Look behind any siding that’s been damaged by termites and you might also notice signs of water damage; this makes you wonder, can termites make siding sweat or are they simply attracted to the water? According to Take Care Termite, termites are responsible for billions of dollars in damage to man-made structures annually.
Although it doesn’t seem like it, termites can actually make siding sweat and cause moisture damage to siding. The amount of damage, however, strongly depends on the material used for the siding.
So why exactly do termites cause sweating in your siding? How do termites cause damage to your siding? And what measures can you take to repair damaged siding and prevent termites from getting to it again?
Learn more about sweating siding, termite damage, why it happens, and how you can fix it here in this article.
What Is Siding Sweating?
The gist of siding sweating revolves around moisture; to be more specific, sweating on siding occurs when excess moisture builds up on the surface of the siding and condenses into beads of water. This moisture can come from a variety of sources, ranging from excess humidity from inside the house, leaking pipes, or as we will be tackling in this guide, from termite damage.
Because it is caused by moisture, condensation and sweating can and does happen on all types of siding, and there are some types of siding (like ones that are made out of metal or wood) that can be more prone to sweating in some cases.
Now, skeptics among you are probably thinking at this point, “does this actually matter?”
Well, yes. Leaving siding sweating problems unchecked can and will damage the siding, the extent of which also varies depending on the material used for the siding. Wood siding in particular is very prone to damage from excessive moisture, causing warping and making the wood more vulnerable to further damage like termites.
Other siding materials, meanwhile, will encounter problems with damage to the paint on your siding, mold and mildew growth, oxidation (in metal-based siding), and unsightly stains that can be quite difficult to remove.
Thankfully, siding sweating is not only fixable, but preventable if you employ the right measures. We will go through these options a bit further down.
Do Termites Cause Siding Sweat?
So where do termites come into the picture? As we touched on earlier, termites can and do cause siding sweat.
Termite colonies pull this off in two ways. First, termite nests hold a lot of moisture, which can seep out and be absorbed by wood siding. Second, certain species of termites can actually moisten the wood that they are on to make it easier to chew through.
Now, we do want to make it clear that most of the damage that termites can do is only really possible on wood siding. In the case of most synthetic siding materials like metal, vinyl, plastic, and fiber cement siding, termites can’t eat through these materials and therefore don’t do that much damage outside of the moisture damage from their nests.
As for siding made of wood and wood alternatives like LP Smart Siding, termites can cause serious damage to these materials as they naturally eat and dig through wood as they forage for food.
Since sweating can be caused by termites as well as normal environmental factors, how does one actually determine that they have termites in their siding instead of something like a leaky pipe? A few of the signs of termites in cedar siding and other wood-based siding materials include:
- Hollow siding. Most species of termites tend to eat through the inside of wood rather than the surface, making it difficult to tell if you actually have termites. An easy way to check for this is to simply knock on your siding—if it sounds hollow, then termites may have already made their burrows and tunnels in there.
- Holes and carvings. Naturally, the most obvious signs of termite damage are visible holes and carvings tearing through the wooden siding. Depending on the species of termite you have in your region, you might only find these marks visible once extensive damage has already been done to your siding.
- Warping on the siding. Warped parts on your wood siding are a sign that their natural structure has been broken, which can indicate the presence of termites that may have burrowed through the inside of the siding.
- Mud tunnels and tubes. Termites like to construct mud tunnels and tubes from their nests underground to reach higher areas, such as that of wood siding. Seeing these small structures creep up from the ground towards your siding is a good indicator of a termite invasion.
Does Your Siding Attract Termites?
Termites will usually crowd in and around the wood siding that they use for their food and home. However, what most don’t know is that it is possible that their wood siding can actually attract termites in the first place.
Again, the key thing to look out for here is the moisture in your siding. While termites can soften wood to burrow through it if needed, many varieties actually prefer to target soft, rotten, or otherwise already wet siding. We can use this to our advantage.
How To Get Rid Of Termites In Siding
With everything we’ve covered thus far, we now have all the info we need to get rid of termites from your siding and keep them from coming back. To keep things simple, we’ll break down our solutions into categories for removal and prevention.
Removing Termites from Siding
If your siding already has a termite problem, removing them is a matter of removing damaged siding, finding their nests, and killing them off or moving them elsewhere.
Dedicated termite killers (usually sold as sprays) can usually be found at your local gardening or home improvement stores. Borax powder is also a good alternative, and could also kill off ants in siding if they are a problem.
If you find termite nests underground, termite bait is a slow but effective way of killing off termite colonies while keeping them away from your siding.
Preventing Termites from Entering Siding
Use termite-resistant siding materials. Arguably the most effective way to prevent termites from getting into your wood siding is to not use wood siding in the first place. Because termites only really eat through organic materials, switching your siding material to synthetics like vinyl, aluminum, or fiber cement will make termites steer clear.
Fix and prevent leaks. If replacing wood siding is too expensive, another way to keep termites away from your siding is to make it unappealing to them. You may recall earlier that termites are attracted to moisture in wood; knowing this, we can avoid exposing our siding to wetness by fixing and preventing leaks from plumbing and other sources.
Install a vapor barrier. Humidity is another very significant source of moisture for wood siding that most homeowners are not very aware of—part of the reason for this is the fact that said moisture can actually come from inside the house, rather than from outside.
If the home doesn’t already have it yet, you may want to have a vapor barrier installed, which blocks the flow of moisture between the internal walls and the external siding to both regulate humidity inside the house and help keep the siding outside dry.