We had new red oak hardwood floors installed just 3 weeks ago and now we are finding powder post beetle holes in several areas of the wood and in different rooms. We installed close to 2000 sq. ft. – our entire first floor. It is clear to us now that the wood must have been contaminated. Would you agree? Because this is such a large area and we know that this is going to be a costly fix, who should be responsible? I am frightened that it may already be to late to stop damage that may later appear in other places of our home in which we cannot see at this time. Every day I am finding new holes in the floor. Our installer felt no big deal only seeing a few holes but since his visit a few days ago, several new holes have appeared. What should I request be done by the installer to ensure the safety of our home? Will I need an attorney? I am sick over this. HELP!
First, since this scenario is so common, I do not believe your wood floor is “contaminated”. Second, it’s not for me to determine “who should be responsible”. To me, the insect is responsible because it’s the one drilling out of the wood (probably why I’m not a lawyer..). Third, what should you request the installer to do? I have no idea. This is something you’ll need to work out between you and him and if an agreement cannot be reached, then I’m sure attorney’s will get involved. Sorry I cannot help regarding these concerns but if you want some advice on the beetle problem, this is where my expertise may come in handy so maybe I can help you to better understand what you’re dealing with, what to expect, etc.
For now, I suggest you read our article on this insect so you can best prepare yourself for what it does, how it behaves, etc. Once you understand it’s biology, you’ll be better prepared to deal with the current and all future situations. In the reading you’ll learn that hardwood floors will commonly display this kind if activity following the initial install. You’ll also learn that many people actually “like” the holes because they feel the holes “add character” to the wood. In fact, a very popular wood used for furniture, flooring and other around the home projects is known as “worm wood”. This wood is essentially “chewed” out by boring pests and to many people, very much desirable.
But to others, the holes aren’t attractive and when they continue to appear, they’ll no doubt disrupt your daily life and in general, make you depressed. Now are your feelings valid? Maybe. I say this because clearly too many holes can make the wood unsound. And if they keep emerging for years, they’ll effectively be making a mess. So if you only have 3-6 holes and the activity ceases, you probably don’t have to do anything. But if you have 10-20 holes and the install is just a month or two old, I’d consider treating.
As for treating, there are two ways which are explained in our article. No doubt this will involve a lot of work but if you want to keep the floors in place and the exit holes show no sign of letting up, treating will be necessary. Regardless of who does the work, apply either JECTA GEL or BORACARE. This will knock out the current beetle population and protect it for the life of the flooring inside the home.
Now if you decide to rip out the flooring and install new flooring, don’t make the same mistake again. Instead, treat the new wood to be installed with Boracare so that no matter what the condition of the wood, the problem you have right now will be avoided. In my mind it just makes sense to pretreat every inch of any wood flooring being installed to avoid this exact thing from happening but for some reason, installers don’t sell this kind of service or even think to offer it. But if you treat the wood prior to having it finished, you won’t have any worries no matter after it’s installed and that will buy you peace of mind for sure.
Here are direct links to the information and products listed above:
Powderpost Beetle Article: http://www.powderpostbeetles.com/powderpost-beetle-control
Wood Floor Treatments: http://www.powderpostbeetles.com/powderpost-beetle-control#wood_floor_beetle_treatment