Chomp, Chomp, Squish, Squish

By
Home Inspector with JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC HOI 394

termiteTermites, you have to admire these little guys. They have survived for millions and millions of years through several of earth's evolutionary disasters. Termites were eating wood when T-Rex roamed our planet, but unlike the star of Jurassic Park termites are still around and very plentiful today.  

As much as one may have an admirable respect for these tiny insects, they are a pest which destroys our homes. The average cost to repair damage caused by termites in a home is $3000. The treatment cost to rid these voracious pests can start at $700 for a small house.  

The termite species that live in Connecticut are known as subterranean. The name is undoubtedly derived from the fact these termites live in the ground. They do not live in the house, they eat it! Because the termites nest is outside the house the most common areas to find damage are at the perimeter areas of the structure. The sill and box plates are most often where the munching starts.

During a home inspection in Connecticut the perimeter areas of the house structure are probed. Very often damage is not overtly apparent as the termites much inside the wood because they do not like to be exposed. However their presence can be more easily detected when the damage becomes severe.  

Sill plate complete eaten away by termitesOn a home inspection I performed recently what I would term extreme termite damage was discovered. I would not call this an unusual find. What was quite troublesome however is the home has been completely renovated.

When I say completed renovated, I mean it's a flip house.

RED FLAG!

As expected everything inside and out is pretty, pretty. In the basement the front sill plate for about 10 to 12 feet was gone. It had been eaten out of existence by termites. The floor joists were resting on top of the foundation wall. They had squished the sill as the termites ate it up.

My second photo shows what the unscathed sill looks like. The floor has settled due to the damage over one inch.Unscathed sill

The buyer's agent stated the sellers would not be doing any repairs because they had given the buyer such a good price. Unfortunately after the inspection the sellers are going need to spend quite a bit more money, this was hardly the only big issue, to get this house in shape.

When you hear the word flip, you should turn and walk away.

 

 

 

James Quarello
Connecticut Home Inspector
2010 - 2011 SNEC-ASHI President
NRSB #8SS0022
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC

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Posted by

James Quarello
Connecticut Home Inspector
Former SNEC-ASHI President
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC

 ASHI Certified Inspector

To find out more about our other high tech services we offer in Connecticut click on the links below:

Learn more about our Infrared Thermal Imaging & Diagnostics services.

Serving the Connecticut Counties of Fairfield, Hartford, Middlesex, New Haven, Southern Litchfield and Western New London.

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Rainmaker
456,506
Stanley Stepak
Howard Hanna - Avon Lake, OH - Avon Lake, OH
Realtor - Avon Lake, Avon, Bay Village, Westlake,

I have heard horror stories about these. HAd a friend leaning on his kitchen wall talking to a friend.  He fell through the wall as the termites had eaten the lower beams (house was on a slab foundation). 

Feb 22, 2011 12:53 AM #1
Rainmaker
790,129
Carol Zingone
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Florida Network Realty - Jacksonville Beach, FL
Global Realtor in Jax Beach, FL - ABR, CRS, CIPS

James - it's amazing how some investors think the flip process is going to be so simple....

Feb 22, 2011 12:54 AM #2
Rainmaker
1,850,322
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

I'm widjya! 

Termites collectively worldwide outweigh humans collectively by a factor of 1000.

The methane they produce, collectively, is also 1000 times what we humans produce.

And some are worried about cows?

Feb 22, 2011 01:35 AM #3
Rainer
40,155
Dale Ganfield
Leland, NC

Hi James, the age of the house must have predated pressure treated sills.  If this is only the start the owner does have some work to do!

Feb 22, 2011 06:29 AM #4
Rainer
171,130
Robert Butler
Aspect Inspection - Montreal West Island, QC
Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection

We don't have those bugs here....yet.  But they've been reported in Toronto. With global warming one can't assume.

As for flipping flips and house flippers, don't you know a four letter word when you see one?

Could 'Flip, Flop and Fly' become a catchphrase in our industry?

Feb 22, 2011 07:37 AM #5
Ambassador
1,334,402
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

But they are edible and are a potentially huge source of protein :)

Feb 22, 2011 10:58 AM #6
Rainmaker
1,244,593
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector

James,

You should try Charlie's fried termites, with chile. Very good.

Feb 22, 2011 03:54 PM #7
Rainer
319,213
Peg Barcelo
Fluff My House! Home Staging Inc. 250.486.6369 - Summerland, BC
The FlufftasticStager from Summerland, BC

Eeeeewww! those pix give me the heebie Jeebies... I can't imagine sharing a house with those things and not seeing what they've done, how do you not see the sill plate gone? As for #6 & #7: Gag me with a backhoe! Blech!

Feb 22, 2011 05:42 PM #8
Rainmaker
1,850,322
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Peg - there is not enough chocolate in the world to cover them if they were all fried.

Feb 22, 2011 09:13 PM #9
Rainmaker
690,134
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Stan, That's quite a story. Around here houses on slab are notorious for termite problems.

Carol, It is when you ignore major problems :)

Jay, I'm not worried about cows, I think they taste good.

Dale, A pressure treated sill is not really a defense against termites. Just like the old termite shields, they just go by it to the untreated wood.

Robert, For sure flip is a nasty four letter word.

Charlie, Yeah, but collecting them is real tedious.

Steve, Sounds like you have partook of the infamous chili.

Peg, LOL. They did see it, it was ignored.

Jay, You sound like you are not very adventurous when it comes to food.

Feb 23, 2011 12:12 AM #10
Rainmaker
233,697
Reuben Saltzman
Structure Tech Home Inspections - Minneapolis, MN
Delivering the Unbiased Truth.

Soooo glad we don't have those bugs here in Minnesota.  It would make inspections more interesting though.

Feb 23, 2011 02:01 PM #11
Rainmaker
690,134
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Reuben, More interesting for sure. It's amazing what these little creatures can do given the time.

Feb 24, 2011 01:38 AM #12
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Rainmaker
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James Quarello

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