Termite attack on interior sills (C) D FriedmanTermite Inspection Using Invasive Methods & Probing
When to Use Probing or Demolition to Find Termite Damage
     

  • TERMITE DAMAGE PROBING - CONTENTS: how to decide when probing, demolition or other invasive methods are justified in looking for wood destroying insect damage at a building. Explanation of the fear-o-meter risk assessment tool.
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about termite damge assessment methods
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When & how to probe wood or other materials to evaluate termite or other insect damage: this article describes how we determine when invasive methods are appropriate as part of evaluating termite damage, carpenter ant damage, powde post beetle or old house borer or other wood desctroying insect damage at a building.

This article series provides a case study of a termite inspection that found insect & rot damage:photographs, inspection advice & visual clues that led to discovery of severe hidden structural damage to a building.

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How to decide that termite trouble signs justify destructive or invasive inspection methods

This termite damage investigation case describes an order of discovery of clues suggesting, then confirming, then assessing the extent of insect damage including the discovery of very extensive hidden termite damage in a finished wood floor. A sequence of photographs illustrates the course of our termite inspection and what we found.

The termite damage clues described first outdoors beginning at TERMITE DAMAGE INSPECTION, then continuing at TERMITE SIGNS INDOORS justified (with owner permission) pulling off baseboard molding trim to disclose how the floor was constructed and what damage to its support may remain. We saw rot, termite damage, mud, mud tubes. A disappointment to say the least.

Termite damage case (C) Daniel Friedman Termite damage case (C) Daniel Friedman

Conditions at the floor perimeter led us to probe some small spots of wood filler in the center of the re-built, re-finished floor.

With the slightest pressure the wood filler collapsed under our probe (above left), showing the extensive termite damage shown by the photographs at above right and the two termite damage photographs below.

Termite damage case (C) Daniel Friedman Termite damage case (C) Daniel Friedman

Let's summarize arguments that the risk of hidden damage and the cost of addressing it outweighs the cost associated with cosmetic damage caused by probing or the cost and trouble of partial demolition of a building with some observations & comments:

Also see the FEAR-O-METER a promotion theory to convert risk of hidden defects & hazards into action thresholds, for a discussion of how an accumulation of inspection evidence leads to a rational decision to perform invasive or desctructive inspection measures.

Termite Inspection & Damage Finding Conclusions

These covered-over termite damage combined with evidence of ongoing termite activity was an upsetting series of discoveries at the building we describe above.

  • The original termite damaged floor was incompletely repaired, leaving damaged support in place
  • There was such a severe and active termite infestation that even the "new" materials had already been attacked by termites, months after the renovation work was complete
  • No professional termite inspection, treatment, nor water and drainage problem assessment had been performed.
  • We were concerned about possible improper use of chemicals by the homeowner and site contamination.
  • The owner's time, trouble, and money were wasted on this floor renovation as it failed to correct the termite problem and was itself damaged soon after installation
  • The damage, combined with the representation that the work was simply a "lovely remodeling job" and the failure to report a long history of termite damage risked a case of real estate fraud

 

Continue reading at STRUCTURAL DAMAGE PROBING or select a topic from the More Reading links shown below.

Also see the FEAR-O-METER a promotion theory to convert risk of hidden defects & hazards into action thresholds, for a discussion of how an accumulation of inspection evidence leads to a rational decision to perform invasive or desctructive inspection measures.

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TERMITE DAMAGE PROBING at InspectApedia.com - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.

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