Beauty And The Beasts

Once in a while you can walk around a house and see something really beautiful, and hope isn't the problem you think it might be.  But try not to think out loud, something like, "We'll have to check that when we get inside."

This patio is a beauty.  It is solid.  No gaps.  No moving bricks.  No mortar deterioration. Angled slightly away from the house.

It is a beauty.

So why was I thinking out loud?

Because I am not a termite guy!  But I talk to termite professionals.  And they tell me that around here 90% of the time, when termites get into the house, they get in under a door.

Why?  The door usually comes after something solid, like a stoop or staircase, which provides a dark, damp, protected area with relatively milder temperatures.  And in Northern Virginia, like this house in Bristow, such an area as this is a termite invitation!

Inside, both doors had staining on the floor molding at the corners and on the wood thresh holds under the doors.  We went to the basement.

Under these two doors was a conveniently unfinished storage room.

The rim joist under the doors was easily accessible.

It was not hard to pull away the paltry insulation on the rim joists (it's never enough) and look around.

I found what I feared I might find when I saw it outside.

Rotting wood and termites!  BEASTS!

And they had been there for a while!

There were eight such cavities under the doors, all infested.

This piece of insulation came off pretty easily.

It revealed a hole with lots of mud spewing out.

You see, built right on the soil, and against the house, the beautiful patio became a convenient home for termites.

And the leaky doors created an even more "conducive condition."

Termites do what termites do.  And a lot of it!  This is a problem.

Here is a close up of the hole with the mud.  If this is visible, imagine what is going on that is not visible!

When building the patio, no provision was made for the fact that this patio would be a termite invitation.  Not thinking in advance, things proceeded.

AND THE TERMITES PROCEEDED TOO!  Nature is a very consistent mechanism. 

My recommendation:  you have to think in advance.  If you don't, one way or another, nature will catch up with you and a price will be paid.  These clients think their inspector is really smart, and really "super" (their word, not mine...).  Well, not really.  Just kind of logical and experienced.  Oh, and when you hire a home inspector, pick the one who is logical and experienced.  Some things follow other things!  Follow the logic!  

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Jay performs inspections Monday through Saturday, throughout Northern Virginia, from his office in Bristow to Leesburg and Centreville, to Great Falls and Vienna and everywhere in between!