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Question DetailsAsked on 9/7/2011

Either termite damage in structure or settling of house has affected closure of doors. Who should one call for investigation and repai

Either termite damage in structure or settling of house has affected door closure & opening. Who should home owner call for investigation of problem & repairs? Floating concrete foundation has been inspected and isn't cracked or sinking. Problem seems to be in walls or overhead where termite treatment was made some 5-6 years ago and Terminex says, "they haven't seen live activity for past 5 years" but our plumber saw evidence recently when pulling leaky toilet. HELP? Need advise here. Thank you from Oklahoma small town resident.

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3 Answers


I don't think it is advisable to start by pointing out termites or structural problems right at the start. The real problem is sticking doors.

There are a lot more reasons a door begins to stick; humidity in the building (a HVAC unit starting to go bad or short cycling could be allowing more moisture in the air causing wood to swell, opening the windows and not using the AC will affect the materials, etc). Loose hardware could also cause the sticking; tighting the hidges or the catch in the frame may solve the issues. Where the doors are sticking will also indicate potential problems; buckling laminate flooring will push thresholds up or down, moisture in the walls or near the door frame could cause swelling. Doors that were poorly hung to begin with (not plumb) could start to catch as the walls settle, etc.

That being said, a structural problem usually is first found in concentrated areas. If all the doors in the corner or on the same wall of a house begin to stick, this might indicate structural concerns. There are usually a lot of other indicators as well; floor changes, cracks, different measured heights in the room's corners, etc.

The termites are also something that is iffy. One door sticking, and termite damage found in the frame would make sense. Termites don't tend to 'move', they tend to stay in one or two areas where the food/supplies are. So unless you have a lot of termites, having several sticking doors because of termites would only be likely if they had caused structural damage as I mentioned above.

With termites (and other wood eating insects), if you have wood, moisture and access (typically from the ground) you are likely to have them. Because the Terminex inspector didn't find termites on his visit doesn't mean he 'failed'; neither you nor he probably knew there was a leaky toilet where wet wood would invite termites and wood eating insects. What the inspector didn't see is active tunnels, active damage in wood, etc. The toilet and bathroom floor would have hidden any activity until the toilet came up. If the doors are sticking below or in this room, then your idea that termite damage caused the sticking might be valid.

So how do you figure out what is causing them to stick? A licensed Architect who specializes in existing buildings and facilities management is the best bet. They will be able to check the air's humidity, inspect the construction of the doors and hardware, check crawl spaces and structural members and check for structural integrity of your building. Most will work for an hourly rate (between $60 and $100 an hour) and after ruling out or determining your cause, will be able to put you in contact with a builder, HVAC tech or other expert to make the corrections you need. You can find a local architect a


Answered 9 years ago by Kenny Johnson


This is a good one, if you have seen termites call a termite contractor and get ride of them. If the house has settling problems, well this is were you need to do your home work. I have soon alot of house leveling and this can get tricky. You could talk to alot of ppl that think they know what they are doing and don't. We fix alot of there work. Talk to as many ppl as you can stand and get references from them and call these ppl and find out about there work before hiring some one to do this kind of work. Are your floors level or do you have dips in the floors or do you have cracks around doors and windows? These are good sings that you have a settling foundation andif you are in a home that is let's say 25 years old or so you may not see cracks in the walls because it happened over a long period of time. But the sagging floors will let you know. When the floor sags in a spot beside a door it will mke the door next to the area hang at the top of the door or the door striker will not latch properly. If you are on a concrete slab and this is happening you will have to call a mud jacking company or if it is on an outside wall well there are a couple of choices there. Look me up on the web , give me a call and I can tell you more.


Answered 9 years ago by gary clemons


I agree withthe prior posts about getting a certified inspector to determine the cause ofthe problem rather than try to guess it is termites.

With regardto your concern about termites, I would have the plumber show the termite companieswhere the evidence of termites was found. Keeping in mind you can have evidence with no live activity. You mightsuggest to Terminex that the do a preventive treatment in that area just to besure and protect themselves. If I am not mistaken Terminex has a damagewarranty so a little treatment might save them some money.

Doug Longfellow

President, NaturZone Pest Control


Answered 8 years ago by NaturZone

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