Friday, April 15, 2011

It's Deja-Vous, All Over Again

The Restoration Department was working at Bacon's Castle to replace some fire doors and repair moisture damage in the hyphen, when they discovered extensive termite damage to the floor joists on the first-floor. Since they just finished replacing floor joists at Monumental Church in Richmond for the same reason, they are all tooled up and ready to go. The damage occurred after the 1983 Bacon's Castle renovations were complete, but there are no current signs of active termites. This is another wake-up call to owners of historic structures, not to trust pest-control contracts as a guarantee against infestations. In this instance, the damage was between the plaster ceiling and the floor, so it was completely invisible to even thorough inspections. When the department consulted a trusted pest control agent, he recommended that a barrier treatment be applied every five years around the structure and under concrete pads within the structure. He further recommends whenever any work is done to historic structures, that pest control be called in to opportunistically apply chemical at that time. Old structures are somewhat unique, because of all the voids that exist within them, making them perfect termite habitat. In this circumstance, because the joists have been so badly damaged, because of the chronic moisture problem associated with the front porch, and because the joists will once again be enclosed by floor from above and plaster from below, the department will use modern pressure-treated lumber to replace the period, heart pine joists.

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