termite damage vs wood rot

Termite Damage vs Wood Rot – [All You Need To Know]

Termite damage is the destruction caused by wood and other cellulose-based items by termites. Termites feed on materials like wood, paper, mud, and other cellulose materials. Termite destruction can weaken even building structures and other damage to furniture when left unchecked. Termite damages can range from small damages to larger destruction when left unattended. One should address the damages as soon as possible to maintain the structure’s integrity.

Wood rot is the decay of wood caused by certain fungi that can break down the cellulose in the wood. Fungi grow in moist and humid conditions exposed to high humidity and water. Wood rot leads to really bad damage in wooden structures, warping, and discoloration. There are two types of wood rots, white and brown. The brown rot is dark and cracked, breaking down the cellulose of the wood. And the white rot is soft and spongy, breaking down the cellulose and lignin. Wood rot is very serious, leading to loss of strength and integrity in furniture, buildings, and other wooden items. Let’s look into termite damage vs. wood rot. 

How Does Termite Damage Look Like?

Termite damage can be of different forms, depending on the severity and extent of the invasion. Let’s check some of the common types of damages caused.

  1. Sagging and buckling floors: termites usually damage the floor joists and subflooring. This creates an uneven floorboard or creates a sag in the floor.
  2. Hollow sound: when the termites eat the insides of the wood, the wooden flooring or furniture becomes hollow.
  3. Blistering wooden floors: termite invasion and infestation create and traps moisture. This trapped moisture creates a tunnel with blisters on the wooden floor.
  4. Bubble on paint or peeling: termite infestation can cause the wooden materials to peel over time due to the damage it causes.
  5. Mud tubing: termites form mud tubes with the soil to the wood they infest on. This way, they can protect and maintain the moisture levels they need.

If you ever suspect any termite damage, you need to perform an inspection with the help of a licensed professional pest control and do the necessary treatment.

How Does Rotten Wood Look Like?

Even rotten wood depends on the severity and type of rot formed. Let’s look into different types of rot in nature and appearance.

  1. Discoloration on wood: rotten wood will look discolored or dark with black or gray.
  2. Splits and cracks: the fungi infecting the wood cracks and weakens the wooden structure by decaying and feeding on the wood.
  3. Fungal growth: mostly fungal infestation causes the wood to rot, and this fungus grows on the wood looking white or gray.
  4. A moldy odor on wood: when fungi rot the wood, it creates an odor releasing organic compounds creating decay on wood.

If you ever suspect that the wood is rotten, make a replacement and treat the fungus with the help of a professional inspector to protect and ensure the safety of the wooden structure.

Difference Between Termite Damage vs Wood Rot

The major difference between termite damage and wood rot is their underlying causes. Termite damage is caused by tunneling and infesting on paper, wall, ground, and wooden and cellulose materials. The termites infest and create chambers and tunnels inside the wooden structures and cellulose objects. We can observe the damage from the hollow-sounding wood, mud tubes, rigidity loss, and discarded wings.

The wooden rot is created by the fungal breakdown of wood cellulose and lignin with high humidity and moisture. This creates a softness and discolored wooden appearance. This breaks the strength of the wooden structure.

Even though the causes of both damages are different, the destructions and deteriorations comprise the texture, rigidity, integrity, strength, and durability. It is very important to identify the nature and severity of the destruction to ensure safety and protection. A professional inspection of the damage is necessary to develop the right treatment, replacement, and repair.

Does Rotted Wood Attract Termites

Does Rotted Wood Attract Termites?

Yes, rotten wood does attract termites. The termites usually feed on cellulose found in wood and other plant-based materials. Since rotten wood is much softer and easy for termites to break down and consume, Rotten wood attracts termites for the moisture and humidity trapped inside, which is essential for survival. We need to remember that not all termites are attracted to rotten wood.

Some termites feed on healthy and live wood, while others feed on decaying and damp wood. We can observe many places, materials, and objects, including tree stumps, fence posts, and other furniture in houses.

To prevent termite infestation, regularly maintain your home’s wooden structures and walls towards a healthy and rigid cellulose structure. Remove any damaged, rotten and decayed wood from the property. It can be a dead tree in your garden, a leaking plumb activity, and other furniture that is not in use. Always ensure a regular inspection of such items to prevent further damage and infestation.

How Do you Test for Termites in Wood?

There are many ways to test termites in wood. 

  1. Tap test: one can tap the surface of the wood with a hard object or tool. If the wood creates a hollow sound or feels soft to the touch, it can indicate termite damage.
  2. Visual inspection: this is where you look for signs of any damage or decay. It can be holes, tunnels, and grooves in the wood. Another inspection is saw-dust frass on the wood or the floor nearby. We can also observe mud tubes traveling all over the wood.
  3. Moisture meter: we know how important moisture is for termites. We can use a moisture meter to identify the damp areas of the wood. The higher the moisture level trapped, the higher the chance of termite colonies.
  4. Thermal imaging: termites generate a lot of heat when they consume wood. Thermal imaging can be used to detect termite movement and activity. Thermal cameras are used to capture the heat energy generated. This can indicate any infestation.

How Long Do Termites Stay in Wood?

The time duration a termite lives in wood depends on many factors. This includes the species and condition of the termite. 

For example, subterranean termites stay in wood for several years. Some even stay in the same wood for an entire lifespan, typically up to 15 years. Drywood termites infest dry and healthy wood. It does not necessarily feed and live on soil. Even these colonies can stay in the wood for several years.

The condition of the wood, like damage, rot, or moisture and dampness collected, attracts the termites to that wood. This allows the termite to stay in this wood for a long. Usually, when termites infest a piece of wood, they will keep consuming until the wood is destroyed or removed by a professional for treatment. 

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