Oregon State Certified Home Inspector # 337 | Oregon C.C.B. # 110603

Structural Pest & Dry Rot Inspections

A Structural Pest & Dry Rot Inspection reports in greater detail the apparent causes of wood-destroying organism infestations or dry rot situations and the suggested remedies. It is sometimes called a Termite Inspection or Termite Report. There are two general categories of reportable concerns: 1) actual structural damage caused by an infestation of termites, carpenter ants, powder post beetles, and/or dry rot, and 2) conducive conditions such as excessive moisture, inadequate ventilation, direct contact between wood and earth, etc., which, if left uncorrected, may eventually lead to infestation and structural damage.

Although the Whole House Inspection does include an examination of the crawl space area and plumbing system, Oregon certified home inspectors are specifically not required to report on the presence or absence of pests such as wood damaging organisms, rodents, or insects as a part of the home inspection process. Often performed at the same time, although considered to be a separate inspection process by the State of Oregon, the Pest & Dry Rot Inspection is performed in accordance with the accepted Industry Standards as adopted by The American Institute of Inspectors® and is performed on the basis of visible evidence in readily accessible areas of the structure.

The Pest & Dry Rot Inspection Report goes beyond reporting conditions that were found and also makes suggestions for repairs necessary to get to the goal of a clear report. We do not perform the repairs, but we can assist you by providing a list of independent contractors who do perform the type of repairs we have suggested.

During the original Pest & Dry Rot Inspection, the inspector completes the inspection beginning to end; each part of the building that is accessible for inspection and that pertains to the Pest & Dry Rot Inspection process is inspected. During the Pest & Dry Rot Re-Inspection, only those items identified as being in need of repair or further evaluation in the original Pest & Dry Rot Inspection report will be re-inspected.

Because the re-inspection is limited to those items noted on the original report, the greater the length of time that passes from the date of the original inspection until the re-inspection causes increased likelihood that conditions at the building may have changed and the “clear” report will give a false sense of security to those who rely on it. In recognition of this, the American Institute of Inspectors® Industry Standards for Structural Pests and Dry Rot Inspections states “after four months from the date of an original inspection, all inspections shall be original inspections and not re-inspections.”

Re-inspection reports will only be performed for the party who was the client at the time of the initial inspection.

After the initial pest & dry rot inspection, you may choose to get repair bids from licensed contractors or to perform the repairs yourself. Our company does not perform any repairs on the home as that would be a conflict of interest. Accordingly, we cannot suggest how much somebody else would charge to complete the repairs. We recommend getting at least 2 or 3 different bids from properly licensed contractors you would consider hiring. It is to your advantage to hire a reputable contractor to complete the necessary repairs; a contractor experienced with the types of repairs specific to your situation can properly complete the necessary repairs in a minimal amount of time and give you a greater possibility of obtaining a clear report with only one re-inspection visit.

After the needed repairs have been completed, simply call us and let us know that you are ready for a re-inspection. The typical re-inspection fee is between $35.00 and $75.00 per visit for our time spent to re-examine only the conditions that were to be repaired. If all repairs are satisfactory, we will issue a clear report. If any repairs were not completed satisfactorily, we will prepare an updated report that lists which repairs were completed satisfactorily and which repairs were not completed satisfactorily and the suggested remedies. This process is repeated until all repair work has been satisfactorily completed and we can issue a clear report.

Reports from pest control operators, in some cases, may not be used for real estate transactions in Oregon. The Construction Contractors Board (C.C.B.) requires registration of businesses that do inspections involved in the transfer of real estate. Not all pest control operators necessarily have the additional C.C.B. license.

Additionally, your best choice is an inspector who is impartial and does not have a vested interest in the outcome.

Generally no, the roof is not included in a Pest & Dry Rot Inspection. The technical name for the inspection is a Structural Pest & Dry Rot Inspection. Dry rot on the roof components is typically not structural in nature, so it would be reported on during a Whole House Inspection.

Structural Pest & Dry Rot Inspections are performed on the basis of visible evidence in readily accessible areas of the structure for termites and other wood destroying organisms, including powder post beetles, carpenter ants and wood decay fungi (rot). This inspection is limited to wood destroying organisms only and is non-invasive. We do not remove fascia, trim moldings, cowlings or move furniture or household items to perform our inspection. We do crawl the under floor crawl space, check all interior accessible plumbing for leaks and generally look inside and outside of the house and attached garages for structural pests and dry rot. Some under-floor spaces and foundations may be covered with insulation, and therefore are not visible for inspection; wall voids may contain rot and/or wood destroying pest damage, however inner wall conditions are beyond the scope of this report.

A large percentage of structures are subject to minor rot conditions. While such conditions are technically fungi infestations, they may not substantially affect the quality, structural soundness or anticipated life of the structure. Such conditions are spot areas on doors, window casings, porch steps, railings and portions of wood decks and common weathering of siding, decks and non-supporting wooden members and shall not be reported on the inspection reports except at the discretion of the inspection firm for the purposes of clarification only.

Contrary to what some individuals believe, termites do exist in the Klamath Basin and are even common in some areas, especially the geothermal areas. The termites are attracted to the warm, moist ground conditions.

If undetected, termites can cause extensive damage to the structural integrity of the home. The average homeowner has never seen a termite, mostly because termites are very secretive and are not readily visible to the untrained eye. Termites can burrow 25 feet or more underground and prefer to spend their life underground – away from light and air. They are able to detect sources of heat and are often seen first near water heaters or furnaces in homes.

For further information, see the “Living With Bugs” guide.

Carpenter ants are active indoors during many months of the year, usually during the spring and summer. When ants are active in the house during late winter/early spring (February/March), the infestation (nest) is probably within the household. When carpenter ants are first seen outdoors in the spring and summer (May/June), then the nest is likely outdoors and the ants are simply coming in for food.

The natural food for Carpenter ants consists of honeydew from aphids, other insects, and plant juices, but they will readily forage for water and food scraps within the house. Under natural conditions, carpenter ants nest in live and dead trees and in rotting logs and stumps. However, they will also construct their nests in houses, telephone poles, and other man-made wooden structures. Nests are typically started in deteriorating wood which has been exposed to moisture. Often, the colony will extend its nest to adjacent sound wood. Nests are commonly found in railroad ties used for landscaping and other wood in contact with the soil.

INTERESTING FACTS: Ants of the genus Camponotus are known as Carpenter ants because they house their colonies in galleries they excavate inside wood. Carpenter ants do not eat the wood they remove during their nest-building activities, but deposit it outside entrances to the colony in small piles. The wood is used solely as a nesting site. The galleries of carpenter ants are kept smooth and clean, and are not lined with moist soil as termite galleries are.

Powder post beetles in the larval stage of development bore through timber and create channels throughout the wood they have attacked. These channels greatly weaken the structural integrity of the wood. Beetles will continue to re-infest a wood source with their eggs until it no longer provides enough sustenance for them, which means they have reduced the once-sturdy timber to a hollow shell.

The fungus that is commonly referred to as “dry rot” actually requires elevated moisture levels to begin growing and damaging wood. Dry rot is frequently found in areas of the structure that have minimal ventilation or where the installed vents have been covered over for extended periods of time. Once the fungus spores have started to germinate, the fungus grows through the wood and destroys the structural properties of the wood by secreting enzymes that turn wood cells into glucose, which the fungus uses for food, enabling the fungus to continue growing.