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  1. #1

    Question Debris near outside door frame: What caused this?

    I am preparing to buy a house in Fort Collins, CO. During a home inspection, I noticed this debris at the bottom of the frame for the back door of the garage. When I probed the wood underneath with a car key, it felt pretty solid, but later my home inspector (not a pest inspector) probed with a pocket knife and was able to dig out a little bit of the wood but not a lot.

    Previously I had looked for mud tunnels on the foundation outside and on the accessible areas of the garage and basement walls. I found none.

    The other side of the door frame, while equally in need of paint, did not have a small pile of debris like this.

    What do you think caused this? Termites? Carpenter ants?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Debris near outside door frame: What caused this?

    Can't tell from the pic. I resized it so somebody else can chip in. Ant debris will often have pieces of ant skeletons in it, that would be from a nest. Termites leave pellets behind that have distinctive shapes, Google them.

    You should have the property treated for termites as a prevention, and the pest guy can check that spot for you.

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    Default Re: Debris near outside door frame: What caused this?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Hucker View Post
    ... later my home inspector (not a pest inspector) ...
    What did your pest inspector say it was?

    Or didn't you have a pest inspection ...

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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Debris near outside door frame: What caused this?

    That is an ambiguous question.
    It could be anything,even as simple as someone sweeping crap out of the door.
    Anyone who would give an answer would only be speculating.. Agree?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Hucker View Post
    I am preparing to buy a house in Fort Collins, CO. During a home inspection, I noticed this debris at the bottom of the frame for the back door of the garage. When I probed the wood underneath with a car key, it felt pretty solid, but later my home inspector (not a pest inspector) probed with a pocket knife and was able to dig out a little bit of the wood but not a lot.

    Previously I had looked for mud tunnels on the foundation outside and on the accessible areas of the garage and basement walls. I found none.

    The other side of the door frame, while equally in need of paint, did not have a small pile of debris like this.

    What do you think caused this? Termites? Carpenter ants?



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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Debris near outside door frame: What caused this?

    It's difficult to evaluate from the photo. Here in Colorado no pest inspection is required prior to transfer of title. The most common cause of wood damage here is rot due to repeated exposure to moisture. Nevertheless, while wood destroying insects (termites, carpenter ants, powder post beetles, and, recently, carpenter bees) are rare, they can be present. It's useful to learn what typically constitutes evidence of various types of wood destroying insects. If there is any evidence consistent with wood destroying insects, follow-up by a qualified pest control company is advisable.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Debris near outside door frame: What caused this?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin O'Hornett View Post
    It's difficult to evaluate from the photo. Here in Colorado no pest inspection is required prior to transfer of title. The most common cause of wood damage here is rot due to repeated exposure to moisture. Nevertheless, while wood destroying insects (termites, carpenter ants, powder post beetles, and, recently, carpenter bees) are rare, they can be present. It's useful to learn what typically constitutes evidence of various types of wood destroying insects. If there is any evidence consistent with wood destroying insects, follow-up by a qualified pest control company is advisable.
    I imagine they are rare in some regions of Colorado and prolific in others.
    www.termite.com/termites/colorado.html

    They say there are 3 species of termites in Colorado, including drywoods.

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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Debris near outside door frame: What caused this?

    Probably the digging tailings from regular ants who are busily tunneling in the soil under the slab. They often access the earth at locations like this (I have them at my exterior garage door, too) through a crack in the slab. They may like locations like this because its protected and being off the garage less vulnerable to deep freezes, or maybe just random opportunity. They aren't doing any damage but the tailings are messy.

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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Debris near outside door frame: What caused this?

    It is quite common to see water damage at the base of wood door frames especially when they are sitting on concrete. Best practice is to prime the end of wood framing member before installation and to keep a good bead of caulk applied at base to keep water from getting under the wood. But like has been said, without me being there it is hard to say what actually caused the damage in picture.

    Tom Rees / A Closer Look Home Inspection / Salt Lake City, Utah

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