Signs of termite damage in hardwood floors

Q imported from our old site, Face Lift Floors: I have a rental house built in 1934 with hardwood floors throughout. There are several places throughout the house where there are dark spots or what appear to be small gouges at or near where the nails are. Is this caused by termites?

I once had a floor repair specialist tell me that I had some termite damage, and subsequently hired Terminix to install monitoring stations all around my house. They monitored for well over a year and I never had any termites detected, so I cancelled the service.

But the marks concern me. I haven’t lived there in several years, and I can’t really remember/tell whether the marks were there before or not. But I have no idea what the signs of termite damage might be, looking at the topside of the floors.

A: Termites will eat from the inside out. They may leave just a thin skin on some wood, and if you were to press on the wood it would collapse showing tracks inside. If they have gotten to hardwood, then they most likely also got to the softwood substructure first, so you may want to check floor joist and window sills, etc. for evidence of such invasion.

Small gouges at or where the nails are sounds more to me like someone tried to set the nail head (sounds like the floors have been over sanded and are thin, exposing the nail)and missed.

Look for trails or tacks, tunnels all over the board, just under the surface. That is termites.

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