Termite Damage Assessment in walls?

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Old 06-04-06, 07:30 PM
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Termite Damage Assessment in walls?

Q: Does anyone know a (relatively) non intrusive way to determine the extent of termite damage in walls? We'd like to have a plan in place to really assess the termite problem before we make an offer... Read below for more info on the situation.

Background...My wife and I recently found a home we'd like to put an offer in on, but we just found out the house had/has a termite problem. The old owners kids were fixing it up before putting it up for sale and found 'evidence of termites' on the common wall between the garage and the house, just behind the fridge. They have since installed the bait stations, one of which has had a positive hit. This bait station is near the edge of the garage in the total opposite corner. I'm concerned since they first noticed damage in an interior wall and only did a visual inspection of the area where they first noticed them, that there may be more hidden damage from where they started eating their way in. Real estate inspection contracts generally say you can't get out of a sale contract without 'habitiability' issues. We'd like to have a plan in place to assess the termite problem before we make an offer...
 
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Old 06-04-06, 07:46 PM
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You absolutely need to have a positive assesment on the termite infestation before you even think about buying the house. Often times there is only minor damage and they can be exterminated but termites can do major structual damage to a frame home that would certainly preclude any asking price. I would seriously recommend having a professional make that determination before you make an offer. Or insist that they do. If they are hesitant that may tell you something right there.
 
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Old 06-05-06, 07:38 PM
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You didn't mention if the home was treated for termites after the activity was found. Or are they using the bait stations to treat?
A non-intrusive way to determine extent of damage would be using something like infra-red and acoustics to "see" behind your walls. Read the post about it here: http://forum.doityourself.com/showthread.php?t=265624

Otherwise, I don't think there's a way to really find out what's going on and to what extent unless you remove those walls to have a look. And then, nobody can predict where damage/activity is coming/going from. So, you may think they're starting behind one wall, but you may remove it and find there's nothing there.
Like Buildpro said, I would definitely call and speak with a pest/termite company and have them look around and they'll be able to give you options as far as what to do.
 
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Old 06-05-06, 07:58 PM
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They are treating via bait stations, one of which has had a hit, quit a ways from the area in the house they first saw the termite evidence. They took a small piece of dry wall out where they first found evidence of termites had some guy (not a termite inspector) look around and put the panel back up. I'm trying to find someone locally that does infrared imaging to see what they can do. I'm not really sure they had a termite inspection done now that I think about it....because I didn't see any other report besides the one on the bait station installation and activity. You'd think they'd have the guys write up an inspection report of the house

Thanks for all the comments!
EB
 
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Old 06-08-06, 06:03 PM
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termites!

They may not want to write a report, determining damage is not easy. What is the construction of the house ? wood frame or concrete block ? Did the bait installation report say if it was a presumptive or corrective ? Does the exterior siding extend into the ground ? Is the install agreement transferable to you ?Does it also have a repair guarantee? A good trick is to use an ice pick to poke through the dry wall on a stud at the base of the wall to see if the wood has been damaged. Other than infra-red you can use a moisture meter, anything above 30% you should investigate more. Even though the station on the other side got a hit does not mean they are not near the station you would think should have had the hit. There is no attractant in the stations. What kinf of program (inground bait station) is it ? You should have a WDO (wood destroying organisim) report done. Termites can consume so much wood over a period of time, taking into account any conducive conditions. I wouldn't let the seller schedule the inspector. One other thing, is there a bath trap access to underneath the tub ? if not i strongly recommend you do this. You can use an access from you home improvement store . I have done prevents on houses and cut bath trap and found sub-termites on the back of the tub. If they resist you, they might be covering something up.
 
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Old 06-08-06, 07:05 PM
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I found a liscensed PE who does whole house inspections and can do a structural assessment as well. They have a borescope they can put in the wall through the wall with the wall plate covers removed to check for visible signs of infestation in the walls.
The bait system installed is sentricon bait system. The system was recently installed (4/4/06), and the colony has not been eliminated per the documnents I've seen. No 'damage repair commitment' for new infestations is included by the treating company...this may could be a negotiated contract item. I'm not sure about bath trap access...i will have to ask and then see if they are open to putting one in to aid termite inspection.

Thanks for your response...it've been very helpful. Now that we've lined up some possible contingencies, my wife and I plan to write up a contract in the next few days, specifically listing some items relating to termite damage and a related inspection clause that caters to us about getting out if we turn up some bad stuff.
 
 

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