Wood Rot or Termite Damage? How To Tell to the Difference

Date Published: March 2, 2016

Wood Rot or potential termite damage can be present in older homes:

An interesting defect was found in an older 1940’s home this week by our Inspection Manager Luke. Down in the crawlspace of the home, a deteriorated piece of wood was spotted. Sometimes it can be difficult to tell the difference between wood rot and termite damage. Here is what Luke had to say about it.

“I thought it was wood rot from moisture damage, but if you got up close you could see the little tunnels typical of termites. Also, there was no moisture damage or dry rot anywhere else around this joist. This appears to be old termite damage, with the wood soft to the point that you could crush the whole joist with your bare hands in one area.  There were little tunnels and a mud like substance inside the wood, which appears to be consistent with termite tunneling. This is a very rare item to observe in our area.” – Luke Griess

As a result of this finding, we recommended to the buyer to have a pest inspection company come in to investigate for active termites.  We also recommended a structural engineer evaluate the beams to determine what repair or replacement of structural components is needed.  While this type of wood rot defect is very rare in our home inspections, it is exactly the reason you want a home inspection company that is willing to get into those hard to reach areas and do a full visual inspection for potential concerns.

At Scott Home Inspection, we perform all our Colorado home inspections to the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) Standard of Practice.  All of the inspectors on our team are ASHI Trained and we visually inspect structural components and beams for this exact type of concern.

Our home inspection services in the the Denver, Boulder, Fort Collins and Colorado Front Range area, can help determine if there are wood destroying organisms in your home or future home. Learn more about our pest inspections here.

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About the Author: Chris Scott

Chris Scott is an ASHI certified home inspector with multiple years of experience in home inspections, blower door testing, duct leakage testing, and Boulder Rental License Inspections. Chris is also the Website Coordinator for Scott Home Inspection.

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