|Forum topic by pendledad||posted 140 days ago||880 views||0 times favorited||8 replies|
140 days ago
If you’re lucky enough to never have termites them I’m jealous. We bought this house ~2 years ago and it seems that all the houses on our street have been a termite buffet for the past 30 years. With finished ceilings in the basements, nobody ever really looks at joists/beams/sills unless there is a problem.
My problem started with some plumbing that we replaced and I pulled down the ceiling and the plaster around the beam in the basement. And guess what I found … The beam was almost caved in and collapsing on itself. You would never have noticed because the floors weren’t sagging and the beam was so massive that it still seemed straight and level.
It appears to be a 9”x12” solid 26’ piece of fir. Here is what a healthy piece of the beam looks like:
And here is a section where the termites went to town:
They ate through about 4 feet of the beam, which was convieniently exactly 1/2 the distance from the foundation to the first column. Luckily I put up a brace/jack-post when I saw this damage to stop it from collapsing. The healthy pieces of beam are solid and heavy … these termite damanged ones are like paper. I can scoop away the mud-tubes with a finger. I know there is more damage in the house, but nothing I’ve found yet appears to be structural like this beam.
I was hoping to save some of this wood for a new fireplace mantle, but the beam actually snapped in another location and the previous owners patched it with steel. It snapped due to too much twisting and excessive heat from the steam pipes over the last 80+ years. The entire section was riddled with nails and adhesives and was unable to be salvaged.