Termite Damage Vs. Water Damage: Homeowner’s Guide To Knowing the Difference

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Termite infestation and water can both ruin your home and furniture. Homeowners can easily confuse these damages because they tend to look the same. However, both problems require different treatments, so it’s important that you know the difference between them.

So how can you identify the difference between termite damage and water damage? Water damage can create square-shaped “cells” in the wood, while termite damage can create hollowed-out areas in the wood or leave the wood looking wavy. You can also check your property for any signs of termites to help determine whether you’re dealing with an infestation.

Termite Damage Vs. Water Damage

To know what kind of damage you’re dealing with, you should closely inspect how the damage looks like. Here are some signs that can help you determine what is causing the wood or furniture in your home to deteriorate:

1. Signs of Termite Damage

Termites damage wood because they need the nutrients in cellulose to survive. However, termite infestation varies depending on the kind of termites that are present on your property.

Subterranean Termites: Subterranean termites need a lot of moisture, so they tend to eat the soft parts of the wood. You can identify this damage when you see dark areas or blisters, especially in wood flooring. However, subterranean termite infestation can go unnoticed for a long time since they only eat the spring wood and they leave the grain and exterior surface intact.

Drywood Termites: Another sign to look out for is the frass they leave behind. Frass from drywood termites resemble small, dry pellets that consist of digested wood and termite droppings. Since these termites typically feed on wood from the inside out, you can determine an infestation from these termites when the portion of wood under the surface is almost totally consumed.

Dampwood Termites: You can tell whether the damage is created by dampwood termites if the wood looks clean and smooth on the inside. Oftentimes, dampwood termites also eat across the grain, especially if the wood is decayed.

2. Signs of Water Damage

Water damage or wood rot is caused when there is excessive moisture on the wood. The easiest way to tell if the water is responsible for the damage you see is to look at the pattern on the wood. Water damage or wood rot creates a pattern of square-shaped cells or alligator scales on the material as it expands and cracks when it holds more water. Another way to identify water damage is to see if there are areas on the wood that are darker than the others.

What Kind of Damage Is More Dangerous?

After learning how to identify water damage from termite damage, homeowners may also wonder about which kind of damage is more dangerous. Here are some of the risks of water damage and termite damage:

1. Risks of Water Damage

Water damage or wood rot can cause your home’s foundation to get weaker. Aside from this, it can also cause mold to grow and fill the air with musty odors. And once the wood is moist enough, termites like the subterranean ones are more attracted to feed on it.

2. Risks of Termite Damage

Like water damage, termite infestation can also risk the structural integrity of your building. The risk of termite damage is greatly associated with the pests themselves. Handling termite-infested wood can increase your chances of being bitten or stung by these insects. You can also get contact dermatitis from termites, which can cause itchy rashes on your skin.

How to Fix Damage Caused by Termites or Water

When termites or water damage your furniture, one of the first things you have to do is determine whether you can still repair them. Termite damage can be repaired by removing the rotted wood with a chisel and then filling in the gaps with a wood hardener. However, you should be careful when inspecting the wood and make sure that it’s free from termites to avoid being bit or stung.

On the other hand, water damage can be fixed the same way: carving out the wood rot and filling it in with a wood hardener. But since moisture is the main culprit for the damage, you should first dry the area completely to prevent mold growth.

For a better understanding of termite damage and water damage, the table below simplifies the differences between the two:

Pest Control at Midway Pest Management

If you’re dealing with termite infestations at home, then you should call for professional pest control services for the best treatment or solutions. At Midway Pest Management, we provide residential and commercial termite treatments to ensure the safety of your home and belongings. Call us today and schedule a free estimate to learn how experts at Midway Pest Management can help you.

Learn more: Termite VS Carpenter Ant, Major Differences Between These Two Household Pests