You can lower the cost of tenting for termites (and the fumigation cost for most insects) with a few simple steps. These are:
- Get at least three written quotes for termite tenting before you commit to a company
- Ask for a breakdown of each estimate. Normally, this will include fumigant costs, the volume of the treatment area, and labor costs.
- Use earlier companies’ written quotes to negotiate lower prices when requesting termite tenting estimates from later companies
- Sometimes showing a termite company a competitor’s quote for the same job will help you get a lower price.
- Schedule your fumigation as soon as possible.
- Though drywood termite infestations don’t typically spread terribly fast, sometimes spotting an infestation in its earlier stages can help you avoid the need to fumigate, opting instead for a spot (localized) termite treatment.
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Termite infestations can keep nearly any homeowner up at night. Despite being such tiny insects, drywood termites can wreak serious damage to any foundation with wood material, wood siding, or structural timber.
Also, it is quite rare for termites to be found in small numbers, so if you find any signs of termite activity in or around your house or building, additional steps are likely required. If you have a drywood termite infestation, the most common and effective termite treatment is fumigation because it reaches all the wood in your home.
Subterranean termites live in the ground and consequently enter your home from the ground (near your foundation). Termite tenting is not effective for subterranean termites because, though it would kill any subterranean termites in your home, it would fail to reach the subterranean termites living in the dirt around your home.
Termite fumigation can cost a lot, but it is nowhere near the price you will pay if you let termites damage your home’s structural timber. So, even if you gave quotes that seem like a very high price for drywood termite tenting, it is typically worth it to prevent further damage to your home. There are, however, some things you can do to get cheaper termite fumigation.
Initial Inspection & Getting Termite Tenting Cost Estimates
When you first see signs of termites—or even if you aren’t sure of the signs and just want to be certain—you’ll likely want to contact a pest control service and have them visit your home for an inspection. Most established pest control services will provide a termite inspection of your home at no cost to you (but be aware that they will likely also try to sell you on a termite bond or termite warranty at the same time).
During a termite inspection, pest control pros will focus on your foundation, structural timber, or other areas that might reveal evidence of termite infestation, your pest control representative will inform you of your options.
The cost of these options can be very expensive. Your quoted prices will depend on:
- The prevalence of termites (small localized drywood termite infestations can be handled without termite fumigation)
- The type of termites infesting your home (Drywood termite infestations usually require fumigation and subterranean termite infestations usually require termite trenching)
- The size of your home (in the United States, this is typically measured in cubic feet, but appraised in linear feet)
- The extent of damage that the termites have inflicted upon your home (you’ll need to repair any damage to structural lumber, but termite-damaged cosmetic wood can be left alone).
If you’re dealing with a significant drywood termite infestation, the pest control representative will likely recommend having your house fumigated.
How much does termite fumigation cost?
The cost of drywood termite fumigation can range anywhere from a few hundred dollars (a rare minimum for localized infestations) to several thousand dollars (in cases of established infestations or in larger houses).
If your house has extensions such as a garage, deck, or patio, these too will need fumigation, increasing your final bill. Pricing of fumigation can range anywhere between $1 to $4 per square foot, but on average, is closer to $2 per square foot. At $2 per square foot, the fumigation of a 1,500-square-foot house would end up costing around $3,000.
That might be a frightening sum for some homeowners—experienced or new—but it is a worthwhile purchase and investment if you value your home. The alternative is a degraded home.
Failure to take appropriate, timely action against termites could result in much higher expenses for your home (not just for repairing termite damage, but also for often unforeseen expenses like increased cooling and heating costs).
For extreme termite infestations, you can even have your home outright condemned if it is deemed unfit for human habitation.
How do I measure my home for fumigation?
Your building’s size is the most impactful factor in determining how much it is to tent a house for termites.
If you want to verify how large your home is to ensure fumigation quotes seem correct, you need to measure your home in a similar manner that pest control companies do.
Pest control companies use the volume of your house to calculate their quote. For simple one-story rectangular houses, this is quite simple. Suppose we have a house with the following dimensions:
Example Home: Width = 20 feet, Length = 40 feet, Height = 10 feet, Attic Height = 6 feet
- Get the volume of the rectangular portion
- Measure the walls (our example house is width = 20 feet, length = 40 feet, and height = 10 feet from floor to ceiling)
- Get the volume of the attic/roof area (since most attics are rectangular, we take the average by the following)
- Measure the height from the floor of the attic to the highest portion (peak) of the roof and divide by two. If the floor of the attic to the peak of the roof is 6 feet, then the average is 6 / 2 = 3 feet.
- Add the average roof height to the building height
- Get the volume of the rectangular portion by multiplying the width by length by average height (our example house would be 20 x 40 x (10+3) = 20 x 40 x 13 = 10400 cubic feet).
If the above steps are confusing, the above video further explains how to calculate your home’s size for calculating fumigation costs for simple house designs and more complicated floor plans.
Termite Fumigation Process
If you opt for fumigation as your termite treatment option, you have a number of things to further consider.
Once fumigation is underway, your house will be “tented”.
During the “tenting” process, the pest control service will place an enormous rubber tent around the perimeter of your house and secure it to the ground.
The reason this is done is to ensure that the fumigant gases from fumigation do not escape into the air around your property—if that were to happen, your neighbors or surrounding wildlife could potentially get very sick. Entrapping the termiticides also ensures maximum termite extermination efficacy.
During the Fumigation (Additional Costs)
As you may have guessed, while your home is being tented and all of the fumigation gases are trapped inside, you will not be able to stay in it. The pest control service may ask you to spend 3 to 7 days somewhere else for your own health and safety. This presents you with more potential bills.
While some people may have family members who could provide housing for that period of time, others are likely going to have to pay to stay at a hotel. If you pay an average of $100 per night for a hotel, this could add another $300 to $700 to your termite fumigation costs.
Depending on how many people are being forced out of your house during fumigation, the cost of renting a room each night could add up very quickly.
If you have pets, the rent for these rooms becomes even higher, as pet deposits will be required. Your choices of hotels will be limited, too, as not all places will allow dogs or cats in their rooms.
While forced to stay outside of your home, you’ll also need to consider the expenses for feeding yourself and your family.
One simple approach would be to eat restaurant food during the fumigation process, but that would not be the most cost-effective.
Remember that you are already spending potential thousands on your house’s fumigation, and hundreds more on a hotel room(s).
A more financially feasible approach would be to bring any portable cooking appliances with you (microwave, blender, toaster oven, sandwich grill, slow cooker, etc.), and bring food that you can cook on those devices.
Odds are, the grocery bill for those days will be much cheaper than going out to eat two to three times a day. You may want to make sure your hotel room has a fridge as well, in case you need to preserve leftovers or goods such as baby formula.
Transportation costs should be less of a concern for those few days. If you have children who take the bus to school, you may have to drive them to school instead. Depending on where you are staying, you may also have to drive a greater distance to get to work.
After the Fumigation: Repairs and Preventative Measures
Once the fumigation period is over and you can safely return to your home, you may have additional costs to consider. If the termites have done a lot of damage to your house’s structure, you are still going to have to pay for repairs.
Depending on your termite infestation’s size and how much havoc it wrought, repairs could amount to a bill that is once again in the thousands, possibly even exceeding the cost of fumigation.
If you have a deck or patio that has been compromised by termites, it may end up being more affordable to have them rebuilt.
You may want to ask your insurance agent (assuming your property is insured) if your policy covers termite damage. Most homeowner’s insurance providers do not cover the cost of termite fumigation (they often consider pest control a maintenance cost), but some insurance policies do cover damages from termites.
So, you may want to search for one that does—particularly if you are concerned with future infestations because you live in an area with high termite activity.
Remember that while termites are a serious problem that requires quick action, you must also be financially prepared for the expenses that come with eliminating them via fumigation:
- Shelter: staying with extended family or renting hotel rooms.
- Food: providing you and your family with meals for the fumigation period
- Pet Care: paying for additional rent expenses or deposits, while providing them food, water, and care
- Transportation: additional gas usage when driving to work or school
- Future Repairs: Fix damage to your foundation caused by termites and prevent future infestations
A termite’s ability to chew through your house will always result in you chewing through your money in retaliation. This is why it is so important to consider as many angles as possible when budgeting for termite fumigation.
Average Boat Fumigation Prices
Like homes, wooden water vessels (often large boats) can also be infested by termites, and like homes, fumigating wooden boats works well to eradicate large drywood termite infestations (though you can sometimes use spot treatments on smaller infestations).
It varies depending on the size of the boat (and where you are getting your boat treated for termites), but the average boat fumigation price in California is around $1100.
Frequently Asked Questions about the cost of termite tenting
Below are some of the common questions we get about the cost of tenting a house for termites. Let us know in the comments if you have more questions.
How much does it cost to tent a house for termites in California?
The cost to tent a house for termites in California is higher than the national average. In California, you can expect to pay between $3,000 and $7,000 dollars, depending on the size of the building, whereas the average termite tenting cost in the United States is between $1,300 to $3,000.
How much does it cost to tent a house for termites in Florida?
The cost to tent a house for termites in Florida is slightly higher than the national average. The cost to tent a house for termites in Florida averages between $1 to $4 per square foot whereas the national average is between $1 to $3 per square foot.
In South Florida, where aggressive Conehead drywood termites are prevalent, the average cost to tend a home for termites is between $1,500 to $3,000. But larger homes or commercial buildings can cost $12,000 to $100,000 dollars to tent.