When shopping for a new home, it’s easy to get attracted with the aesthetic features of a property. While it’s perfectly fine to look for a beautiful house, it’s also important to ensure that the new house you’re eyeing on is structurally sound and free from any active signs of termite infestation or damage.
Remember that before a lender approves your house loan, a licensed termite inspector will examine the property to verify whether or not there are signs of termite problem or unrepaired termite damages from previous infestations. Avoid the despair of falling in love with the wrong house by learning a few tips on how to check for termites and termite damage.
- Look out for termite mud tubes – Termites use mud tubes to inconspicuously travel across exposed terrain, as these tunnels provide protection against predators, and moisture needed to survive. Existence of termite mud tubes is a clear indication of termite activity; however, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the house is currently infested. It may mean that it has been plagued with termites before—if no termites are presently found.
- Inspect wooden areas for possible termite damage – Carefully scrutinize the wooden parts of the house, including any exterior fences/railings, garages, shacks, etc. If you see holes or hollows in the wood along the grain, termites have most likely tunnelled inside the wood, devouring it from the inside out. Note that termites can access their way into the wood from the opposite side, which means present or past termite infestation can be a factor—even if there’s no sign of termite entry points on the exposed parts of the wood.
- Examine plaster walls or drywalls for any indication of termites – Termites are unlikely to eat plaster or drywall; however, it’s not unusual for them to burrow their way through these kinds of surfaces to reach the wood behind the walls. If you notice small holes in the drywall or plaster, especially if they are surrounded by dirt fragments, there’s a great chance that termites have tunnelled through the material. Another sign of termite infestation is tiny wrinkles in the paper surface of the drywall, which termites eat just like wood.
- Check for foundation cracks and gaps – These tiny creatures can usually invade a house through cracks in the foundation. In fact, they can enter a home through the smallest foundation holes. If you detect a tiny opening in the house, it’s advisable to further examine it for possible signs of termite activity or damage. Termites also enter the slab through water pipes and sewerage services. Therefore a regular termite inspection is recommended by the Australian standards.
- Be familiar with common termite hiding spots – Termites can hide in various places in the house or other structure, such as under carpets/rugs and other types of floor coverings—especially if there’s wood beneath. They can also be found under a home’s insulation, regardless if it’s located within the walls or in the attic. Don’t miss out these common hiding places to verify if there’s presence of termites.
Remember that while you can do this on your own, it’s still best to perform termite inspection done by a professional to ensure that the house is free of termites and or termite damage.