Brick Houses and Termites
You remember the tale of the Three Little Pigs, right? The first pig built a house out of straw and the Big Bad Wolf took it down easily. The second pig built his house out of sticks--wood--and the Big Bad Wolf didn't have any trouble with that one either. Termites would have been just as bad.
The third Little Pig built his house out of bricks and he was safe from the Big Bad Wolf, but what about termites?
It turns out that having a house built of bricks doesn't protect you completely from the ravages of termites.
According to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln: To get into a structure, termites must build a mud tube over the foundation or they must have a crack in the foundation or floor. Termites can squeeze through a 1/32-inch crack."
The underlying structure of even a brick house is made of wood and wood is what termites are looking for. Since their method of ingress is via mud tubes that they make themselves, termites can access the wood inside your brick home quite easily. And in fact they are harder to see entering a brick structure.
It is not safe to assume that because you own a house with a brick facade you are safe from worry about termites. You still need to practice termite prevention to keep your home termite free (from the National Pest Management Association):
- Eliminate or reduce moisture in and around the home (helps with mold, too!)
- Repair leaking faucets, water pipes and exterior AC units (also mold!)
- Repair fascia, soffits and rotted roof shingles
- Replace weather stripping and loose mortar around basement foundation and windows
- Divert water away from the house through properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks (mold again!)
- Routinely inspect the foundation of a home for signs of mud tubes (used by termites to reach a food source), cracked or bubbling paint and wood that sounds hollow when tapped
- Monitor all exterior areas of wood, including windows, doorframes and skirting boards for any noticeable changes
- Maintain an 18-inch gap between soil and any wood portions of your home
- Consider scheduling a professional inspection annually. Wood-boring insect damage is not covered by homeowners' insurance policies
- Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house
Bricks are beautiful, but they don't prevent termites!