Most of the homes in Florida are built on a concrete slab or utilize foundation piers. Pier foundations use vertical concrete or wooden columns that support the floor above them and the rest of the structure. Unfortunately, wooden piers are often viewed as an invitation by termites, which thrive in Florida’s climate. Termite damage on the wooden columns of a pier foundation can create dangerous structural issues that could lead to a collapse if left untreated. In order to protect yourself, you need to know how to spot termite damage and when to call for help or foundation pier repair.
Causes of Termites
You’ll find termites anywhere you find wood and warm weather, and Florida is no exception! Termites are attracted by rotting tree stumps and other sources of wood as well as standing water and humidity. Subterranean termites are particularly fond of wooden structures that sit directly on or close to the ground, making wooden home foundation piers a particularly attractive target. If you see any sign of termites it is imperative that you get your foundation inspected right away before any major structural issues occur. The professionals here at Heavenly Foundations, Inc know exactly what to be on the lookout for.
Frequency of Termites
Termites love Florida’s moist conditions and thrive here. They are now so common that Florida pest control companies report tenting 100 houses a day, with the potential for 20 million of the pests to be found on a single property. If you live in Pinellas County or Hillsborough County, you can expect to have termites at some point in time. Florida’s termite problem is currently getting worse as two separate termite species, the Formosan subterranean termite and the Asian subterranean termite, have bred with each other to form a super termite capable of doing twice as much damage as other termite species.
If My Foundation Does Have Termite Damage, Can it be Repaired?
Termites feed on wood, leaving voids and hollow spaces as they go. When these voids become too large, the wood is no longer structurally sound. In this weakened state, wooden structures are at risk of collapse. If the collapsing wood happens to be one or more parts of your foundation, your home could be lost completely. Fortunately, most foundation problems can be fixed. The first step is to examine the piers and note the ones that need replacing. A new footing for these piers will be poured if necessary and then a new wooden or concrete pier installed.
How Can I Prevent Termites?
There are steps you can take to protect yourself from termite damage. Have a pest control specialist visit your home and do a thorough inspection at least once a year. Make sure your foundation is properly ventilated and seal any cracks you find in wooden structures. Remove debris and wood piles from around your home so as not to invite termites into your yard. Fix any leaks or drainage problems, as well, to eliminate standing water. Know the signs of a termite problem so you can catch it early. These include:
- Discarded clear wings
- Mud tunnels on exterior walls
- Wood that sounds hollow when tapped
- Tunnels running along the wood grain