How to Repair Termite Damage in Drywall (Plus Home Remedies for Termites)

 

Have you recently noticed that termites are trying to take control of your house? In case it has already become a victim of termites, you may want to learn how to repair termite damage in drywall.

However, in the first place, it is important to protect your property against termites and prevent them from getting in. Therefore, we offer useful tips on termite prevention and protection as well as the removal of termites from your home.

The fact is that termites could pose a major threat to any homeowner. These insects are responsible for over $5 billion worth of property damage in the US alone. They eat wood or anything that is plant-based that contains cellulose. They are small, but they amass in large numbers to form a colony that has a ravenous appetite and together end up destroying anything in their path.

 

What Is Drywall?

Drywall materials include plywood and wood pulp, asbestos-cement board, and gypsum. Drywall is also available with high acoustic (sound-suppressing) and thermal (insulating) properties. Drywall can be infused with other substances to improve the performance of the drywall for a specific task. An example can be water-proof drywall for areas with a lot of rainfall.

One of the most common drywall types is the gypsum panel. Gypsum, a natural mineral found most commonly in its crystalline form, is a hydrous sulfate of calcium. The gypsum board contains a gypsum rock sandwiched between two layers of special paper.

 

Termite Damage in Drywall

Termites feed on cellulose, a naturally occurring substance that gives plants their firm structure. Termites contain bacteria with special enzymes that help them convert the cellulose into the nutrients they need to survive.

Cellulose is present in a multitude of things around us every day. Some examples are paper, plant-based foods, and other plant-based items. Cellulose can be used for a variety of things, even added to adhesives and explosives.

When it comes to termites, they attack and eat anything with a significant enough portion of cellulose. That means that they will even eat drywall. And this is because drywall is made of plaster panels covered in paper, which contains cellulose. It is this paper that makes drywall a tasty meal target for termites.

 

How to Identify Termite Damage in Drywall

At first, you might be asking yourself how to tell if you have termites in your walls. The way to identify damage that may have been caused by termites varies by species.

Drywood termites – These termites create small exit holes, which look like tiny pinholes on walls. They use these holes to dispose of their droppings, which are also known as frass. This fecal matter is hexagonal shaped and looks like small wood pellets similar to the size of coffee grounds.

Subterranean termites – Some indications of subterranean termites include underground tunnels that serve as arteries between the termite colony and a food source.

The most widespread indication of termites in drywall (or Sheetrock) would be the dirt tubes that sometimes come out of the drywall, especially from the drywall in the ceiling.

On walls, the most common sign is the small “pinholes” about 1/16th to 1/8th inch in diameter and capped with a spot of dirt. These holes were most likely created when the termites were exploring and accidentally came out of that drywall. Thus causing you to see the evidence of termites in your house.

 

Drywall vs Sheetrock (What is the Difference?)

Sheetrock is a brand of drywall. Although because of its popularity, the term is used in conjunction with drywall.

There is practically no difference between Sheetrock and other drywalls, except for a couple of chemicals that allow the Sheetrock formula to be patented. Because Sheetrock has been patented, only the U.S. Gypsum Company may market their drywall with the brand name Sheetrock.

 

Can Termites Damage Drywall?

Beyond any doubt, termites attack anything with a decent amount of cellulose, and that includes drywall. They will go after the wood and paper in your drywall.

What’s important, termites do not cause only cosmetic damage to your home. They will go deep into the structural foundations of your house. They will attack the support beams, posts, floor and ceiling joists, and even will have a go at wall studs.

If this is not treated before it gets out of hand, the termites may compromise the structural integrity of your house. If a termite colony enters the structures that support a house, this may make the house unlivable until the damage is repaired.

 

 

How to Protect Your Home from Termites?

Unfortunately, most insurance companies do not cover termite damage because they consider termites preventable. So it is imperative that you nip the problem in the proverbial bud.

You can expect to pay a significant amount of money to repair these damages. The cost of termite treatment and damage repairs averages at over $8,000.

Defending your home from termites is one of the most efficient and proven ways to avoid costs for termite removal and repair.

Here are some suggestions:

 

↣ Eliminate wood in contact with the ground

By doing that, you effectively remove the easy and hidden pathways that the termites could have used to get inside your home. Earth to wood contact allows termites easy access to food, moisture and shelter, and direct, hidden entry into your home.

The recommended measures that are required to make this method effective are making sure that wood siding, doors, or window frames, are at least 6 inches above the ground level.

Eliminating the contact of wood and soil may require regrading or extracting soil and mulch back from the foundation, cutting the bottom off of wood latticework, or supporting steps or posts on a concrete base. Posts or stairs embedded in concrete are also vulnerable to termite attacks considering that they usually extend through the concrete to the soil.

 

Do not let accumulate moisture near the foundations

Termites are attracted to moisture and have a higher chance to infest if the soil beside the foundation is consistently damp.

Water needs to be diverted away using any properly functioning gutters, splash blocks, and downspouts. Any leaking faucets, pipes, and air conditioning units should be replaced or repaired as soon as possible.

The ground next to the foundation should be slanted so that surface water drains away from the building. Homes with inadequate drainage systems may require to have drains or tiles installed. Lawn sprinklers and irrigation systems should be managed to reduce the water that’s been puddling near the foundation.

 

Reduce humidity in crawlspaces

The majority of building codes require one square foot of vent opening per 150 square feet of crawlspace area. For crawlspaces that have a vapor barrier, the total vent area often can be reduced to one square foot per 300 to 500 square feet of crawlspace area.

It is recommended that one vent should always be within three feet of each exterior corner of the building. Vents should be kept free of leaves, dirt, and debris, and should not be clogged up by vegetation.

 

↣ Store wood away from foundations or crawlspaces

Remember to never put firewood or wood debris inside crawlspaces or against foundations. Firewood, cardboard, paper, and other wood debris are favorite food sources for termites. These materials make termites attracted to your house.

When stacked against your house, this allows termites to go round the soil treated with a termiticide because it gives them ample reason to try and come to the area with all these resources. Additionally, dense plantings touching the house such as vines or ivy should be avoided too.

 

Train your dog to detect termites

A trained dog can help sniff out the termites in your house. If just a professional exterminator checks your property, he is able to confirm that you are only about one-third free of termites. But a properly trained dog can sniff out 100 percent of your house. This is because the dog can sniff out methane gas that termites produce while eating wood.

 

Get your home professionally protected

One of the best ways to protect your house is to get a professional pest control company to do it. Buildings have many natural openings through which termites can enter, most of which are hidden.

 

 

Even though the measures listed above will help make the house structure less attractive to termites, the best way to prevent termite infestation is to protect it with a good termiticide.

There are two types of termiticides that exist; some that repel insects and some that kill them. No matter which you use, it needs a thorough application around the foundation of the house. It takes a huge quantity of termiticide to eliminate a termite problem. Some buildings might even require over 100 gallons.

You can use combinations of these methods to make your property as unappealing as possible to termites. But make sure that these methods are legal in the area you are living in.

 

Home Remedies for Eliminating Termites

If unfortunately, you are already experiencing a termite problem, there are some solutions that might help.

The most effective ways to get rid of termites in your house are:

 

↣ Getting commercial supplies for eliminating termites

Those have been tested and have been proven effective against termite infestations. You have to apply the solution yourself but if you do not read the instructions adequately, you could injure yourself or cause damage to the house.

 

↣ Hiring termite experts

Hire pest control professionals for larger infestations, or if you are not comfortable with doing the work yourself. An experienced and qualified exterminator will definitely solve your termite problem quickly and cleanly.

 

Using DIY tactics and homemade solutions to get rid of termites

These methods can often be ineffective and sometimes even dangerous. But still, there are some benefits. You can usually create simple solutions that can help get rid of termites with basic household items.

So, if your property is suffering from termite damage, you may try some of the natural, DIY termite removal techniques that we have listed below:

 

Cardboard traps

Note that this method will not solve termites completely, but this will reduce the numbers and the growth rate of termites.

Grab some cardboard boxes and place them where termites thrive. These pests will be naturally attracted to the cellulose in the cardboard. Next, you’ll want to spray the pile of cardboard with an insecticide known for killing termites.

A few days later, you may want to burn the boxes. If you decide to do so, you’ll need to do it in a safe environment, and if you have a fireplace, that is recommended.

 

Nematodes worms

Nematodes are small worms that are known to eat a variety of pests in your garden, and they are natural predators to termites.

People will place nematodes in their gardens to kill invasive species such as termites rather than using insecticides or sprays. There are a variety of nematodes available and you can find these worms at your local garden store.

For best results, plant them immediately if the soil is above 60 degrees Fahrenheit. You may also store them in the fridge. The reason for this step is because these worms are harmed by sunlight, so you’ll want to keep them in a safe spot until the right time, and then plant them in the ground.

These worms are most effective when against subterranean termites. For maximum effect, plant the worms as close to the termite colony as possible.

 

Boric acid

Boric acid is a very potent method for getting rid of termites. Prepare a mixture by adding a few scoops of the acid into a spray bottle with water. Shake the mixture up and spray any areas where termites are with boric acid.

You can even buy a piece of wood to use as bait and spray it with the mixture. Sprinkling boric acid in areas that termites frequent is a good method, too. When you sprinkle boric acid, it kills the termites after they try to eat that piece of wood.

 

Orange oil

A less known oil but well-known amongst professionals as a termite eradicator. The oil available for purchase online, and the main ingredient in the oil is d-limonene.

The name “d-limonene” derived from the word lemon, and this is the compound that gives the rind of a citrus fruit its unique smell.

Apply orange oil to a place you know termites frequent. For the application, you should put your gloves on, and you might use an oil rag or cotton balls. You don’t need to worry about applying too much to most surfaces and furniture. The scent will be strong, but it will kill the termites upon contact with the substance.

Many cleaning companies also include orange oil in their products because of its ability to clean and its fresh, citrusy aroma.

 

Diatomaceous Earth

An environmentally friendly pest killer. Many people place Diatomaceous Earth in their garden, around the yard, and in their homes.

Because of its versatile properties, it still is effective anywhere you place it. The small shape of this substance ensures that it’s not harmful to animals or humans. But for small pests such as termites, when they ingest it or come in contact with it, the Diatomaceous Earth will puncture the exoskeleton, and that kills the pests.

 

How to Repair Termite Damage in Drywall

Finally, after taking all the prevention and protection measures, it is now time to learn how to repair termite damage in drywall.

Here are simple, DIY step-by-step instructions on how to do it:

  1. First, get termites exterminated, to make any repairs useful.
  2. Move pieces of furniture away from the area of termite damage. Then place a tarp on the floor and any nearby furniture.
  3. Remove any loose paper or chips of drywall from the wall. If you have any half to 2-inch holes that were found by the extraction team, tear a piece of newspaper and crumple it up to cover the end of that hole.
  4. Use a putty knife and some plaster, mortar, or stucco(whatever damages your wall the least) and fill up the termite holes and the damaged area.
  5. Then, apply another layer with the knife held at a 30-degree angle to the wall.
  6. Next, let the layer dry, which will usually take about 8 hours to dry.
  7. Sand any ridges down so that there is no noticeable difference between the plaster and your regular wall. 200 grit should be the most effective for this job.
  8. Paint over the plaster and onto the part that you did not plaster for uniformity. You may require the application of a second layer to get proper uniform among your walls.

Also, instead of using newspaper pieces to fill up the termite holes in drywall, self-adhesive drywall patches can be a great option. These patches are produced in many forms, starting from mesh drywall tape and finishing with those made of a polymer material.

Press the patch carefully into a place covering the drywall hole using an iron. Be careful though that you don’t scorch the patch or the wall surface. Then, paint right over the patch and you won’t be able to notice a difference.

 

Final Thoughts,

Don’t underestimate the power termites have to thoroughly invade your home! When you address your termite problem, make sure to hit every inch of the home.

As we have shown you, you can rid your property of termites using a variety of methods. Use the tips to regain control of your house. Most importantly, make sure that you create a plan to defend your home against termites.