Why is it a mistake to store lumber in the crawl space under a house?

Thursday, June 21, 2018

If you have an older house with an elevated wood floor and a crawl space, it might seem sensible to store some leftover lumber from one of your home improvement projects out of the weather and under the house until you start the the next one. Don’t do it.  

    Termites are everywhere in the soil in Florida, and constantly scouting for wood to consume. The wood framing in your house is out of reach from termites because of  a concrete block stem wall. Most stem walls are also topped with a metal termite shield strip as a final barrier that they find difficult to navigate around. See our blog post What is a termite shield? to learn  more about them. But boards laying on the ground provide enough cellulose food for them to start a new colony under the house and begin the process of searching for a breach in the termite protection under your home.

    Also, when you sell your home, a termite inspector doing a WDO report is required to call out any infested or termite damaged wood laying on the ground under the home as wood destroying organism evidence and you will not get a “clean” WDO, even if they have not actually attacked the wood structure of your home. This example of termite infested wood on the ground under a home is from the same house shown at the top of the page, in Cedar Key, Florida.

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To learn more about termites, see these other blog posts:

Should I be worried about termites if my neighbor's house is being tented?

Is the WDO (termite) inspector allowed to poke holes in my wood siding and trim? 

Do carpenter ants cause structural damage to houses in Florida?

How long before closing can you have a WDO (termite) inspection done?

How long does Bora-Care® last? 

Does the presence of carpenter ants in a house indicate that there are probably also termites? 

How do termites infest a house and remain hidden while doing major damage?

Are homes in Florida required to have termite protection? 

If termite damage appears to be old, does that mean that termites may no longer be present?

How do I know if my WDO/termite report is "clear"? 

When do termites swarm in Florida?

Does a recent termite company inspection sticker mean there are no termites? 

Can a mobile/manufactured home get termites?

Do I have to tent the house if I have termites? 

What is the difference between a subterranean termite and a drywood termite?

What are the green plastic discs in the ground around the house? 

How do termites get into a concrete block house? 

Do termites eat concrete?

What is a clean WDO?  

What do termites eat?

How do I treat wood rot  that's listed in my termite-WDO report? 

Do I really need a termite-WDO inspection? 

What's causing those holes in the fascia?

Does wood chip mulch in the yard attract termites?

I think I have termites. What does a termite look like?

I'm buying a concrete block house. Do I still need a termite inspection? 

• I saw a little termite damage on the baseboard. Should I be concerned?

   Visit our TERMITES, WOOD ROT AND PESTS page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.

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