When most of us think of leaking showers, we think of mould growth. However, there can be an even more severe consequence. Leaky showers, especially those that leak within the walls and damage structural supports, are a magnet for termites. Termites in bathrooms are hard to spot within the walls and can eat through damp wood at an alarming speed.

What are termites?
Termites are small insects that are particularly drawn to homes. Within a home, the bathroom is the most likely room to house the bugs since they like digging their mud tunnels into wet wood. If your bathroom doesn’t vent properly or holds in moisture, termites will be drawn to the walls.

Worker termites are the ones that can be found within broken wood and stand out because they’re light coloured. Swarmer termites grow wings and can zip around the house. These specimens are darker in colour, like an ant, and tend to swarm in the spring months.

How do termites get into your house?
Unfortunately, there are quite a few ways the pests can get into your house. The primary entry point is anywhere a wooden structure from your home touches the ground. Think of door frames, steps, and even deck supports. If your house has a brick or concrete subterranean structure, it’s not necessarily safe either. Termites can find cracks in the mortar.

What are the signs of an infestation?
One way to know you’ve got termites is the presence of very small, round holes that look “poked” into the paper coating of the drywall that makes up your walls. However, that’s misleading; the holes don’t come from outside. Instead, they are made from the inside out, by termites tunnelling through the wood.

Another common sign is damage to the corner of your walls. If it looks like the bottom corner of a wall is disintegrating and there are scraps or tiny shavings of wood collecting there, that’s a red flag for termites.

Finally, if you’re painting your walls and it looks like the flat surfaces are full of bubbles, those are holes made in the drywall or panelling by termites. For termites in bathrooms, call a professional right away. Both the termites and the structural soundness of the bathroom walls need to be dealt with immediately.

A personal termite story
This came from a Redditor seeking advice. The homebuyer says, “Termites. help! I just found out the house I am about to close on has a pretty bad termite infestation. This house is a great deal, appraised at much more than we are buying for and we love it. Is this a fixable thing? If so, how much does this cost for a moderate size house?

While many of the commenters flatly said to walk away from the purchase, another responder had a more even-keeled response.

Redditor Kryssa said, “People saying ‘find another house’ obviously don’t live anywhere near me, where your house either has termites or will have them. Kryssa went on to explain that once termites were found in the inspection of her new home, the seller covered the reasonable cost of the changes needed to get rid of them. “Do it before you move in,” she suggested. Even if termites aren’t found, it’s a good idea to thoroughly check your showers and have them repaired before you move into a new place to prevent infestation in the future.

What can you do?
Hire Leaky Showers! One way to prevent termites in bathrooms is to repair shower leaks promptly, and we can help you to do that quickly and affordably, without lifting tiles. If you’re looking for a total shower overhaul to update your bathroom, we can do that as well!