Finding termite damage in your home can be pretty scary as it can lead to questions like, can this mess even be repaired?
Luckily, you can repair termite damage in most situations. However, in extreme cases, it may be best just to tear down the house. Usually, though, the destruction isn’t substantial, and a professional can repair the damage. Just make sure all the termites have left your home before performing renovations.
How Do I Know if Termite Damage Can Be Repaired?
The best way to know if termite damage can be repaired is to talk with a termite repair specialist.
These professionals will be able to tell you how extensive the termite damage is and let you know whether you can save your home.
And generally speaking, you can almost always repair termite damage.
The only exception is if the termite colony is particularly voracious or the infestation has been around for many years.
How Can I Identify Termite Damage?
The first step in fixing termite damage is making sure termites indeed caused the problem and that there isn’t another issue you need to address.
Overall, the best way to identify termite damage is to find a termite in your home because discovering a termite means the damage probably came from its colony.
Termites can be difficult to spot, though, since they like to hide from humans.
But luckily, you can also confirm you have termites by looking for termite droppings or mud tunnels.
If you see these in your home or on your property, termites are probably to blame for damaging your home.
Other signs of termite damage include:
- Peeling or bubbling paint that looks like water damage
- Tiny holes in drywall
- Wood that sounds hollow when you tap on it
- Floors that droop or feel weak when you walk on them
- Wood that has small tunnels through it
- Squeaky floorboards
If you find these indications in your home, the damage you have may have come from termites.
However, you should always call a pest control company to confirm that you really do have a termite infestation.
They can also get rid of the termites for you.
And eliminating termites from your home is an important step you need to take before performing repairs.
Because if you don’t get rid of the termites first, they will just chew through the new wood you’ve installed.
How to Repair Termite Damage
Unfortunately, repairing extensive termite damage is quite complex, and explaining how to make these repairs is beyond the scope of this article.
Also, I advise only performing large-scale renovations if you have experience doing this type of work.
Otherwise, you can easily make your home unsafe or harm yourself.
So, in the following sections, I will describe simple home repairs that can fix minimal termite damage.
Additionally, I suggest getting a termite professional to inspect your home before you begin renovations.
A termite professional will be able to tell you how bad the damage is and if you need extensive repairs.
Once you are sure the damage isn’t substantial, you can go ahead and try some of these simple fixes.
Use Wood Hardener
Wood hardeners penetrate deep into wood to protect it from further rot.
Overall, these solutions prolong the life of wood and increase its strength.
To use a wood hardener, you first need to prepare the wood.
Start by ensuring that the wood is completely dry.
And the only way to know if your wood is entirely dry is to use a moisture meter, which you can get at most hardware stores.
After you are sure that the wood is dry, scrape away any loose or rotted wood.
You should also wash off dirt or dust that can get in the way of application.
Now, you need to make sure you take adequate safety precautions by wearing gloves and a mask before opening your hardener.
Finally, spray the hardener onto the wood.
Or, if the damage is severe, you can inject the hardener into the cracks.
You should finish with a few more coats to ensure maximum durability.
Afterward, you can sand down the wood to make it even and more visually appealing.
Apply Wood Filler
You can use wood filler to fill in holes in wood.
However, you should keep in mind that wood filler does not add structural support to wood.
Therefore, if you are trying to repair load-bearing beams or joists, you are better off replacing them.
Yet, if you just want to make your wood look better, wood filler is a good choice since it dries hard, unlike other more flexible options like wood putty.
To apply wood filler, you first must ensure you mix the liquid to the proper consistency.
So, with a putty knife or similar tool, stir the filler until it is a peanut butter-like consistency and is all one color.
Then, press the filler into the crack with your tool and, afterward, push it down further with your finger.
Next, sand down the filler until it is flush with the surrounding wood.
And when sanding, make sure you rub with the grain so that the filler takes on a natural appearance.
Finally, wipe off any wood shavings with a tack cloth.
Should I Replace Termite-Damaged Wood?
If you are wondering whether the wood in your home is past the point of saving, you should hire a termite professional to assess the damage.
If the wood needs replacing, whether you should do it yourself depends on your level of expertise and what you are fixing.
For example, most people can repair furniture themselves and do a rather good job.
And if the furniture breaks, the worst-case scenario is usually just that someone falls to the floor.
But, when it comes to replacing things like beams and joists, you should definitely hire a professional unless you have the proper experience to make these repairs.
Hiring a professional is preferable because construction work can be pretty dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing.
You may also create more problems than you solve or even cause all or part of your home to collapse.
How Much Does it Cost to Repair Termite-Damaged Wood?
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to say how much you will pay to repair termite-damaged wood.
The cost depends on a lot of factors, such as how extensive the damage is and whether you will be making the repairs yourself.
Yet, I can say that the average homeowner who makes repairs after a moderate termite infestation spends around $3,000.
How Can I Prevent Termite Damage in the Future?
A yearly termite inspection is the best way to prevent future termite damage.
In a termite inspection, a termite expert will examine your home and property for signs of termites.
They can also give you individualized tips on how to keep termites from entering your home.
In most cases, you can repair termite damage.
Or, if the damage is extensive, you may need to replace certain pieces of wood to maintain the structural integrity of your home.
In extreme situations, it may be preferable to demolish your home.
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