initial inspection, repaired any damage, sealed access points, and carried out treatments, you will need to have periodic inspections to ensure that the termites have not returned. Carrying out further treatments, however, may not be necessary if the modifications to your home provide an adequate barrier.
Your housing inspector can make recommendations, based on the result of your home inspection. Building inspectors are impartial as they do not have a financial interest in you making modifications to your home, so you will receive sound advice and direction of how to deal with your termite problem.
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