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Cole_ 05-10-2014 03:34 PM

Termite damage, replace wood?
I've got some termite damage on the rim joists at the front of our house. I believe the termites are dead/gone since we hired a professional exterminator last year who sprayed extensively.

This week I noticed some weakness in the wood trim under the front door. So today I pried it off and removed some of the damaged wood. I didn't find any evidence of active termites, so my question here is - should I be replacing this damaged wood? I'm reluctant to go tackle this myself since we have older aluminum siding and I hear that it doesn't go back on easily once you take it off. If there isn't any further termite damage, should I bother?

Picture of the damage - copy/paste into a new tab:

Thanks in advance!

joecaption 05-10-2014 07:21 PM

Links not working for me.
Most likely there's also damage to the rim joist, floor joist, sheathing, foundation plate or more.
The termites had to eat through them to get to the trim.
With aluminum siding your going to have to work from the top down to the damaged area. The top pieces are going to get damaged trying to get them off.
Once there off the rest can be removed with no damage.
Best to find some place local to find new siding.
Box stores are going to be useless, need a real siding supplier.

Cole_ 05-11-2014 11:58 AM

Well, I'm not quite at 5 posts to be able to put up links... but this is the correct link once you remove the space character after "http"
http ://

Robpo 05-11-2014 12:08 PM

Cole_ 05-11-2014 12:24 PM

Thanks Robpo

MTN REMODEL LLC 05-11-2014 12:41 PM

Cole... Can you tell us where you are from....

I'm interested, but unknowledgeable, in your problem. I don't have the problem in Colorado, but my two kids in Cali potentially do.

I'm interested in watching the thread and think that different kinds of termites present different problems.


Cole_ 05-11-2014 12:47 PM

I live in Maryland just outside Baltimore. I'm pretty sure these were subterranean termites, based on the mud tunnels they had on the joist. I've read that wood + moisture is generally where termites are drawn to.

MTN REMODEL LLC 05-11-2014 12:51 PM

So.... with subteranean termites, how do you, or your termite inspector, know whether they are gone.

(Actually in Cali, I think my kids are just suseptable to flying termites)

Cole_ 05-11-2014 12:56 PM

I read that I should scrape some of the visible tunnels away and watch to see if they are rebuilt, which I did and they were not rebuilt.

Robpo 05-11-2014 12:57 PM

From what I know about termites, you won't see them. They don't like light and they live underground. They make dirt tunnels on walls if they can't find a way to get to your wood from the ground. You won't be able to tell if wood has termites from looking at it. If you jab wood with ice pic or tap on it, it will sound hollow or break.

Cole_ 05-11-2014 07:54 PM

I jabbed at the remaining wood with a screwdriver today and it seems solid. I'm going to save replacement of the damaged portions of wood until we get new siding on the house, which won't be too far off given it's age/appearance. I don't have the time in the near future to tackle this but I'm putting it on my list of house stuff that needs addressing. Funny how it never seems to shrink... Knock one item off, add two more...

Today I replaced the trim with some pressure treated wood I painted to match, then caulked all around it. The right side had the majority of the termite damage and the wood was still damp, so water is getting in there somehow. The termite damage was also primarily on the right side so I started looking around. I noticed the caulk around the door frame was old and cracked so I stripped that out entirely and redid it as well. As I was getting near the top I noticed a hole in the siding next to my porch light. I couldn't see much because of the shutter to a nearby window so I removed that and found this wonderful bit of handiwork:

The junction box for the porch light was not sealed in any way, and it's about half uncovered by the wood trim behind the light. I'm thinking this is the cause of the moisture below the door. I covered it with a piece of pressure treated wood, cut to fit, and caulked all around it. Hopefully that'll be the end of my moisture problem. Thanks for the guidance and for letting me think out loud :)

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