Posts Tagged ‘live in fixer upper house while making repairs’

Termites, a relentless foe in rental houses

Friday, November 16th, 2007

In the fixer upper rental house business, we must constantly monitor the status of our property.

I was reminded of this again when we discovered that we had termites in one of our bedrooms. This is a fixer upper house that we are living in as we make repairs; soon to be a rental house. My son bumped his foot against the floor trim and found that there was no longer any wood trim there. All that was left was the the shell of the paint in the form of the trim. The wood had been completely eaten by termites.

Hiring a Pest Control Professional

I usually like to do all fix-up type repairs myself, but this is a case where I let the exterminators (no relation to the California governor) do the work. The first few companies I called would not give me a quote over the phone. The one company that gave me a “rough estimate” came in at a budget busting $1500 to $2,000 for a 1600 sq.ft. house. The job must be based on the square footage of the house, so it’s not rocket science to calculate the cost. It makes it impossible to compare companies if they all have to come to the house before they can give me an estimate! They think that after you invest the time to have them come over, you’ll just fall for their sales pitch, rather than spend any more time finding the best deal (and at the same time you’re concerned that your house is crumbling from the relentless termite onslaught).

So, I kept calling. After several more calls I connected with A-OK Termite and Pest Control and they really were “A-OK” because they gave me a bid of $650 without a house business. They did the job last Saturday.

Termite Living Habits

Yikes! Termites

Here in the desert southwest, we have subterranean termites, which I believe are the singlemost common type. They live in colonies deep within the ground, sometimes to depths of 25 feet. Termites work their way up through the soil from their nest and enter any wood they can. Termites can gain entrance by crawling up the sides of foundations, building mud shelter tubes to shield them from light, or they can go up hollow sections in block foundations or up cracks in the poured concrete foundations.

Every 48 hours or so termites must return to the soil to get moisture or they will die. The exterminator (again, no connection to Arnold) sets up a barrier of chemicals in the soil that the termites cannot pass through. They usually inject chlordane into the the soil every eighteen inches around the entire house. The same procedure can be done inside the house.

Even if only one part of the house is infested, the entire house must be termite-proofed or the termites will migrate to the untreated parts.

The time it takes termites to do serious damage varies from only a couple of years to 10 or more years. So, if you think you might have termites, don’t put off taking care of them too long. If it’s been 5 years since the last treatment it’s time to have the house inspected.

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