How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
site-built, mobile/manufactured and modular homes
Can termites eat through siding?
Tuesday, February 4, 2020
Termites can munch their way through wood siding, of course, but other siding materials are not a problem for them either. Two termites will fit easily on the tip of a match and they can fit through an opening as small as 1/32” wide, so termites just find a seam between siding pieces and go in there. Vinyl, aluminum, and cementitious siding all have vulnerable openings for termite entry.
Termites require a moist, enclosed environment to survive and can’t live for long in open air. This means that while a line of subterranean termites can crawl up the wall to get in behind the bottom of the siding or between siding sections, they can’t get too far above the ground without building a mud tube tunnel. The photo below shows several mud tubes that termites built to come up from a crack in a garage floor slab before they found out there was no wood to be had at that location.
It’s important to keep any wood at least six inches off the ground, and that the six inch gap be clearly visible (not covered by mulch or dirt), so that any of those exploratory mud tubes can be detected by your or your termite inspector before they make too much progress up the wall and begin to march up to the attic.
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To learn more about termites, see these other blog posts:
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