ONETIME- Termite Terrace: Wood-borers gone wild

Don Wigfield of Dodson Brothers Exterminating

One time, I went out to look at a termite job. The fella hadn't had his house inspected in probably twenty years. He probably weighed about 450 pounds, and couldn't get underneath his house– which was on a crawlspace– to look around down there.

  So I went underneath it, and all I could see was a mass of termite tubes around the foundation. It was so bad it looked like the only thing that was keeping the house together was termites holding hands.

  He asked me what was wrong, and I told him. He thought it was funny, but I said, "I wish you could take a look to see how bad it is." The guy said, 'Hold on a minute.'

  He went out to his garage, got his chainsaw, and cut a hole in the kitchen floor big enough for him to get down in there and see. And the guy was shocked. Even the section of floor he pulled out was loaded with termites.

  They had eaten through the walls, rafters– everything. The guy considered refinancing it, but bulldozing it was cheaper. So he did.

  One of your biggest investments is your home, so have a yearly inspection for termites. Have a termite company come out and give you a complimentary inspection.

  You can get a preventive termite treatment with a warranty, so that, on a yearly basis, you will have your house re-inspected. Just make sure it's a reputable company, one that's been around for a while and is in good standing with the Better Business Bureau.

  And a lot of companies, aside from termites, will look for other wood-destroying insects— woodborers, powder post beetles– and for moisture problems that cause fungus and mold to grow underneath your home. They will look at your foundation vents to see if you're getting the correct air flow and balance underneath.

  A house with too much moisture will have problems in the crawlspace, including fungus that will eventually pull the wood apart. You want to get the air flow mixture just right.

Wood-boring insects love pine and spruce, which a lot of homes around here were built with. Here in Albemarle, we're also surrounded by woods, and insects can easily come over from them into your home. So, especially around here, it's a good feeling knowing that your house will be inspected every year.