Floors are not where one expects a termite infestation to begin, but it is where the signs of termites often first appear.
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Loose floor tiles are not just an inconvenience that mars the beauty of a floor. They could be a sign of subterranean termite infestation. When termites begin to eat away at wooden flooring, it becomes easy for moisture to get into the wood.This moisture can cause the tiles to warp, or can loosen the adhesive that holds them in place. Both occurrences may cause the tiles to become looser. The warping may not be easily visible but if the weight of a person standing on the tile causes it to shift or wobble, then that is a problem that needs to be investigated.
Generally speaking, soft and pliable tiles such as those made of vinyl are more likely to suffer from weakened adhesive. This is because these tiles come with a coating of adhesive and are put in place after simply removing the backing tape. Older tiles such as those made of parquet or laminate wood are susceptible to moisture absorption and warping. While the termites themselves do not produce moisture, they are attracted to it and once they get into a damp floor, their action of eating the wood exacerbates the problem to the extent that the floor may suffer serious structural damage.
Signs of termite damage to laminate flooring are similar to those of water damage. The flooring will bubble up in some places, and will sag or have a corrugated look in others. If the sub floor or the floor supports have been damaged by termites, the sagging will cover a larger section of the floor and there may also be squeaking when any weight is placed on those parts. Another sign of termite infestation is if a network of hollow tunnels is visible once the damaged laminate has been removed. These are termite tunnels. Unlike termite damage to tiles where only some tiles may have to be replaced after the infestation has been controlled, it is not possible to repair laminate. Once the damage has occurred, the laminate will have to be completely replaced.
Preventing Termite Damage
There are many possible causes of damage to floor tiles and laminates. Termites are among the most difficult to spot and at the same time, can be the most destructive. If the problem is not spotted and correctly diagnosed in time, the application of wrong corrective measures could cause the problem to get progressively worse until such time as serious structural damage is caused. If you are seeing signs of damaged flooring in your home, have an inspection done by a professional termite control company. If termites are the cause, only professionals can get rid of them. Ideally, you should have an expert termite inspection done regularly of the complete home to spot the early signs of termites so that action can be taken before any serious damage occurs.