Demo continues to reveal termite damage. Again, there appear to be no live colonies — knock what’s left of the wood. Carefully.
Ron and Steve are not surprised by the damage. We expected this in a 1960s vintage house. The damage, it appears, so far, is localized to the rear windows and doors at the back of the family room, to the header over the passage between the foyer and living room, and to bath 2.
Let’s take a tour of the trail of mud tubes.
The jack studs to the right of the back door are compromised.
Brown mud tubes traverse the header over the back door.
There’s not much structural support remaining in the jack studs between the back door and back windows — to the point that the door and door frame, and the window frames, appear to be carrying some of the load of the second floor. As evidence, look at the V-shaped deflection gap between the headers over the windows at left and door at right. This may also explain why the back door does not close properly — the weight of the second floor is crushing the door frame. Steve aked Ron to put up temporary supports in advance of inspection by the structural engineer.
Mud tubes traverse the header over the back windows.
Mud tubes continue across the header to the king stud. Steven suspects this is not even framed properly. The photo appears to show no jack stud holding up the header; he’s going to have to take a second look.
The base of the studs is eaten away at the left side of the back windows.
Bath 2. Steven hopes this is the worst of it. The stud to the right of the galvanized pipe is eaten through. Mud tubes wrap all around the headers in the ceiling. And the stud at the doorway, on the right side of photo, basically does not exist.
Mud tubes traverse the header at the passage between the foyer and living room.
How do termites get in? Ron gave Steve a lesson. Here are holes in the foundation under one of the HVAC closets. Those holes are open to dirt under the concrete slab. Bugs just crawl up wire-and-pipe highway and don’t have to knock. This is the way they built in the 1960s. Building science has come a long way since. Today, builders would wrap the cables and copper lines inside PVC sleeves sealed with stainless steel mesh fine enough to block bugs and critters — among several approaches.