While working at a project last week off Hanley Rd., we ran into an issue which is more common than many people realize. Termite damage was lurking just under the surface when we removed an exterior door. The homeowners did have a suspicion that they may have been there at one time, as they had already repaired another doorway as well. Fortunately for them, the damage was not as extensive as other times we have recently ran into this problem. For instance, in 2009 we uncovered damage from the basement to the attic in a Chesterfield home, and again in 2010 we had to actually jack up a 2 story Chesterfield home to replace the wood along the rear foundation.
The major issue that all these home share is that there were built-in construction flaws. Specifically, there were places that the earth actually was exposed to the wood structure of the home. This is the equivalent of inviting subterranean termites to a 24 hour all you can eat buffet. Especially because the wood that was vulnerable was not the treated variety. While we can repair the damage, and improve the problem areas, the best way to prevent these problems is to build it right the first time.
As the photos here show, the concrete steps extend up above the wood structure of the home. This was the entry point for the termites, and the damage could be seen from the basement upon careful inspection. If your own home shares a similar design as this, I would highly recommend to obtain regular termite inspections and possibly preventative treatments. In the long run, the investment can be far less than what it would take to remedy hidden damage.