Woodworm: the very word strikes fear into the hearts of many property owners. Woodworm can cause masses of damage to the structural elements of your property, rendering floor and roof joists unsafe. A serious attack can also be expensive to treat as severely affected timbers may need to be removed and replaced.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet. Many property owners who discover woodworm holes are in fact witnessing an old infestation, where the beetle grubs themselves have long since pupated and flown away. Equally, just because you have found woodworm holes in your home doesn’t necessarily mean that it’ll be necessary to replace timbers.
Read on to discover the specific steps that should be taken if you are unfortunate enough to find woodworm holes in some of the timber in your property.
If you’re concerned about problems with woodworm there are a number of ways they can be treated. Firstly, of course, prevention is better than cure.
The single most important factor that encourages woodworm to attack your property is damp wood. That is to say that properties with dry timber very rarely suffer any woodworm damage, while those properties we find under attack almost always boast very damp timber.
As a result, possibly the most effective way to prevent woodworm from attacking your timber is to ensure that the inside of your house is as dry as possible. That means fixing any leaks, increasing air flow and, if necessary, turning up the heating to allow moisture to escape. In this way even an existing attack of woodworm can sometimes be slowed down or even stopped altogether.
Equally, if you have seen evidence of live woodworm beetles or grubs then your timber is already too moist and the sooner you can dry your home out the better. Open windows to improve air flow and turn on your heating to encourage any moisture in your home to evaporate away.
There are three different aspects to effective woodworm treatment. The first of these is to apply a pet-safe pesticide to actually kill off the grubs or adult beetles inside your household timbers. Typically this is painted or sprayed on by a professional and will rapidly kill off any live insects feeding on your timber.
While a woodworm treatment specialist will be required due to the both the potency of the chemicals involved and the importance of applying them properly, the costs are generally not unreasonable. In this way, resolving a minor woodworm infestation should not be too much to worry about.
The second part of treating a woodworm infestation is to consider the remaining timber. A surveyor will be able to tell you if your timber is still safe, or whether it has been weakened enough as to be rendered unsafe. In these circumstances it may be necessary to replace heavily-affected timbers and it is here that costs can increase quite rapidly. This underlines the importance of treating woodworm as soon as an infestation is discovered, rather than waiting.
The final aspect of woodworm treatment relates to the remaining timber. Some people are perfectly happy to leave the holes if they have been tested for safety. Some people feel they bring a bit of rustic charm to the home.
On the other hand, many people would rather get rid of them altogether. This is an added concern if you plan to sell your property in the future. Some buyers will see woodworm holes as a “red flag” that will cause them concern. If you dislike the look of woodworm holes yourself or want to get the highest sale value possible for your home in the future it is worth trying to mask these unfortunate woodworm holes.
The process is reasonably painless and involves either a commercial wood filler or a combination of beeswax and turpentine. Generally the former option smells much better and gives a better end result. That said, once again this is something that will require professional help, and so will add onto the cost of woodworm treatment.