How To Do A Termite Inspection
Termites are responsible for 5 billion dollars in damage to structures each year in the United States, so effective termite control is crucial. The most important part of termite control is the inspection itself. In fact the number one reason for callbacks in the termite control industry is poor initial inspection. To perform a proper inspection, the inspector must have a general understanding of termite biology and be able to recognize signs of an infestation. It’s also important to understand how buildings are constructed; otherwise, the inspector will miss critical areas where termites may be active and are entering the structure. With modern technology and the latest research, many tools have been developed and refined to detect termite activity. From dogs, to methane gas (termites release methane gas) detectors, moisture meters to borescopes and fiber optics, all aid the termite inspector to properly inspect structures. None of these alone are as good as an experienced inspector’s eyes.
Inspecting a building can be a difficult and arduous task. Having to crawl through tight spaces such as subareas, attics on your stomach in the dirt, mud and litter beneath structures in the search of termite evidence isn’t something a homeowner should try. There is no substitute for a thorough termite inspection by a professional. Although termites may occur in any area of a structure, certain areas are especially worth noting.
A full inspection of the exterior foundation wall to look for evidence of mud shelter tubes, frass, earth to wood contact, cracks in foundation, forgotten form boards and faulty grade to just name a few. The inspector should also make a graph of the homes footprint to be used for their findings and recommendations later in the inspection process.
Substructure (Crawlspace and basement)
This portion of a thorough inspection is the most physically demanding areas to inspect, but typically uncovers evidence of termites and their damage. Both Drywood termites and subterranean termites can be found in the substructure. Your inspector should be crawling the entire perimeter of the foundation paying specific attention to pipes, foundation walls, sills, header plates, joist, and subflooring. Oftentimes, this area will be obscured by insulation which may need to be moved aside.
Interior Inspection (slab on ground)
The interior of the slab-on-ground construction is the most difficult area to inspect because most of the termite entry points are hidden behind finished walls, flooring, and ceilings. Part of a thorough inspection will include inspecting the interior of the exterior walls and places that may have a step-up or step-down separation in floor level. All windows and door frames must be inspected for signs of mud tubes, wings and pellets. Plumbing areas such as inspection doors behind bathtubs and showers are also very important and common infestation sources.
This is a brief summary of the mechanics of a proper termite inspection. Each structure is different and can hold its own challenges. Your home is likely your largest investment, so have your home inspected by a reputable termite company each year. Remember termites are the only pest that never sleeps or stops eating….Your Home!