How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
site-built, mobile/manufactured and modular homes
How do termites get into a brick house?
Monday, June 13, 2022
Most modern “brick house" walls are actually constructed of a wood frame, with plywood sheathing and a moisture barrier applied on the exterior side, then the brick is installed as a veneer/facing over it. The photo above shows an example of one under construction. There is an air gap between the wall construction and the brick veneer to allow any moisture that gets behind the brick to drain harmlessly down the face of the moisture barrier to the ground.
That gap is where brick homes are most vulnerable to termites because, once they find any small opening underground (two subterranean termites will fit on the head of a match with room to spare), the air gap becomes a concealed vertical highway for them to reach the wood in the house without being noticed. You will likely not find out that they have been destroying the walls of your home until significant structural damage has been done.
It’s best for the termite-protection of a house that a builder start the brick facing about 6-inches above the ground This creates an exposed area that the termites must cross with their slender mud tubes visible, as that they search upwards to find the the wood in your home. But most builders extend the brick veneer into ground because it looks more substantial that way—which creates the potential problem of invisible termite access.
We always recommend that homeowners with this type of construction maintain a termite bond from a local pest control company that includes regular inspections for their protection and peace of mind.
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To learn more about termites, see these other blog posts:
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