Home ownership is a big step.  Representing a part of the American dream, owning a home means numerous unexpected advantages and pitfalls.  Chief among the things you should watch out for while you are on the market, and then later as a homeowner is damage.  The chief cause of damage to the home isn’t natural disasters, but rather a very small and tenacious pest called the termite.

The greatest way to ensure that you do not get termites is to have an annual termite inspection done on your home.  Given that this may cost money, the first thing you will probably ask is why?  Why should I pay someone else when I can do it.  Well, the thing is that there are non-evident signs to termite damage that an expert can identify and make you aware of.  In addition, the cost of a professional to come inspect your home and then repair damage will be far less than if the problem goes on unaddressed.

What do termites look like?

Termites are tiny white insects that love eating many of the materials a house is made out of.  Soldier termites have red colored heads, while workers have heads that are slightly darker then the rest of their body.  They build up large nests that support a single queen, capable of living for decades and producing 20,000 to 30,000 eggs a day.  Baby termites are nearly translucent.  As a result, termite colonies can survive through very harsh conditions and still live, frequently outliving homeowners and the changing of hands of property.

What kind of damage can Termites cause to my house?

Termites cause damage to houses in numerous ways.  The first way is through structural damage brought on by burrowing and chewing through wood.  Termites will create intricate pathways through load bearing wooden beams and other parts of the house.  This will eventually cause it to become weak, and then break apart.  Structural damages can be very dangerous, as stairwells and even entire floors can come crashing down.

The second kind of damage Termites cause is moisture.  Termites will dig in from outside, creating numerous spots for water and moisture to seep in.  Come a freeze thaw cycle, and those small holes will become larger and larger, causing extensive exterior damage.  These holes can also make your house less efficient at keeping the inside temperature right.  With all of these small holes, the R values of walls dramatically weaken as air moves in and out.

Termites can cause serious moisture and structural damage to your home. Before you think about putting off an annual termite inspection, think about this.  Do you want to pay a small amount of money right now to put your mind at ease and ensure the health of your house, or do you want to pay a significant amount of money later and invest in extensive fuming and repairs?  In the end, the choice is up to you.  Until then, good luck!