Case Studies

Pests We Treat Case Studies: Termite damage in Cliffwood nearly derails sale

Monday, November 28th, 2016 by Michael Senz


This Cliffwood homeowner was in the process of selling their home. As often happens, during the inspection, termite damage was found. With this home, termite damage was found in one of the garage ceiling joists.  The homeowner had absolutely no idea that he had a termite problem. It came as a complete, unwelcome surprise. 

Termites are often called the “silent destroyers” of homes because these subterranean insects can be infesting a home for years without the knowledge of the homeowner. Unlike most other insects, they stay completely out of sight because, if exposed to air, these soft-bodied insects dry out. Termites leave few signs of an infestation since they consume wood from the inside out, turning a piece of wood into a hollow shell. They infest homes either from the ground up, going directly into the wood or by traveling through mud tubes along a concrete foundation. There is always a risk of termite damage whenever wood is in direct contact with the soil. 

This homeowner was more fortunate than many. Termite damage was minimal, and all indications were that the damage was limited to one ceiling joist. Other homeowners have not been as fortunate, finding themselves with repairs running into the thousands to fix. When termite damage is found during a home inspection, it can delay or even kill a sale. The best way to deal with termites is proactively and preventatively. Installing a Sentricon termite colony elimination system around the home’s perimeter that will block termites from reaching the home. A Sentricon system is always a great selling point because it gives potential buyers piece of mind that the home is termite-free. 


The homeowner contracted with Cowleys to do a termite treatment. To deal with this active infestation, we applied a highly effective termiticide, Termidor, to those areas of damage. This non-repellent undetectable product is carried back to the nest and transferred to other termites to kill the colony. After the treatment, we measured and cut a new ceiling joist and sistered that to the termite-damaged joist. It was not necessary to remove the termite damaged joist because it was only partially damaged. Cowleys has a number of technicians who are experienced in home repair. Often, like we did for this homeowner, we were also able to take care of the necessary repairs. After we were done, the home was once again ready for sale. Needless to say, the homeowner was quite relieved that everything was back on track.

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