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Old 01-10-2010, 03:47 AM
 
Location: 43.55N 69.58W
3,231 posts, read 6,534,279 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skunk Workz View Post
It may not be a deal killer, but I would definitely do some extra research.

I know that insurance will be more expensive. Termites are a problem, especially since we have both subterranean (they live underground and build mud tunnels up to any wood they can find) and drywood termites here (they'll fly out of trees, or your neighbors house to get to yours').
I'm so glad the termite topic was brought up, I have a question!
Are any type of termites able to penetrate a house made of block? My house is made of block and appears to have a stucco finish on the outside and terrazzo on the floors. While I've seen no evidence of termites, I was just wondering if they are able to get in?

TIA!
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Old 01-10-2010, 05:18 AM
 
Location: Florida
917 posts, read 2,226,528 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by island mermaid View Post
I'm so glad the termite topic was brought up, I have a question!
Are any type of termites able to penetrate a house made of block? My house is made of block and appears to have a stucco finish on the outside and terrazzo on the floors. While I've seen no evidence of termites, I was just wondering if they are able to get in?

TIA!
I'm not a termite expert (although I've repaired plenty of damage from them). All that subterranean termites need to get in, is a tiny crack (1/32") in the masonry. So the short answer is "yes they can". Keep in mind that most of cells of the blocks in your walls are hollow. Also, depending on how complicated your home design is, the outside walls might be a combination of stucco over block AND stucco over wood frame.

The key thing is not to have conditions that would attract the termites in the first place. Mainly untreated wood in direct contact with damp masonry or the ground. Exterior door frames would be a good example. Another example would be any wood used for concrete forms left behind by the builder (forms around bathtub drains). Maintaining good drainage conditions around the house can't be stressed enough.

Last edited by tommy-105; 01-10-2010 at 05:48 AM.. Reason: spelling
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Old 01-10-2010, 10:14 AM
 
Location: Bernanke's Financial Laboratory
513 posts, read 1,049,720 times
Reputation: 218
Quote:
Originally Posted by tommy-105 View Post
I'm not a termite expert (although I've repaired plenty of damage from them). All that subterranean termites need to get in, is a tiny crack (1/32") in the masonry. So the short answer is "yes they can". Keep in mind that most of cells of the blocks in your walls are hollow. Also, depending on how complicated your home design is, the outside walls might be a combination of stucco over block AND stucco over wood frame.

The key thing is not to have conditions that would attract the termites in the first place. Mainly untreated wood in direct contact with damp masonry or the ground. Exterior door frames would be a good example. Another example would be any wood used for concrete forms left behind by the builder (forms around bathtub drains). Maintaining good drainage conditions around the house can't be stressed enough.
I'm not a termite expert either, although I do play one in the forums, and I did sleep in a Holiday Inn Express last night.

On a more worrisome note, termite inspections/treatments (contracts) are supposed to occur yearly to my knowledge, which brings up an interesting point considering how much we all discuss (argue) foreclosures and short-sales: any guesses when the last, if ever termite treatment was performed on all those homes bought solely to flip, or the homes that have been in limbo for years while the owners didn't make any payments until the banks got around to taking them back?

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Old 01-10-2010, 10:44 AM
 
14,639 posts, read 29,627,661 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreamy46 View Post
I'm not a termite expert either, although I do play one in the forums, and I did sleep in a Holiday Inn Express last night.

On a more worrisome note, termite inspections/treatments (contracts) are supposed to occur yearly to my knowledge, which brings up an interesting point considering how much we all discuss (argue) foreclosures and short-sales: any guesses when the last, if ever termite treatment was performed on all those homes bought solely to flip, or the homes that have been in limbo for years while the owners didn't make any payments until the banks got around to taking them back?

Termite inspections are always required here to get a mortgage. If someone pays cash they might skip it.
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Old 01-10-2010, 01:01 PM
 
Location: Florida
917 posts, read 2,226,528 times
Reputation: 271
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreamy46 View Post
I'm not a termite expert either, although I do play one in the forums, and I did sleep in a Holiday Inn Express last night.

On a more worrisome note, termite inspections/treatments (contracts) are supposed to occur yearly to my knowledge, which brings up an interesting point considering how much we all discuss (argue) foreclosures and short-sales: any guesses when the last, if ever termite treatment was performed on all those homes bought solely to flip, or the homes that have been in limbo for years while the owners didn't make any payments until the banks got around to taking them back?

I've never heard of banks requiring any additional inspections being done as long as the first report was clean.
But I see what you mean...

Lets say the Jones family had an inspection when they obtained their mortgage back in 1980. During the late 90s Mr. Jones can hardly pay his mortgage payment let alone keep up maintenance on the house. A small roof leak is ignored. The bank finally takes the house back and it sits empty for a year or so while mother nature tries to reclaim it. Joe Smith buys it from the bank in 1999. Joe is a cash buyer and makes a living flipping house. He doesn't bother with a termite inspection. He DOES know that the house needs a new roof and has figured that into his budget. He doesn't mind that expense, he knows how good a new roof is for curb appeal.

Low and behold, towards the end of the project Joe finds termite damage inside a wall while he's updating the kitchen. This wasn't part of his plan and he's already gone over the budget. He covers it up with new drywall and proceeds with his "renovations". Now you come along, flush with cash from the sale of your home up North. New roof, new kitchen, the place looks great. You skip the termite inspection too. You do hire a home inspector, but he can't see the damage hidden behind those new cabinets with the new granite counter tops.

How long before things start falling apart? One things for sure, Joe Smith is long gone.
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Old 01-10-2010, 01:18 PM
 
Location: Wandering.
3,442 posts, read 5,326,611 times
Reputation: 2426
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreamy46 View Post
I'm not a termite expert either, although I do play one in the forums, and I did sleep in a Holiday Inn Express last night.

On a more worrisome note, termite inspections/treatments (contracts) are supposed to occur yearly to my knowledge, which brings up an interesting point considering how much we all discuss (argue) foreclosures and short-sales: any guesses when the last, if ever termite treatment was performed on all those homes bought solely to flip, or the homes that have been in limbo for years while the owners didn't make any payments until the banks got around to taking them back?

There's no law requiring inspections or treatment, and to my knowledge there are no mortgage companies that require you to renew the contract once you are mortgaged. Most pest control companies offer a coverage policy that includes an annual inspection, and free re treatment if infestation occurs, but these are more like insurance policies. There are also monthly "bait" treatments that continually monitor and attempt to prevent termites on your property.
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Old 01-10-2010, 01:21 PM
 
Location: Bernanke's Financial Laboratory
513 posts, read 1,049,720 times
Reputation: 218
Quote:
Originally Posted by tommy-105 View Post
I've never heard of banks requiring any additional inspections being done as long as the first report was clean.
But I see what you mean...

Lets say the Jones family had an inspection when they obtained their mortgage back in 1980. During the late 90s Mr. Jones can hardly pay his mortgage payment let alone keep up maintenance on the house. A small roof leak is ignored. The bank finally takes the house back and it sits empty for a year or so while mother nature tries to reclaim it. Joe Smith buys it from the bank in 1999. Joe is a cash buyer and makes a living flipping house. He doesn't bother with a termite inspection. He DOES know that the house needs a new roof and has figured that into his budget. He doesn't mind that expense, he knows how good a new roof is for curb appeal.

Low and behold, towards the end of the project Joe finds termite damage inside a wall while he's updating the kitchen. This wasn't part of his plan and he's already gone over the budget. He covers it up with new drywall and proceeds with his "renovations". Now you come along, flush with cash from the sale of your home up North. New roof, new kitchen, the place looks great. You skip the termite inspection too. You do hire a home inspector, but he can't see the damage hidden behind those new cabinets with the new granite counter tops.

How long before things start falling apart? One things for sure, Joe Smith is long gone.
Couldn't have said it better myself. And, what type of home sale do we keep hearing about endlessly on this board, and in the media? Answer: the "all cash sale" to an investor because it doesn't require the bank to bring the home up to any kind of livability standard that an FHA or VA loan would require. Then, just as you said, Mr. Investor is free to cover up anything he finds, and later, your home inspector can only look at walls, not what's going on inside...

Excellent summary, you gave.

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Old 01-10-2010, 01:28 PM
 
Location: Wandering.
3,442 posts, read 5,326,611 times
Reputation: 2426
Quote:
Originally Posted by tommy-105 View Post
I'm not a termite expert (although I've repaired plenty of damage from them). All that subterranean termites need to get in, is a tiny crack (1/32") in the masonry. So the short answer is "yes they can". Keep in mind that most of cells of the blocks in your walls are hollow. Also, depending on how complicated your home design is, the outside walls might be a combination of stucco over block AND stucco over wood frame.

The key thing is not to have conditions that would attract the termites in the first place. Mainly untreated wood in direct contact with damp masonry or the ground. Exterior door frames would be a good example. Another example would be any wood used for concrete forms left behind by the builder (forms around bathtub drains). Maintaining good drainage conditions around the house can't be stressed enough.
As Tommy pointed out, subs can get to door trim, and other wood that's relatively close to the ground. And they will come through tiny cracks. They build "mud tunnels" up concrete walls and footings to wood that they are trying to get to.

Drywoods are another issues altogether. They fly (a couple of times a year when they swarm), and live above ground in trees, shrubs, your neighbors house, etc. Even a block home has some wood somewhere in it (the entire roof!), so while a block home will certainly lower your chances, you still have some chance of getting them.
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Old 01-10-2010, 01:47 PM
 
14,639 posts, read 29,627,661 times
Reputation: 17183
There are no guarantees with any kind of construction (block or wood) when it comes to termites. I have seen block homes (including one right down the street from me) totally INFESTED with them (these folks had to gut the whole thing!) and I have lived in old frame homes with NONE. It depends on a lot of factors, if the home has a lot of trees around it with dead wood, old wood close to the house, near other infested homes, etc. Never put mulch up to the house, or have any old wood near it, that is asking for trouble.
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Old 01-10-2010, 03:39 PM
 
Location: Florida
917 posts, read 2,226,528 times
Reputation: 271
Quote:
Originally Posted by gypsychic View Post
There are no guarantees with any kind of construction (block or wood) when it comes to termites. I have seen block homes (including one right down the street from me) totally INFESTED with them (these folks had to gut the whole thing!) and I have lived in old frame homes with NONE. It depends on a lot of factors, if the home has a lot of trees around it with dead wood, old wood close to the house, near other infested homes, etc. Never put mulch up to the house, or have any old wood near it, that is asking for trouble.
The worse case I ever came across, was in a house with a woods in the back yard. The house was stucco over wood frame. It had beautiful old oak floors with an inlay around the perimeter of the rooms. The subfloor was 1x6 pine planking run diagonally across the joists. They didn't touch the oak too much, but followed the sub floor clear across the house. We had to tear up most of the first floor oak, door jambs, and base moldings. My boss at the time made plenty on that one.
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