Here in Florida, we have predominantly two types of termites: subterranean and drywood. Termites can live on your property or inside your home for an extended period of time before being detected. Whether it’s drywood termites, which burrow deep within wooden structures, or subterranean termites, which are primarily found underground, these sneaky insects can be difficult to discover before significant damage has already been done. To help keep damage to a minimum, it’s crucial to catch the warning signs as soon as possible.
Subterranean termites build shelter or “mud” tubes to serve as bridges between their colony and the wood they consume. They enter homes through cracked or unsealed foundations as well as through tunnels constructed from mud, their feces, and saliva. These tunnels are brown, dry, and cylindrical in appearance. The presence of these tunnels near the foundation of your home is a sure sign of subterranean termite infestation.
Drywood termites are usually found in warm, southern climates. They house their colonies within the wood on which they feed. As the termites consume wood, they burrow mazes of tunnels and chambers within walls and furniture. The pests leave small piles of feces that resemble pellets where they have eaten or nested.
Remember, these signs may only become visible after termites have been present for months or even years. So what does structural damage look like? Sometimes it’s as simple as seeing the piles of termite pellets underneath doors and windowsills. Other times, destruction will be pinholes in wood and even drywall that mysteriously appear. More obvious signs include sagging floors, ceilings or roofs.
Prevention and/or treatment is best done by a licensed termite professional. The best way to protect your home from devastating structural damage is to have your home inspected by a licensed termite professional every year. These experts are trained to spot even the most inconspicuous signs of termite activity, potentially saving you from thousands of dollars in home repair.
IMPORTANT NOTE: It is crucial to completely understand the terms and conditions of any annual termite maintenance program. Some fall far short of effectively dealing with an infestation or repairs. Protect yourself from these kinds of predatory sharks by reading the fine print!!
Finally, when it comes to needing structural repairs to your beloved home due to termite damage, be sure to hire a LICENSED general contractor like Gulf & Bay Constructors, Inc. to handle all aspects of demolition, repair or remodel.
Over the years, I can’t recall how many times I’ve been called to help or fix a situation where the client has hired and, in most cases, paid someone else to do work on their home or building that was left incomplete or done so poorly that it posed a life safety issue or, at the least, failed to meet their expectations.
And in almost every case, the client either didn’t check licensure status or knowingly hired an unlicensed person to do the work. So many times we hear the stories from friends, neighbors, and even relatives talking about the “CONTRACTOR” who did poor work or took their money and never returned.
The keyword here is CONTRACTOR. It’s a pet peeve of mine since those of us who are licensed contractors, know what that actually means. It means never-ending and continuing education. It means experience. It means licensing. It means having expensive insurance policies and overhead. And it also means having a legitimate business that is held accountable.
So often we hear the word “contractor” or “unlicensed contractor” used by the media and others, when, in fact, what they should say an individual is “posing as a contractor,” since they are really not anything at all! Especially NOT a contractor.
Every year there are stories where someone has posed as a doctor or health specialist. They are almost always arrested and no one ever calls them “illegal doctors.” They are always referred to as “posing as a doctor.”
So today’s tip is: If you need a contractor, make sure they are licensed and have up-to-date insurance. Be sure to check their background. This can easily be done online!
You wouldn’t hire a doctor off of Craigslist so why would you do that for your business or home?
Dos and Don’ts for Homeowners
If your shingles are no longer looking new and attractive or if your roof appears dark and discolored in some areas, it's time to break out the ladder and get this spring-cleaning job taken care of. Climbing on your roof frequently to clean off growth CAN damage your roof and shorten its lifespan by loosening the granules on your shingles. So, it’s best to know how to clean your roof properly so that you ensure you don’t have to do it too often.
So what are the best ways to clean your roof? We've got you covered (like a rooftop!)!
Don’t: Clean your roof on a sunny day!! The sun will cause the bleach solution to evaporate too quickly and will limit its cleansing effects.
Do: Clean your roof on a cloudy, calm day when the wind isn’t blowing and there’s no threat of rain or thunderstorms.
Don’t: Clean your roof without taking proper safety precautions!
Do: Clean your roof only after determining that you can safely walk its surface. If you do get up on your roof, wear comfortable shoes with slip-resistant rubber soles. Also, wear eye and skin protection.
Don’t: Ignore your landscape and shrubbery which can be harmed by the bleach solution!
Do: Wet plants and flowers thoroughly with plain water. Then cover them with plastic while you spray the roof with the bleach solution. Finally, rinse them again!
Don’t: Use a pressure washer! This device can loosen shingles and seriously damage your roof.
Do: Use a sprayer attached to garden hose! Prefill a sprayer that’s filled with equal parts laundry strength chlorine bleach and water. This is the best way to clean a roof if you have asphalt shingles. After spraying the roof with the mixture, allow it to sit on the surface for 15 to 20 minutes before rinsing thoroughly with clean water.
Don’t: Assume the solution will immediately remove all growth from your roof and apply the solution again.
Do: Have patience. Sometimes the algae will wash away during subsequent rainstorms and if you're dealing with moss growth, it will eventually loosen to the point where it can be removed with a leaf blower.
Don’t: Wait until your roof is completely stained or discolored to take action.
Do: Trim back overhanging branches in order to expose the roof to sunlight. Use this opportunity to clear away branches and leaves.
Please note these roof-cleaning tips only apply for asphalt shingles. If you have another type of roof, it’s important to check with your manufacturer to find out how to clean your roof. In fact, it’s wise to consult your manufacturer for roof-cleaning tips regardless of what type of shingles you have in order to avoid inadvertent damage. We recommend these steps be taken approximately every 3-5 years, depending on your roof.
And if you're tired of that old roof and interested in a NEW modular home, we can help!