One of the most pertinent questions when it comes to property maintenance is how various issues can impact the health and, therefore, the value of your home.
Older properties, such as listed buildings with exposed timber and other wooden features, like beams, flooring, joists, and windowsills, are particularly vulnerable to woodworm.
If you suspect an infestation, it’s important to do a full survey to identify and address the issue. Woodworms can damage any wooden element in the home, so it’s best to be proactive about protecting your property.
Woodworms are one of the most frequently seen issues in UK households, so what are the chances of woodworms reducing the price of your property?
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Common Signs of Woodworm
The initial indications of woodworm are small holes on wooden surfaces. These are the main signs of woodworm:
- Tiny exit openings in timber
- Bore dust that looks like sawdust
- Damaged wood, such as weak floorboards
- Dead beetles, suggesting a prior infestation
- Live beetles, pointing to a current infestation
Even though these signs show up, it doesn’t mean there is a current infestation. If there is an active infestation, you will observe ‘frass’ (which looks like sawdust) around the holes.
Woodworm can be harmless, but you may find that your wood is damaged due to an extreme infestation.
Are Some Beetles Worse Than Others?
There are various wood-boring insects, some of which cause more damage than others. Here, we will explore the different types of woodworms that can be found in properties.
The Common Furniture Beetle is the most widespread type of infestation. It is found in hard and softwoods and is responsible for 75% of all cases.
Wood-boring Weevils are often present in damp timber and in areas with wet rot. House Longhorn Beetles are responsible for the majority of damage to wood and can lay up to 200 eggs.
Powderpost Beetles are attracted to woods such as oak, ash, sycamore and walnut. These pests can infest flooring, panelling and even window frames.
How Can You Prevent Woodworm?
Woodworm rarely causes serious damage, but it’s important to prevent or treat it to avoid any potential worsening. To keep woodworms out of your home, there are a few steps you can take:
- Control humidity: Wood with high moisture content attracts wood-boring beetles, so it’s important to keep the areas in and around your home at a low humidity level.
- Treat any damp or rotten timber: Wood-boring beetles often lay eggs in damp or rotten wood, so ensure any wood in your property is dry and well-ventilated. You should also treat any rotten timber.
- Inspect any new furniture you bring into your home. If you’re buying second-hand wood furniture, check for signs of woodworm. If there are any signs, make sure you treat it before bringing it into your home.
Options for selling a property with woodworm infestation
Woodworm is a destructive household pest. It is a small, wood-boring insect that lives and feeds inside timber and can cause serious damage. If left to multiply, it can leave timbers in need of repair.
This tiny insect can ruin the look of your floorboards, roof beams, lintels, decking, and hardwood furniture.
If you are trying to sell your property, woodworm is going to do you no favours. Boreholes and frass left behind can make your home less appealing to prospective buyers. This means that you won’t be able to sell a home with an estate agent.
If you are already on the market or close to selling, what options do you have? Leaving woodworms to spread is not going to help your property’s sale. Can you afford a full-on wood treatment, or would you rather sell the property?
Can Woodworm Be Treated Before a House Sale?
Yes, the first step is to carry out a full woodworm survey followed by a damp survey. Woodworms thrive in damp conditions.
This will identify the extent of infestation and the damage. More often than not, the treatment is to replace all the affected wood and spray chemicals to kill any remaining insects.
Can Woodworm Affect a Property’s Value?
The answer is yes. The discovery of woodworms in a property can be disheartening for sellers. Repair costs can easily run into tens of thousands of pounds.
The property also remains unmortgageable and, therefore, difficult to sell.
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