Can You Repair Termite Damage To Your Home?

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If you suspect termites are lurking in and around your home, act fast! These nightmare bugs can inflict heavy damage to anything made of wood.

Do you know what the three most terrifying words in the English language are to a homeowner?

“You have termites.”

It’s been estimated that damage to homes and forests caused by termites runs into the billions each year. Wreaking havoc on crops, homes, wooden landscaping features and other man-made structures, termites can be extremely problematic for anyone who has to deal with them.

Damage to homes by termites, whether minor or invasive, can affect their resale value considerable. No one wants to buy a house infested with termites. In a worst-case scenario, unattended termites can completely destroy a home from the inside out.

Here’s what you should know about termite damage and how to deal with it.

Signs of Termite Damage

Termites are masters at avoiding detection. They can access your home’s wooden frame and other features from underground (Subterranean and Formosan species). Some, like Drywood termites, can devour wood silently within beams, unseen until it’s too late.

The key to mitigating a termite problem is to catch it early. The problem is, termite signs are not always obvious. Here are the most common indicators you have pesky termites in or around your home or yard.

Outward and hidden signs of damage:

  • Mud tunnels on walls and foundations;
  • Blistered paint and/or buckling ceilings;
  • Musty or moldy odors;
  • Discarded wings and/or droppings that look like sawdust;
  • Swarming (flying) termites;
  • Wood that sounds hollow when tapped;
  • Lumber that’s soft to the touch and easy to pierce;
  • Tight door jams or windows that stick.

If you spot a flying termite in your home, it means there’s a nest somewhere on the premises. This is when you need to involve a professional exterminator.

Can Termite Damage Be Fixed?

Yes. In almost all cases, termite damage can be fixed. But it’s critical to act at the first sign of an invasion.

Before attempting repairs, treat the termites and eradicate them completely. Once they are under control, you can assess the severity of the carnage and make a plan for repairs.

How To Repair Termite Damage

There are several ways to fix the destruction from termites. The first is to remove the damaged boards and replace them with new (hopefully termite-resistant) wood.

The second, more cost-effective option, is to shore up injured timber with supporting boards. You can do this work yourself or hire a professional builder.

DIY repairs

If you have extensive experience in renovation and confidence in your carpentry skills, you might be able to do the termite damage repairs yourself — but only after you’re 100 percent sure every single termite has been removed and the threat of future infestation has been eliminated. Consider consulting with a pro or having them inspect your work before closing up walls and finishing the project.

Hire a pro

If you’re unsure about your ability to tackle the job, your best move might be to call in a professional termite repair specialist who can evaluate and recommend the most suitable repair options for your situation. Then have them carry out the repair work.

How To Prevent Termite Damage

The old adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” was never truer than in the case of termites. Every minute that termites are in your home is another minute of catastrophic munching.

Here are some helpful steps to guard your home against these nasty and devastating insects:

  • Maintain good moisture control and ventilation.
  • Create a barrier between soil and foundations.
  • Set out baits.
  • Apply nematodes to soil.
  • Spread boric acid or diatomaceous earth around foundations.
  • Keep firewood and vegetation away from structures.
  • Spray termiticidal repellents on unaffected wood.
  • Arrange periodic inspections by a licensed termite professional.

Termite-Resistant Building Materials

There are building materials that you can use when constructing a new home or during the reparations phase that are termite resistant. These include:

How Much Does Termite Damage Cost to Repair?

That depends on the extent of the damage to your home. In general, it averages between $1,000 to $3,500.

In severe cases, termites can structurally compromise a home, rendering it unsafe to live in. This means a homeowner may have to move out until repairs can be completed. This is not only inconvenient but expensive, and few insurance companies offer homeowners policies that cover this type of calamity.

“Termites are no joke,” says Ed Spicer, home expert and CEO of Pest Strategies. Once you know that termites are present, Spicer says it’s imperative you call a professional as soon as possible.

“Don’t sit around on your hands wishing for the bugs to simply go away on their own,” Spicer says, “The longer you wait, the longer you may find that what’s disappearing isn’t the termite population … but your house itself.”

Toni DeBella
Toni DeBella is a freelance travel, lifestyle and digital content writer based in a medieval hill town in central Italy. Her work has been featured in such publications as Fodor's, The Telegraph, Walks of Italy, Italy Magazine, Frommers.com, Touring Bird (via [email protected]) and more. Most recently she authored the 2020 edition of DK Eyewitness Sicily travel guide. When Toni is not roaming around Europe, you'll find her tending her alley-side container garden or honing her clay-court tennis game.