Termites, Please Come To My House!

By
Home Inspector with Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

 

These days, when you buy a brick house, it is not built the same way as was a brick house 40 years ago, or so.

In "the olden days" the brick work was structural.  The wood framing inside the house was attached into the brick walls.

In today's construction the structure of the house is the wood framing, with a brick facade on the outside.  And this brick is separated from the wood framing by an inch or two of space to allow for moisture removal.  It is attached to the house with small straps which are nailed onto the studs and anchored between the courses of bricks.

Thus endeth the lesson.

Often these brick facades begin on top of wood forms.  And sometimes, when they back fill around the house, they leave these forms in place.

How do I know this?  Because one or two years later, after the poorly compacted and back filled soil has settled, these forms are revealed.  And not being of pressure-treated wood, they are termite invitations!  Right to the edge of the house!

On this new construction many forms were still in place.  Wanting to make sure they were removed I pointed this potential problem out to my clients.  Of course the supervisors always say that they remove these forms.  And maybe they intend to.  But sometimes not!

A termite does not need much of a crack to get into a house.  Depending on the termite specie, a gap of 1/32" to 1/64" is enough to get them inside!

My recommendation:  It sounds like a little thing, but probably it is not.  If you are building a new house, or have a client that is, check for wood left attached to the house, or even lying around, and make sure it is removed.

Posted by

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


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Re-Blogged 10 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Yvette Chisholm 03/16/2010 05:39 AM
  2. Donald Bradbury 03/16/2010 05:46 AM
  3. Jackie Connelly-Fornuff 03/16/2010 06:05 AM
  4. Roy Kelley 03/16/2010 06:08 AM
  5. June Piper-Brandon 03/16/2010 06:41 AM
  6. Karin Smith 03/16/2010 06:58 AM
  7. Gabe Sanders 03/16/2010 07:42 AM
  8. Maureen McCabe 03/18/2010 02:02 AM
  9. Jenna Dixon 03/18/2010 09:17 AM
  10. Diane Williams 04/06/2010 03:59 PM
Topic:
ActiveRain Community
Location:
Virginia Prince William County Bristow
Groups:
Adventures in Home Inspecting
Professional Home Inspectors
The Vent
Tags:
brick construction
termite damage
new construction inspections

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Show All Comments
Rainmaker
1,254,025
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Richard - I know many people here who have prophylactic termite contracts.

Gabe - It's true with any kind of construction.  Thanks for the reblog!

Diane - I am happy you are happy!

Barbara - so much in life is about prevention!  And often times accidents can be prevented with a little common sense.

Scott - you are right - hurricanes do tend to encourage a different building standard.

Michael - termite inspections are required here within 30 days of settlement.

Mar 16, 2010 03:51 PM #43
Rainmaker
1,254,025
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Joe - those three stages sound like a good plan.  I wish they had something like that here.

Glad to help Dennis!

Morgan - I would be surprised to find that they did not require them there.

Russell - I have heard that from the termite guys.  Hence the annual contracts.

Kathy - railroad ties are an absolute buffet!  I think the Warren Buffet!  Yeah, probly...

Michelle - the problem presented in this post might not become one for a year or more!

Mar 16, 2010 03:55 PM #44
Rainmaker
1,254,025
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Tere - it is, and nationwide many billions of dollars of damage annually.

Ron - that's what they are looking for, moisture and wood!  They need a nice meal to regurgitate for the Queen.

Charlie - HA!  I see that all the time - all the weep holes are conveniently covered with mud and mulch.  I bring it up to the builder and they say something like, "You mean we need to find and uncover all the holes?" Ummm....

Sajy - my word for it is 7-11 construction!

Michelle - that stucco rap is because of bad installation.

Mike - that it did!  And the termites are taking over!

Mar 16, 2010 04:07 PM #45
Rainmaker
1,254,025
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

John - once a mental paradigm, it seems always a mental paradigm.  Getting one to shift is magic at its best.

Kevin - that and a buffet!

John M - and also concealing the space behind!

Justin - I am very glad to be able to contribute to that!

Damon - ouch!  These repairs can get very extensive and expensive!

Ted - pretty much nationwide.  I don't know why.  Geez, a 1/64" crack is pretty teeny.

Mar 16, 2010 04:13 PM #46
Rainer
56,463
Megan Phelps
RE/MAX Heritage - Fort Worth, TX

Good to know! Thanks for the insight.

Mar 16, 2010 05:17 PM #47
Rainer
9,431
Hope MacManus
Home Finders SVC Real Estate, Florence, OR - Florence, OR

Jay, thanks for the post.  Great info.  Will you come to Florence, OR to do my home inspections for my clients?  LOL

Mar 16, 2010 05:31 PM #48
Rainmaker
1,254,025
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Megan - any little way we can contribute we will!

Hope - I would if I could!  Thank you for the compliment.

Mar 16, 2010 05:39 PM #49
Rainmaker
128,921
Terri Stephens
CIR REALTY - Calgary, AB
REALTOR, Calgary & Airdrie 403-827-4663

TERMITES...well unless they come with little sweaters we don't have them here in Alberta, Canada.

But, we all have some form of issues with critters or mold effecting houses.

We have GROW OPS - people tapping into the power before the panel box, and stealing electricity to make the plants grow under extreme lights.  All that damage and danger for some POT.

Causes fires, mold, and makes the house not fit to live in. 

Termites don't sound that bad anymore...eh?   (had to throw the eh? in for being Canadian eh?)

Great Post

Mar 16, 2010 06:16 PM #50
Rainmaker
637,234
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

It's kind of amazing what gets left that should be removed. But hey termites gottta eat. :)

Mar 16, 2010 06:39 PM #51
Rainmaker
1,254,025
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Terri - I have heard, and seen TV shows, about the thousands of houses used all over Canada for growing illicit things!  Sorry to hear, but you have your termites that destroy houses and we have ours!

Jim - feed'em out in the yard!

Mar 16, 2010 06:41 PM #52
Rainer
69,426
An Marshall
Berkshire Hathaway - St. Augustine - Saint Augustine, FL
Your St Augustine Real Estate Consultant

the more I learn about construction, the more I realize I don't know.

Mar 16, 2010 08:49 PM #53
Rainmaker
446,541
Vickie McCartney
Maverick Realty - Owensboro, KY
Broker, Real Estate Agent Owensboro KY

Hi Jay~  I can't believe how many people leave wood just laying under the house!  I tell them to get it out!  It serves no purpose and is, like you said, an invitation for termites!  Another thing I do not understand is why more people do not put their homes under contract with a termite company for prevention!

Mar 16, 2010 09:06 PM #54
Ambassador
1,342,756
Richard Iarossi
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Crofton, MD
Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate

Jay,

Thanks for the tip. Termites are a problem here in Maryland. I can't imagine a builder not taking a form down, but I guess I shouldn't be surprised at shoddy work.

Rich

Mar 16, 2010 10:08 PM #55
Ambassador
1,576,699
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 800-610-7253 DRE01267479 - Costa M

This is something that needs to be considered.  We don't many brick houses around Orange County.

Mar 16, 2010 11:28 PM #56
Rainmaker
1,353,764
Vickie Nagy
Vickie Nagy, Broker Associate Realty ONE Group BMC Associates | BRE#01363932 - San Ramon, CA
Broker for San Ramon, Danville, Dublin, Pleasanton

Yes, remove the wood debris...and any cellulose debris under or near the the home as well.

Mar 17, 2010 12:22 AM #57
Rainer
22,295
Richard Johnston
San Fernando Valley - RE/MAX Grand Central - Sherman Oaks, CA

Thanks for sharing Jay!

Mar 17, 2010 03:53 AM #58
Rainmaker
1,254,025
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

An - I feel the same way!  We change our book every 14 or 16 months or so.  New stuff...

Vickie - it's a good idea, with a reputable company.

Richard - it is amazing how often I see the forms years later when the soil has settled.

Christine - termites are problems no matter the style of house.  But don't invite them!

Vickie - crawl spaces are another place where people leave a lot of invitations, you are right.

Richard - I will when I can!

Mar 17, 2010 04:38 AM #59
Rainmaker
325,147
Esko Kiuru
Bethesda, MD

Jay,

This kind thing probably happens more than most imagine. That's why an inspection is a must for the average citizen. That looks like a termite buffet in the picture.

Mar 17, 2010 03:42 PM #60
Rainmaker
109,418
Connie Johns
Transaction Realty - Toledo, OH
Toledo, Ohio Area Real Estate

Excellent advice about not leaving a banquet out for the tiny creatures.  Just today I had an underwriting stip that read "have pest inspector reinspect and give assurance that wood in crawlspace has been removed"  Guess who will be in the crawlspace tomorrow removing wood scraps?

Mar 18, 2010 12:38 AM #61
Rainmaker
1,254,025
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Esko - I am sure this is a very often occurrence.  Why feed them?

Connie - how fun is that!  I feel your pain.

Mar 18, 2010 04:07 AM #62
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Rainmaker
1,254,025

Jay Markanich

Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
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