Pests are an annoying problem to fix, but they take a lot of time to damage foundations, so you have plenty of room to spot them before it becomes a larger issue.
There are many different types of pests that, if left unchecked, cause serious damage to both concrete and wooden foundations.
It’s good to be aware of different kinds of pests and the damages they can cause, so we’ve put together a list of some of the nastiest kinds out there for foundation damage.
Termites can ruin a wooden foundation easily, but most people aren’t aware of the damage caused to concrete foundations as well. Subterranean termites have a tendency to get into small cracks in foundations and build homes out of it.
These termites are not only the most common type in America, but they also are responsible for a lot of structural damage.
Once termites find a crack in your foundation, they can use that crack as a tunnel to access wood that they can eat. When termites create tunnels out of cracks, they use a mud and saliva mixture to pack the walls of the tunnel and make it safer for them.
Over time, the size and amount of tunnels increase with repeated use and slowly break down your foundation.
The largest amount of damage is from wooden components that are attached to the foundation. Structural supports are often made from wood and will take direct damage from termites once they have a tunnel. Once termites are into the foundation, any other wood in your home is at risk too.
You can spot them if you find honeycomb patterns in the wood in your home, dead swarmers, wings left on ledges, or any unexpected damage to wood. Unfortunately, it’s tricky to deal with subterranean termites when they get in your foundation.
Termiticide barriers can be placed around a foundation to block subterranean termites from getting in, and that can be used both for prevention and treatment. If you already have them in your foundation, the modern solution is to treat any foundation-adjacent or damaged wood with pesticides.
If that doesn’t work, you can drill into your foundation and inject pesticide into any cracks or tunnels that form, although that’s going to be a tough job to do on your own.
Wooden foundations aren’t as common as concrete, but if you have one, then carpenter ants can cause just as much, if not more, damage than termites.
While subterranean termites will threaten concrete foundations, carpenter ants threaten any wood in a foundation and are likely to burrow their way further throughout your house to find food or shelter.
Carpenter ants usually look for moist or rotting wood to burrow into, but they can get into dry wood as well. Loose or rotting wood around the house, such as dead branches or firewood, will invite carpenter ants in.
Additionally, plants adjacent to or touching the house gives the ants a pathway to it. Gardens and thicker plants along the outside walls of the house act to keep moisture in, which keeps the wood damp and can lead to carpenter ants or any other kind of structural issue.
While there are DIY methods to get rid of carpenter ants, they usually only scare away ants and do nothing to get rid of the colony itself. There are some preventive steps you can take to keep the ants away:
- Seal all food and clean any spillages
- Seal small entrances in your home, usually found by doors, windows, or foundations
- Trim plants around your home to ensure none come in contact with the outer walls
Pavement ants, on the other hand, directly affect the concrete in foundations. While pavement ants aren’t as common, they can be found throughout Texas. These ants usually make their nests in the pavement, which is a huge issue for foundations.
These ants will enter through cracks in concrete slabs under buildings. From here, they can get into walls, insulation, under floors, etc.
Displaced soil around cracks in concrete often indicated a colony of pavement ants. If you spot this, come back and check at night, when it’s easier to see their movements. Spring is going to be one of the best times to spot them since they are highly aggressive to other ants during this time.
Groundhogs, squirrels, and raccoons might decide to stay in your attic instead, but they’re able to make shelters by burrowing underneath foundations.
This digging loosens the soil and natural structures holding your foundation up. Some species dig so often that they can cause parts of your home or driveway to sink.
Since burrowing animals are larger than the others on this list, a well-maintained fence built at least a foot into the ground will go a long way to prevent them from getting into your property.
Additionally, keeping lids on trash cans and pet food indoors will discourage animals from coming to your property in the first place.
Since rodents are usually looking for something to chew on to keep their teeth down to a reasonable size, they can cause damage to foundations. They can tear through wooden foundations, but are also known to cause damage to concrete foundations as well.
Any concrete is likely fine if it’s still in good condition, but if it’s already deteriorating or cracked, then rodents will move in and make the issue worse.
Rodents will also burrow underneath concrete foundations searching for access to food, and they can make use out of any cracks underneath your house that you don’t know about. Checking your foundations regularly for entry points and keeping your property free of clutter will discourage rodents from moving in.
As you can see, there are a lot of different pests that can damage your foundations in various ways. The longer an infestation goes on, the more foundation damage it will end up causing.
These preventative steps should be enough to keep you from running into issues with pests. Though we can’t cover every kind of pest-related issue with your foundations, and DIY methods often only provide short-term solutions. If you have any more questions or believe your home is already infested, we recommend talking with a professional pest control company.