How To Deal With Roof Damage From Termites
Seeing a large termite tent over a neighbor’s house makes many people ask themselves, “Should I be worried about termites at my home?” The fear isn’t unfounded. Termites lurk and thrive across the country. They can inflict large amounts of damage on roofs, rafters and fascia boards.
How do you deal with this nuisance? What can be done to correct damage that has already occurred? In this article, we’ll discuss what type of damage termites cause and how it can be prevented and repaired.
Termites: a nuisance in the springtime and possibly year round
The end of winter is usually a time to celebrate warmer weather and blooming flowers. It also happens to be the time of year that termites become active. During the winter, these little pests are nesting and preparing for the year ahead.
When the weather starts to warm up, they emerge from the nest just in time to wreak havoc on wood and other building materials. In climates that are more temperate year-round, termites can even be active all year long.
The longer termites breed, colonize and feed on your roof, the worse the damage will be. Sometimes, the damage can be subtle enough that you don’t notice it. Or, the damage may be taking place in areas that aren’t easily visible. Here’s just a few of the roof areas that will likely be impacted by termites.
The subroof is an essential part of your roofing system. It structurally supports the shingles, metal or tiles that make up the outer skin. Some especially heavy roofs like concrete tiles require a substantial subroof structure. If it’s weakened, and water starts to rot away, those tiles could actually collapse inside.
Because the roofing material covers the subroof, you probably won’t be able to see any damage caused by termites from the outside. You’ll need to look for signs like termite droppings or actual damage to the wood to know if you have an infestation.
Termite droppings are usually seen as little piles of round crumbs or sawdust. Unlike rodent droppings, termite droppings aren’t especially harmful to humans. If you see them, it’s a sure sign that damage is taking place to your roof.
In many homes, you’ll need to climb up in the attic space to check for droppings or wood damage. If you spot any suspicious signs, it’s a good idea to call an exterminator with termite expertise right away.
Rafters are another place that termites love to feed. This is another essential component of your roofing system. The rafters hold up the subroof which in turn holds up the shingles and tiles. Termites love the dark space of the attic, where they have plenty of wood to feed on.
One big culprit is areas of the attic that can be moist, such as over the bathrooms or kitchen. If they aren’t properly vented, they can become damp, and become an inviting feeding ground for termites.
Fascia board damage
Fascia boards are on the outside of your home, typically running below a roof overhang. The good news is that these boards are often easy to see and inspect periodically.
Just like the other areas of your roof, you’ll want to look for any termite droppings or piles of sawdust. You may see the telltale channels dug into the wood. You may also see bubbling or peeling paint.
Any of these signs mean it’s time to have an exterminator take a look. If you find termites in one place, there’s a good chance you’ll find them in other places as well.
What do do if you have a termite infestation
Finding signs of termite damage is never ideal. It’s important to get started on a treatment and repair plan immediately. The first step is to deal with the termites themselves. After they are no longer active, you can begin to make repairs.
Dealing with the termites
Calling an exterminator is your first step. They can inspect the roof, rafters, fascia and other areas around the house to assess how bad the damage is. If the infestation isn’t too extensive, they can treat only the affected areas. Then, you can focus on preventing any future infiltration of termites.
Sometimes, the infestation is clearly widespread. Other times, it’s not possible to make a complete inspection without removing drywall or exterior walls. In these cases, tenting is recommended.
During tenting, crews place large tarps over the entire house. An insecticide gas is then released in and around the home within the tent that wipes out all the termites. The good news is that it’s highly effective. The bad news is that it’s expensive and requires you to be out of your home for several days. You also have to remove food and other personal belongings.
Dealing with the damage
Once the termites are no longer actively infesting your home, you’ll want to call a roofer to assess the damage and make repairs. Severely damaged and rotting wood will need to be replaced. It’s essential to get the repairs done right to prevent any water intrusion and termite issues in the future.
There’s a few steps you can take to prevent termites from causing damage in the first place. Prevention is always cheaper than making repairs so it’s worth spending some time on double checking that your house isn’t friendly for termites.
- First off, having a qualified, licensed roofer like Horizon perform a periodic inspection can help prevent any leaks or buildup in moisture which creates an inviting place for termites to set up shop.
- Painting and sealing all exposed wood can help prevent termites from penetrating the outer surface of the wood.
- Cutting back grass, shrubs and trees close to your structure can really help moisture accumulation, which is a breeding ground for termites. Mulch is very useful in gardening, but keep it back from the house itself, as it keeps the soil moist.
Horizon Roofing – serving the Orange County, CA area – is your reliable local roofing contractors. We specialize in residential roofing and commercial roofing and have been in the industry for over a decade. We have excellent reviews and look forward to serving your need.