Man Buys RV Sight Unseen at Auction – And It’s Infested with Termites

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AI image of an RV infested with termites exploding into a swarm with people running

Attending an auction provides a fantastic opportunity to score a deal on many items, including campers. Additionally, this is an excellent opportunity to find rigs that need some work.

Unfortunately, one man didn’t quite know what he was getting into while doing his bidding. As you’ll soon see, the discovery of termites quickly turned this DIY project into a massive nightmare.

Today, we will share this man’s experience and some tips for dealing with these tiny and pesky insects.

Let’s dive in!

Project RV Turns Into a Nightmare

We recently stumbled across a post on Reddit titled “RV Floor Advice.” The Redditor recently purchased a 2016 Cherokee 304BH at an auction, hoping to renovate it. According to the user,  the listing mentioned some soft spots on the floor.

Typically, this is water damage from a leak somewhere, but that wasn’t the case. As he removed the linoleum, he discovered that the camper was infested with termites. The soft spots resulted from these critters chowing down on the plywood flooring. 

Unfortunately, the advice of other Redittors wasn’t what the user had hoped to receive. Many stated the man was over his head or the project wasn’t worth it. He’s now the owner of a practically useless RV and a severe case of buyer’s remorse.

Rv floor advice.
byu/vishairy inRVLiving

A Trip to the Junkyard Is in His Future

The longer termites have infested a structure, the harder it is to deal with them. Had the man known the cause of the issue beforehand, he likely wouldn’t have second-guessed his bidding. However, hindsight is 20-20, and he can do nothing about it now.

The community on Reddit gave him some unsolicited advice on how to deal with the situation. It ranged from tips and tricks for dealing with termites to encouragement to burn the structure to the ground.

The consensus from the crowd was that it would take more time, energy, and money than the camper was worth. The best option for this man is likely to haul it to the nearest junkyard that will take it.

However, if he can find one that will, they’ll likely charge him several hundred dollars to dispose of it. It may be best for him to count his losses and try again, but with a little more research the next time.

Update: It looks like he is attempting to renovate it!

Those of you that saw the termite post. Well here we are.
byu/vishairy inRVLiving

Why Are Termites So Bad for RVs?

Termites are a nightmare when it comes to recreational vehicles. They can quickly and easily do serious damage to a rig and leave you with a costly repair bill.

This is mainly because manufacturers use wood during construction to reduce the weight and cost of each unit. Once termites infest an RV, they’ll start chowing down on just about anything made of wood.

This includes framing, cabinets, and other interior structures. If left undetected, this can result in severe structural problems. The termites will establish their colony and go to town on a seemingly bottomless food buffet.

As the weeks and months pass, the situation becomes increasingly more challenging. Eventually, as the Redditor experienced, a camper is beyond repair. The expense and effort required to repair it won’t be worth it.

Additionally, many RV insurance policies don’t cover these damages. As a result, you’ll be on the hook for footing the entire repair bill.

Tips for Dealing with Termites in an RV

If you want to avoid termites in your RV, you must do several things. Checking these boxes can help prevent finding yourself in a situation similar to the Redditor’s. Let’s take a look at how you can protect your investment.

Do Regular Inspections

Regular inspections are essential if you want to avoid a termite or any other sort of infestation. The more thorough you are with these checks, the easier it will be to spot changes. Look in and around your camper for any evidence of termites, especially around wooden components.

Look for tiny holes, mud tubes, or discarded wings. In most situations, you may even spot live termites. You’ll want to take action immediately if you notice any of these.

The best times to do these inspections are at the start and end of the camping season. You’ll likely be doing some work on your rig anyway, so you should look around for evidence of termites, mice, and other pests.

termite mud tube on a concrete block wall

Keep the RV Dry

Wet wood will quickly attract termites. They love moist and damp environments, especially if they include a food source. RVs are notorious for leaks around doors, windows, and seams, so termites can make themselves at home in no time.

This is another reminder that it’s essential to perform routine maintenance. Inspect the seals around your camper every few months and reapply the sealant as necessary. If it’s cracking, peeling, or damaged in any way, it’s best to replace it altogether.

Additionally, keeping your camper well-ventilated. This reduces the humidity inside the structure, which termites can find appealing. DampRid is an excellent option for controlling moisture levels inside your camper, which can keep termites away from your rig.

Damprid Moisture Absorber
  • Prevents moisture damage
  • Removes excess moisture from the air to eliminate musty odors
  • Lasts up to 60 days
  • Convenient and easy to dispose of after use

Consider Termite-Resistant Materials

When renovating your camper, use materials termites don’t like. This can make it less appealing or more challenging for them to gain access to the space. Some manufacturers treat materials with special chemicals that deter termites. Using them for framing, cabinets, or other items can provide you with some assurance.

Since wood is what termites are after, using metal or plastic materials can make your camper less attractive to termites. While you likely won’t be able to replace every piece of wood with metal or plastic, doing as much as possible is helpful. However, pay attention to the added weight, which can push you past your camper’s cargo-carrying capacity.

Treat Exposed Wood Surfaces

Taking a proactive approach is generally the best way to win the war with termites. Treating exposed wood surfaces around your camper will help create a termite-resistant barrier. Luckily,  most RVs don’t have exposed wood on the exterior. However, you may have wooden storage containers, skirting, and other items nearby.

Our favorite wood treatment is a spray called Bora-Care. It’s a borate salt (like Borax) that deters and kills termites. Once sprayed, it soaks through and protects the whole piece of wood. The best part is that it is a lifetime treatment because it doesn’t decay and is relatively non-toxic to both humans and pets after it dries.

Look around and spot any exposed wood surfaces that could create problems. Applying sealant to these surfaces can help prevent them from absorbing moisture and attracting termites. Once termites arrive, they’ll look for a place to call home, and you don’t want it to be your RV. 

Nisus Bora-Care Termite Treatment
  • Restricted use: No
  • Shipping Restriction states: AK, CA, CT, HI, IN, MI, NY, OR, RI, SC, VT, WA
  • Target Pests: Cockroaches, Palmettobugs, Waterbugs, Ants (Excluding Carpenter Ants), Silverfish and Darkling Beetles,…
  • For use In: Residential & Commercial: Industrial, Municipal, Institutional, Recreational, Health Care, Educational,…

Install Preventive Barriers

We mentioned earlier that using chemicals can be an excellent way to keep termites out of your camper. We strongly recommend applying and installing them anywhere your camper touches the ground.

Termites can crawl up wheels, landing gear, and other items. If you live in an area where termites are frequent, you’ll want to install and use these preventive barriers.

Hire a Professional

Unfortunately, not everyone is physically capable of taking these steps on their own. Additionally, if you discover a small infestation, hiring a professional can prevent it from becoming a bigger problem. Sure, it’ll cost you some money, but the assurance that the job was done right can be worth it.

These professionals have often seen termites and other insects or pests in various situations. They’ll not only deal with the current problem but also help you plan and take the steps for future issues.

Avoid a Termite Disaster When Buying a Used RV

A termite disaster is the last thing you want to experience when buying a used RV. We almost always encourage consumers to hire a third-party inspector when purchasing a new or used camper. These experts often spot any issues or problems, saving you thousands of dollars. Remember, if a deal looks or sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Last update on 2024-04-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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