Do I have Termite Damage or Wood Rot

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The structural integrity of a building can be severely compromised by termite infestation and decaying timber. It might be tricky to tell the difference between the two forms of wood rot, though, because their consequences look similar. It is essential to the resolution of any problem first to identify it. 

Wood rot causes the wood to become stringy and spongy in texture and to break off in complex, cube-like formations. Intact wood splinters into long, thin shreds. On the other hand, termite-damaged wood can look fine outside while being riddled with galleries and tunnels dug out by pests.

What are the first signs of termites?

Across the state of Texas, subterranean termites predominate. These pests form underground colonies, which feast on the cellulose in wood and plant cells. They act similarly to fungi in that they consume the wood from the inside out, leaving it hollow and brittle. Termites can get into buildings through holes in the foundation or walls by feeding on wooden constructions. 

Termites are insect species known for forming enormous communities. Although you can find numerous kinds of termites throughout the United States, besides Alaska, cellulose, a complicated carbohydrate found in leaves, grass, and (sadly) wood, is their primary source of nutrition. Termites are among the worst pests in your home, as some species live underground, and others love wet, rotting wood. Termites are perennial pests, so you can encounter them whenever you choose. 

Because termites eat timber from the inside out, the harm they cause to a house is frequently only seen once it’s too late. Due to the tunneling and boring of termites, wood that has been eaten will have a very recognizable maze-like look. The most compelling evidence, aside from the presence of the colony itself, includes things like chewing or clicking sounds inside the walls, frass, characteristic tracks called “mud tubes” along the boundaries of your rooms or house, and termites (alive or dead). 

You might mistake wood rot and other problems for termite activity. Wood that has buckled or swelled, smells musty or rotten, blistered, or shows other “water damage” symptoms may be infested with termites. Once visible signs of termite activity are discovered, the damage is usually already severe. Because of how quickly termites can spread, you need to take prophylactic measures as soon as you suspect a colony or even before that if neighbors report seeing them.

Does wood rot always mean termites?

The last thing anyone wants to hear after discovering wood rot is that they have termites, but wood rot creates an ideal environment for these pests to flourish on your property. If you want to know what a termite requires to survive, it’s the cellulose in wood plus a lot of water.

Keep an eye out for these three things that the wood-rotting fungus loves. These include air, water, and heat. As it turns out, termites also flourish in the same environments supporting the fungus. To top it all off, it should come as no surprise that termites are drawn to wood; therefore, prolonged exposure to water is like icing on the cake for these tiny insects. It is why termites frequently invade homes that have already been damaged by wood decay.

What does wood rot damage look like?

Deterioration in wooden parts is commonly hidden behind drywall, veneers, or paint. The discoloration caused by wood rot is the most obvious sign of its presence. If you see a color change, you may test if the wood is wet by poking it with a screwdriver.

Do an annual checkup at rot-sensitive locations such as door frames, roofing, windows, wood joints, sidings, patio, outdoor furniture, and decks. A wood-decaying fungus that feeds on lignin and cellulose causes dry and wet rot. Dry rot may spread in dry lumber, while wet rot is more common in regions with high humidity or water damage. A house inspector may be seen prodding all around the eaves or trim of a house, as once an invasion has begun, it’ll spread swiftly, rendering the wood spongy and weak. Also, you can identify wood rot through its distinctive fungal, musty, and earthy stench, which intensifies as the situation worsens. 

A yearly check for wood rot is a must. Possible warning signals of wood rot include:

  • Caulking around openings (such as windows, doors, or vents) that are cracked or missing.
  • Discoloration above a fireplace or the eaves
  • Attic wood discoloration
  • Gutter leaks
  • You should prune any vegetation less than 2ft from the house’s exterior walls or roof.
  • There is paint peeling off of things.
  • Check for wood rot by feeling around the affected areas.

It’s crucial to feel about your home in strategic places to check for signs of wood rot, which are only sometimes evident to the untrained eye.

Signs of termite damage in wood

Before beginning any treatment, it is crucial to differentiate between termite damage and wood rot; treatment as soon as possible will reduce the likelihood of complications. Crawl spaces are notorious for being the site of termite infestations and wood deterioration. Take a break from your job if you have problems like these in the crawl space. 

No one does it better than the experts regarding crawling spaces. If you have termite damage or wood rot in your crawl space, call experts immediately, and they’ll help you fix it.

  • Those paint chips are a bad sign.
  • When tapping the wood, there is a hollow sound.
  • Constant creaking and squeaking from floorboards, tiles, and loose flooring.
  • Mold growth on the drywall that was covering the wood.
  • Particularly in subterranean termites, which are highly ferocious, prompt action and taking the required steps to avoid further degradation are crucial.

The damage caused by termites can look like water damage, while the actual wood is weakened as the termites feed on the wood’s grains. 

How to tell termite damage from wood rot

The little critters that make their home in the soil around your property are the ones responsible for the damage done by termites. Since they devour cellulose, which is present in wood, they will eat their way inside a home if they can enter through a foundation hole or a break in the wall. Wood rot is caused by fungi that thrive in an environment rich in moisture, oxygen, and warmth; this is often mistaken for the work of termites. This fungus, like termites, eats away at the structural components of your house.

Wet wood is a prime habitat for termites.

The presence of water in the wood is an early sign of termite damage as opposed to wood rot. Termites won’t usually eat dry wood, but moist wood will decay. It means fungi are likely to blame when you see dry wood decay. However, damaged damp wood may be an indication of a termite infestation.

The Wood Will Be Weakened By Dry Rot.

Dry wood is another distinction to keep an eye out for. The weakened state of your wood may be due to fungi devouring the dry wood, which could explain why you’ve noticed it. 

The wood will become spongy and mushy as it worsens and is eaten up by the fungi. Its texture is often stringy as well. If you see any of these, the wood is likely rotting rather than being attacked by termites.

Internal Termite Damage

Many people wrongly believe that termites erode at the wood’s surface first. Termites begin their feasts on the wood’s interior before working their way outward toward the surface. On the other hand, wood rot manifests itself externally first. The decay will eventually spread within the wood and ruin the interior. 

Termites and wood rot are two of the worst enemies your home can face, both in terms of causing costly structural damage. Worse, they may even support one another. Termites may move into a structure with an instance of dry rot because the decaying wood provides an ideal food source and habitat for them. However, termites leave behind holes in the wood that allow moisture to accumulate and begin the rotting process. 

The damage to your home by either of these situations can range from relatively minor to extremely severe, with complete replacement of all destroyed wood being a real possibility if you let it go on for long enough. Because of how quickly wood rot and termites may do damage, you must get in touch with experts as soon as you spot any wood damage. 

Take away

Before beginning any treatment, it is crucial to differentiate between termite damage and wood rot. Not that treatment as soon as possible reduces the likelihood of complications. Crawl spaces are notorious for being the site of termite infestations and wood deterioration. 

Take a break from your job if you have problems like these in the crawl space. When it comes to crawling spaces, no one does it better than specialists. If you have termite damage or wood rot in your crawl space, call 1-888-838-3764 immediately, and they’ll help you fix it.

Termite Inspection and treatment

Keeping up-to-date on your yearly home inspection and treatment mitigates such damage.  It is said that not completing yearly local treatments creates multiple infestations all at once!  With Gentry & Associates, our custom inspection programs is designed for your type of home!

Questions other Newport Beach homeowners have asked Termite Fumigation:

how to prepare for termite tenting

Please watch the video below to help you understand the process.  Feel free to call to schedule an appointment!

Questions other Newport Beach homeowners have asked Termite Fumigation:

How long does termite tenting last

Typically it will take three full days to kill all termites.  We will walk you through the process to ensure all safety steps are completed.  See your tent fumigation list.

To Kill 100% of Termites takes Termite Tenting!

As you may already know, Newport Beach homes need a periodic termite inspection. Gentry & Associates specializes in termite control in Newport Beach and surrounding cities. Feel free to look around to learn more about Termite Infestation prevention. Here at G&A, we are confident you will be well pleased with our courteous service. Fill out the form, and one of our courteous team members will call you to discuss setting up a free termite inspection. We look forward to assisting you!

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