Haus Schwatz: Cati's DC Real Estate


Mighty Termites, Floating Windows

Termites are a pretty common threat to houses in our area.  They must like the swampy climate.  The DC housing stock is on average pretty old, and it seems to me that at least every other house I have sold showed some traces of a prior encounter with termites. That's why most lenders require a pest inspection before final loan approval. 

The good news is that most termite problems are pretty easy to treat.  Long-lasting chemical drills, or more eco-friendly Sentricon monitoring stations, or structural repairs of beams or sill plates or whatever else was eaten all keep the pest away or keep the home's integrity.

The bad news is, it takes a little awareness, and some home owners either don't care or don't notice.  Especially when a house hasn't been on the market in a long time, things can really get bad.

Last year, I sold a grand, almost 100-year-old Spanish-style stucco house that needed complete renovation.  Also, there was extensive, visible termite damage in the basement and floors -- all old, nothing fresh and it probably had been treated a long time ago, after decades of neglect.  Not a problem, since the house was getting rehabed, anyhow.  Or so it seemed.

Exactly how bad it was only became clear a couple of weeks ago when the contractors exposed the dining room walls. They were shocked to see that the vertical framing and support under and around the window were almost completely gone.  The large window, that had been replaced in the 1950s or 60s, was merely held in place by the exterior stucco!  Today, I went to the house to marvel at this (check out the corner post to the right that's missing it's lower part):

It pretty much looked like that all over the first floor.  If a cheap builder had snatched up the place--which is in a prime NW DC location--and flipped it after some sparkly cosmetic updates, it probably would have simply collapsed at some point.  Not very funny, right?

© 2012, Catarina Bannier


Comment balloon 4 commentsCatarina Bannier • April 01 2008 10:55PM


Not funny @ all... Those little pesky insects can cause tons of trouble... why were they created in the 1st place?


Posted by James Hamby, GRI Walton ~ Monroe GA (Southern Classic Realtors®) about 11 years ago
James -- I wish I knew...
Posted by Catarina Bannier, DC Real Estate The Smart And Fun Way (Compass) about 11 years ago
Caterina, that photo is totally amazing!  I've seen some bad bug stuff, but this is the worst.
Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) about 11 years ago


Nice photo! And Ouch to the home owner. Hopefully they knew what they were getting into!

Posted by Harold "Hal" Place (A1 Connection Realty, Inc.) about 11 years ago