termites in wood

Termite Damage vs Wood Rot – What are the differences?

How to Identify Wood Rot vs Termite Damage

Damage to the wood members of your home is inevitable. Beyond simple wear and tear, there are some forces that actively affect the wood in your home, and eventually causes damage that should either be repaired or altogether replaced. Knowing how to identify what types of damage you may be dealing with will help you make smart decisions as to the type of maintenance service you may need in order to restore and maintain structural integrity of your home. Read on to find out the differences between wood rot and termite damage.

Termite Damage

It is estimated that termites cause United States homes $5 billion of damages each year. Identifying and repairing termite damage in its early stages can save you thousands of dollars in the future. You’re likely to experience deterioration caused by either subterranean termites or dry wood. When looking for signs of damage caused by either dry wood, or subterranean termites, look for two types of abnormalities in the timber. The first is proof of termites tunneling in the timber. Tunnels created by termites can look like smooth and sanded down tunnels in wood, or it can look like pieces of timber that are randomly missing from what should be a fully solid wood member.

Wood Rot

If lots of water gets into your wood, there’s a higher chance of wood rot occurring. This can happen when there’s cracks in your wood, which allows the water to easily seep through.

Even if you pay good money for pressurized treated landscaping timber, the expectancy of it is probably going to be about 3 to 4 years depending where it’s coming from. When you’re purchasing timber for landscaping, make sure it is the heaviest timber you could buy. If the timber isn’t heavy, it wasn’t soaked enough into the chemical for it to be pressure treated. This will increase the longevity of your timber.

How to stop your wood from splitting

Drilling pilot holes into your timber can help keep the wood from splitting.

Fungus Rot Damage

Moisture in the environment or water that goes directly into the wood can result in fungus. This is typically called wood rot. Fungus rot metabolizes contaminated wood members, which causes damage to the wood. In the early stages, it seems as if the wood member is crumbling into itself, which looks like the wood is being sucked from within. This causes the paint to chip and crack. Advanced wood rot causes timber to look splintered and broken. One of the best ways to identify wood rot is to search for irregularities in the paint.

Wood members that are painted can experience severe wood rot damage, because until something causes the pain to break apart, damage can go unnoticed. Spotting termite wood damage can be tricky. Commonly in cases, once the damage is noticeable to an untrained person, it is extreme. It is important to be alert for potential damage of your home. Although, intelligent homeowners have their homes inspected and surveyed by a licensed and trained professional once a year. Carrying out an annual check-up on your home will save you thousands of dollars in costs due to fungus rot or termite damage in your home.

How to Know if you have Termites

If you think you have termites in your house walls, inspect a small section that may be falling off or starting to decay. If the wood has mud and tracks through it, or you can see that the timber been chewed, it must be an eating pest instead of just wet rot. Wet rot is not going to carry additional mud into your wood, whereas termites build mud tunnels up along the wall wherever they can keep moisture. This is a guaranteed sign that you have termites in your wood.

If you want to check if you have termites in your flower bed, look at the color of the soil. If the earth is black, and inside the wood you see black earth, that means you have termites going right through your wood. If the earth, or the ground is clay orange, and inside the wood you see sand that is an orange color, this means termites are making nests in your wood and soil.

Another sign that you might have either termite or wood rot problems, is when you see the fascia, or roof line on the eve edge sagging. Chances are that you’ve got debris built up or debris from the wood damage that’s weighing down your roof line. If there’s no material, the termites can’t build anything.

What do Termites look like?

Termites look like tiny white rice if you haven’t seen them before! Make sure to look out for them when checking for termites.

Termites in wood

What are the common reasons of Termite Damage and Wood Rot?

  1. Poorly maintained gutters and downspouts.
  2. Improper grading around the foundation of the home.
  3. Cracks in the foundation or exterior walls.
  4. Leaky roofs.
  5. Excess moisture in the crawlspace or basement.
  6. Water leaks in the plumbing.
  7. Windows and doors that are not properly sealed.

Final Thoughts

If you’re still unsure whether your house has termite damage or wood rot, make sure to hire a professional contractor to survey your property. The sooner you identify the problem, the better chance you have of fixing it.

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