Termite Damage!!! Please help

14 Replies

Hi All,

I closed on my first duplex this week and started working on one of the units today. One unit is already rented and the second is vacant. While doing the inspection I was one of the baseboards was damaged(falling a part) so I told the inspector about it. He sad it was water damage from the window above it. Told me that it was not a big issue. So first thing today I siliconed all the windows of the house. Fixing any gaps. Then I addressed my attention to the baseboard. Got a small drill bit and started drilling every foot to figure out is the damage is just under the window. Almost the hole baseboard was bad, so I decided to pull it of and replace it. Once I pulled it off I figured out that it is not water damage from the window. Everything was dry not even a drop of water and we had a lot of rain the last few days. To my untrained I this looks like termite damage. So instead of installing a new board I left the wall open and will call a termite inspector to check both units. I think the last owner know about the problem and probably got somebody to spry it but never exchanged the board just over paint it. The damage is mainly on the baseboard and not on the studs. It looks like the studs have not been touched.

I'm attaching some pictures, please confirm that this is termite damage not water?

I'm debating should I do an termite inspection? Or just get some king of termite killer and spray the area, then install a new board?

Is there a way to see if the termites are still in the wood? Are they visible to the human eye ? How big are they? like an ant or something smaller?

I'm very disappointed with the inspector that did the inspection, he should have told me about the issue or un-leased recommend a terminate inspection.

I'm every good with tools and should not be a problem for me to install the baseboard back and paint but want to make sure to fix the problem not cover it. At the same time want to save money. Any recommendations are welcomed.

Thanks for the help

Yes, that is termite damage. Get someone out to inspect it and treat it if the colony is still active. Then replace all of the damaged wood.

You will likely find some damage in the other unit too.

I will second that . Poke around with a screw driver , look in the basement or crawlspace with a good flashlight , look for more .

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Yavor, Termite damage it appears to be. May I ask the state the property is in? I would take pictures (do not destroy the area or expose to much).Call at least 2 other reputable inspectors in (that are licensed and "fully insured")to do an evaluation and provide you estimates for treatment if need be and a brief summary on any damage found.I had a similar problem on a property i was going to flip and one of the other inspectors i hired to check out the missed termite damage issues i found told me they had previously inspected the home and told the then homeowners all the issues but the homeowners (sellers to me) had a cheap company do a half arss job. Once i found out that information the selllers who covered up the termite damage ended up paying me big money for the repairs and inconviennece they caused me (could not rent out unit).

Then I would call the company you had do inspection and give him a chance to explain and fix the issue. Make sure you check out inspection report he gave you at time of inspection for all his disclaimers and limitations. DOCUMENT everything. I have seen a little termite damage exposed at baseboards but then the termites traveled up there "mud tubes" to eat a second floor bathrooms entire subfloor and floor joists. Again DOCUMENT EVERYTHING.

Yavor sorry, I might have seen carpenter ant frass in pic as well (not uncommon for c/ants to eat termites or nest in areas previously damaged by termites). Make sure you do not have both issues. Lastly, please an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Make sure you eliminate ALL moisture and wood to ground contact issues to help suppress future issues as part of the pest management plan to resolve your issue.

Looks like termite damage to me sometimes it's only a small area or could be extensive damage

You can buy Termidor online to treat it yourself

Hi All

Thank you for all replies. I did get an inspector and he confirmed that it is a Termite damage. However, it turned out that no termites are present and the damage was limited only to the baseboard. The inspector pointed out that the house was treated for Termites three years ago with one of the best products available (forgot the name) and I should repair the damage and not worry about it. He also told me to monitor the soil under the house and make sure it is not constantly wet if so should make more vents so it can dry off. The seller did not disclose the damage and did cover it. However, the repair was not more then $100 (I did all the work my self) so I did not go after the seller.

Thanks for all the help

@Yavor Tomov

Just remember if this is a flip disclose everything to the next buyer. Make sure you get some type of warranty from termite Inspection and or treatment co. IMPORTANT !!! many termite inspection companies just want to do termite inspections, get the treatment job and repair work then run. They might offer a 1 yr termite warranty with no intention of allowing you the ability to renew it a year later. That said IMHO a reputable co will allow you to renew the warranty (for a minimal fee). You should contact your termite inspection company about a month before the last inspection was done and tell them you want them to renew. They should come out re-inspect and if activity is found they should treat it for free (included in inspection/renewal fee) if no activity they may offer suggestions to suppress future infestations and this should go on and on. Why you do this is if you do sell the property and another termite company finds issues hopefully the company you have had doing the inspections will own up to it and address all the issues to provide a clear Certification.

Jeff

The exclamation points in the title of your post and the fear and anxiousness in your writing is exactly why experienced rehabbers can get great deals with properties like these. There's 3 things that often indicate a possible killer deal, because owner-occupants will typically be scared away. Those 3 things are termites, mold, and big blue tarps on the roof. I love all of those things.

@Yavor Tomov  in South Carolina we have to have a CL100 done on the property before you can buy it. This CL100 is a termite inspector and he has to sign off that there is no termites or termite damage...If you had that done, you may be able to go after that termite companys insurance since he was paid or if he got paid to do that inspection...Id check into it and see if a CL100 was done...

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@Chance Cooper  

Thank you for the information will check. However I do not believe one was done. I did call an termite inspector and he verified that the termites are not active and found a label under one of the sinks indicating that the property was treated for termites. I got all the damage fixed extremely fast it was limited to the base boards and rented the unit. Now the issue regarding the seller not disclosing it and the general inspector not catching it is what makes me mad. I did spoke with a lawyer and he advised me not to do anything due to the low repair cost ($200.00 did the repair my self). We live and learn, will be better prepared for the next one. 

I don't think I've ever bought a house that didn't have termite damage. 

I've mainly dealt with historic homes and they've all had termites at one time. 

The important point is not whether there are termites or not (they can easily be killed), but how much damage there is. You had very little, so, I would let it go. 

An inspector will only inspect what's visible and accessible to him/her. Subsequently, there's not really anything you can hold him to. If you're buying a house, he can't just tear open the walls etc. 

I think you've come away with a big, but inexpensive lesson and it's something to be thankful for. Knowing now what you didn't know then might keep you from doing a huge mistake in the future. So, turn it around in your brain and quietly thank the inspector for this lesson, because us rehabbers rarely learn those lessons through theory ;-)

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