How Subterranean Termites Cause Foundation Damage (And How You Can Find Them)

19 May 2016
 Categories: , Blog


Subterranean termites cause a wide variety of damage to the wooden structures of homes, making them one of the most destructive of all invasive pests. They are especially damaging should they start attacking your foundation. But how do they attack your foundation? Are they chewing the concrete or causing damage in another way? Read on and find out what you can do to stop them.

Termites Cannot Chew Concrete

The prevalence of subterranean termites in foundation walls has caused some people to think that termites can actually chew concrete. This is, thankfully, not the case. But they can squeeze through cracks in concrete and often do so in order to push through your foundation to find wood. So foundation damage caused by termites isn't a result of them directly chewing the concrete, but instead chewing the wooden support beams that keep your foundation in shape.

What Happens When Termites Chew Support Beams

When termites start chewing the wooden support beams for your foundation, they are heavily impacting the integrity of the beams. If they cause enough damage, this can cause the beam to buckle against the pressure of the concrete or even crack. Without these support beams, the concrete will shift position and can start to sink. When your foundation sinks, a variety of structural damages will begin to spread through your home.

Checking For Termites And Foundation Damage

While termites aren't actually eating your concrete, their love of the foundation support beams makes it important to both find signs of foundation damage and check for termite infestation. Watch your home for symptoms of foundation damage, such as the following:

  • Doors refusing to close properly
  • Cracks in walls and floors
  • Windows that stick when they used to open easily
  • Tilting floors

If you see signs of foundation damage, you need to inspect the exterior and interior of your home for signs of termites, such as wood shavings, fecal matter, shed wings, mud tunnels, damaged wood that shows up suddenly, and even live termites.

Go into your basement with a flashlight and pay special attention to the wood beams supporting your foundation. If you have termites, you should see them fairly quickly if you focus on wooden structures, such as window frames, hollow concrete blocks, and wooden home items stored in the basement.

If you confirm foundation damage or termites in your home, you need to make two calls. First, call a professional foundation expert and have it inspected and repaired, if necessary. Then, call a pest control agent, such as those at Tri-County Termite & Pest Control, and have them eliminate termites from your home.