How much does it cost to tent a house for termites?
Get free estimates from remodeling contractors near you
Termite Tenting Cost Guide
Updated: 22 Dec 2022
Updated: Jul 29, 2021
Reviewed by Irene Pomares remodeling expert. Written by Fixr.com.
Termites are no fun to have inside your home. These tiny insects love to eat wood and damage furniture, floors, and walls. These bugs are hard to see and can quickly wreak havoc on structural beams and wood components inside your home, which is why professional termite removal is so important. There are a few options for termite extermination. One of the most popular choices is called termite tenting, also known as fumigation. While tenting and fumigation are synonyms, tenting may also be used for heat treatment, although it is less common. Fumigation involves surrounding the home with a large plastic tent and then releasing chemicals to kill the termites in a process that takes several days.
Since 2021, costs have risen more swiftly than in previous decades. Costs will likely continue to increase in 2023, but not at the same rate. Increases throughout 2023 are expected to reach between 1.7% and 2.6%. The average cost for home termite tenting treatment is $2,500 to $7,750. Most homeowners pay around $6,250 for treatment on a 2,500 sq.ft. home. On the low end, it costs $1,000 to tent a 1,000 sq.ft. home for termites. On the high end, it costs $16,000 for termite tenting on a 4,000 sq.ft. home.
Cost to Tent a House for Termites
|Termite Tenting Cost|
|National average cost||$6,250|
How Does Termite Tenting Work?
Termite tenting uses chemicals to fumigate the entire household and kill termites and other pests in your home. Pest control professionals set up a large plastic tent around your entire home before releasing potent gas to kill the termites. The tent acts as a barrier to ensure a high concentration of chemicals stays inside the house to kill termites while protecting the surrounding property. Once the chemicals have been thoroughly released throughout your home, exterminators will take down the tent, and then you need to wait about four days before you can re-enter. In the meantime, you will have to find somewhere else to stay while the chemicals disperse and the air inside your home returns to normal.
Get free estimates from termite fumigation companies near me
Termite Fumigation Cost per Square Foot
Termite tenting costs $1 to $4 per sq.ft., the same for heat treatment. Because termite fumigation covers the entire house, it is priced per square foot, unlike pest control methods like barrier control or baiting that only target the perimeter of the home and are therefore priced per linear foot. Below are the termite tenting average costs based on the total square footage of your home.
|Square Footage||Cost (Labor Included)|
|1,000 sq.ft.||$1,000 - $4,000|
|1,500 sq.ft.||$1,500 - $6,000|
|1,800 sq.ft.||$1,800 - $7,200|
|2,000 sq.ft.||$2,000 - $8,000|
|2,500 sq.ft.||$2,500 - $10,000|
|3,000 sq.ft.||$3,000 - $12,000|
|4,000 sq.ft.||$4,000 - $16,000|
Before termite tenting, your exterminator inspects the property as part of the treatment cost. Inspection costs usually range between $150 and $350. Some termite companies offer free inspections as a promotion. Other companies credit the cost of an initial inspection when the homeowner hires the company to tent the house. During this inspection, they look for signs of termites and other pests to identify both drywood and subterranean termites. Wood damage, mud tubes, swarms, droppings, live bugs, and peeled paints are all things your exterminator looks for as they decide on the best treatment plan. This is a crucial step before starting termite tenting, as the exterminator should tell you how severe the infestation is and what to expect from the treatment plan.
Inspection After Fumigation Cost
Once termite tenting is complete, your exterminator should finish with an inspection included in the total cost. This final inspection is a chance to closely examine wood floors and furniture to see any more signs of termites. It is also important for exterminators to sign off on the completion of termite tenting so they can confirm it is safe for your family to go back in. Once the inspection is finished, your exterminator recommends ways to protect your home against pests in the future. Tenting should take care of termites for at least five years. Further annual inspections are not necessary until five years have passed. At that point, homeowners will pay the standard inspection rate of $150 to $350 for each inspection.
Pros and Cons
Like any pest control treatment, termite fumigation comes with its pros and cons. One of the biggest advantages is the effectiveness of termite tenting. The strong chemicals leave a residue that stops termites from coming straight back. It is also a very efficient way to kill termites hiding in any wooden structures throughout your home as the chemicals spread across all surfaces. Also, unlike some termite treatment options, fumigation kills other pests, so it is a good option for comprehensive pest control.
On the other hand, the main con with fumigation is that it relies on heavy chemicals, which are not great for the environment. The EPA recommends preventative pest control over chemical treatments that can kill other plants and animals beyond the pests you want to exterminate. In fact, chemical pest treatments like fumigation are outlawed in some areas close to nature preserves and natural bodies of water. In addition to the questions around the safety of chemical use, another downside of termite tenting is how long it takes. You have to plan to be out of your house for at least four days while the chemicals disperse. Homeowners who want tenting but are wary of using chemicals have a chemical-free alternative. With heat treatments, the exterminator heats the home’s interior to 135 degrees Fahrenheit to kill the pests.
Termite Tenting Preparation Checklist
The cost to tent a house for termites quickly adds up, particularly if you live in a large home, which is why adequate preparation is so important to ensure you get the best results. You will need to remove many items from the home or wrap them in nylon polymer bags for protection. You also need to make some changes to your home to accommodate the extermination crew and prepare to leave for a few days. You may want to ask your termite company what they recommend regarding tenting prep, just to make sure you do not forget anything important. You will find a list of the primary things you need to accomplish before tenting day.
Find Accommodations for Family and Pets
No one may remain in the home during termite tenting, so you will need to find accommodations for you and your family during the treatment. Remember to make sure your accommodations are pet friendly if you have pets and need a place for them to stay. You may book a stay at a pet hotel if you can’t find a local hotel that is pet-friendly. Don’t forget the hamsters and fish tanks!
Remove or Seal Personal Items
Put your plants outside and wrap your clothing, curtains, and bedding in nylon polymer bags. You may also completely remove these items from your home during the treatment. Anything consumable should also come out of the house. Avoid buying any new food immediately before the home is treated, so you need to remove or throw out fewer items. Remember to remove pet food, too.
Prepare the Home
Before the termite extermination crew arrives, you’ll want to unplug your electronics and appliances. Turn off all the power strips, too. Make sure all the doors in the home are open and that all the cabinets and drawers are open, too. Remove any plastic coverings on the furniture as well. If you have bushes and branches growing close to the home, you may also need to cut them back so that the tenting equipment can wrap the home.
Talk to local pros to get quotes for termite tenting near me
Homeowners have several ways to prevent termite infestations. These preventative measures are also helpful after termite tenting to ensure termites do not return. While there is not a 100% effective way to prevent termites from coming back all the time, you may do termite tenting followed by a barrier treatment for the best chance of success. This means you kill any existing termites and create a strong line of defense against future infestations. Tenting is very effective. However, homeowners may start at any time with preventative measures that reduce the chance of an infestation forming in the first place.
Removing plants and shrubs from the immediate vicinity of the home is an important way to reduce the chance of infestation because it makes it more difficult for invading termites to migrate from wood in the yard to the home. Eliminating mulch from around the house is also helpful for preventing termites from migrating into the home. The foundation of the home should also remain as dry as possible, with downspouts from the gutters that direct water away from the foundation.
The yard should also slope away from the home, so water does not pool at the foundation and create a warm, moist environment for termites. Sprinklers should point away from the home. It is important to make sure the hose does not drip onto the ground right next to the home after it is used. Homeowners who have cracks in their home’s foundation may want to have the foundation sealed to prevent entry by hungry termites.
Homeowners may also have some opportunities to reduce the likelihood of termite infestations if they build their own homes. Vapor barriers installed in the crawl spaces reduce the moisture in the home and make it less attractive to termites. It may be worth asking the builder if any additional steps are available during the construction phase to prevent termites from coming into the house.
Is Termite Fumigation Safe?
Termite fumigation is safe when done by professionals in line with safety standards. It definitely is not something you should attempt to do on your own, as it requires careful preparation, setup, and application of potent chemicals. You also need to think about the food, plants, and animals in your home that need to be removed to avoid contamination with chemicals.
Then there are potential environmental concerns, as chemical runoff is not good for natural surroundings, although termite tenting experts can mitigate the risks. To stay safe, you have to leave your home for a few days while the chemicals fade. Going back into your home is not safe until your exterminator tells you it is safe.
Does Fumigation Work for Any Type of Termite?
Keep in mind there are three prevalent termite types: subterranean, drywood, and dampwood. Subterranean termites live deep in the soil underneath your house, so fumigation is usually not necessary because it will not reach these deep dwellers anyway. Termite tenting is best for dampwood and drywood termites that live inside wood beams, floors, and furniture, because the chemicals kill them throughout the house. If you have already had a termite treatment at your home, but the insects reappeared, it may be worthwhile to think about tenting.
How Often Do You Need to Fumigate for Termites?
Ideally, you only need to fumigate for termites once every 4 to 10 years to eliminate the termites and prevent further damage to your home. However, it depends on the infestation in your property because sometimes a new population of termites may move in and cause more problems earlier than expected. The only way to know for sure is to invest in annual pest control inspections to check for signs of new termites. If you add barrier protection to stop termites from getting back in, you are less likely to need more fumigation in the future. Check with your exterminator to confirm how often you should fumigate for termites.
Tenting vs Fumigation
You may notice that your exterminator uses tenting or fumigation to refer to the process of tenting a home. These terms are somewhat interchangeable. They both may refer to using chemicals to eradicate pests inside a building covered with a tent. However, it is important to note that tenting may also refer to using a heat treatment to fight termites. With heat treatments, the exterminator will use air heated to 135 degrees Fahrenheit to kill the termites. Chemical-based tenting is the most common method used today, but heat treatment is becoming more common.
Spot Treatment vs Tenting for Termites Cost
Spot treatment and tenting for termites are two trusted options for termite extermination. While termite tenting costs $1 to $4 per sq.ft., spot treatment is priced from $6 to $8 per sq.ft. This does not necessarily mean spot treatment is more expensive because it is usually used for a smaller area than termite tenting for the entire home. However, if spot treatment is required for many areas, it will likely be more expensive because painting and wood replacement may be needed. Termite companies may also refer to spot treatments as micro treatments.
In addition to the price differences, these treatments target termites differently, as tenting for termites requires the entire home to be treated to kill any termites inside. Spot treatment is a micro treatment that helps control termites in a small area when the insects haven’t spread yet. Liquid termiticide may be applied in a certain area and backed up by heat or microwave guns. While it is more expensive than fumigation, spot treatment is more convenient and effective for small infestations. Take a look at the table below to see the difference in the cost of fumigation versus spot treatments.
|Type||Cost per Sq.Ft.|
|Fumigation||$1 - $4|
|Spot||$6 - $8|
Termite Tenting vs Tentless Treatment
When it comes to tent vs no tent termite treatment costs, tenting has a lower base price of $1 to $4 per sq.ft., although it can quickly add up because it covers the whole house. No tent termite treatment cost ranges from $4 to $16 per linear foot, depending on which type you choose. Keep in mind that no-tent options cover a small area rather than the entire home. While tent treatments are great for large infestations, the tent setup and treatment take a long time and require removing certain things like plants or food from your home. Termite baiting or barrier treatment is usually recommended for subterranean termites that live deep in the soil beneath your home, while tenting works for drywood or dampwood termites inside your home’s walls, floors, and furniture. The table below shows the difference between tent treatments and tentless termite treatments.
|Tent||$1 - $4/sq.ft.|
|Tentless||$4 - $16/linear foot|
Find the best termite tenting companies near me
Additional Considerations and Costs
- Other plagues. Termite tenting can also kill other pests in your home, such as fleas, ticks, and bed bugs. The strong chemicals exterminate bugs that you may not even know are in your home, which is why this is a good option for thorough pest control.
- Reappearance. Termite fumigation is generally effective at eliminating termites and keeping them from coming back. However, they may reappear depending on the infestation, particularly if it has been six months or a year after the last chemical treatment. It all depends on the termite activity where you live. If you need a repeat treatment, you will have to pay for it again, as it is uncommon for pest control companies to offer free termite tenting.
- Alternative accommodation. When preparing for termite tenting, you should consider the cost of staying somewhere else during the fumigation process. You will need to stay at a family or friend’s house or find a hotel for around four days. It is not ideal, but it keeps you and your family safe.
- Guarantee. Termite pre-treatments come with a guarantee that termites will not attack the home for at least five years after construction is complete. Companies may also guarantee after tenting a home that termites will not return for a certain number of years after treatment, with free treatments offered if termites are found.
- Do I need to empty my drawers and cabinets for a termite fumigation?
It is up to you whether you want to empty your drawers and cabinets as it is not required. It is best to keep all drawers open to allow the chemicals to do their job and effectively kill any termites hiding in your furniture.
- How long after termite fumigation is it safe to return home?
Generally, you need to wait about four days after termite fumigation before you can return home. The chemicals need to disperse so you and your family are not at risk of health hazards. You need to stay somewhere else in the meantime.
- What needs to be removed from the house when tenting for termites?
When tenting the house for termites, you should remove all plants and pet animals such as goldfish or reptiles. For opened food or medication that does not have its original seal, you should either double bag them in nylon polymer bags or take them with you.
- How long does a house need to be tented for termites?
The entire tenting process takes two to four days to eradicate termites in your home effectively. This treatment requires you to move out of your home for a few days while the chemicals filter throughout the entire house to kill all termites.
- Is termite fumigation covered by home insurance?
Like other termite and pest treatments, termite fumigation is not covered by home insurance. Insurers do not usually cover pest control because it is considered preventable.
- When does a house need to be tented for termites?
Termite tenting is a good idea if you have a severe infestation, as fumigation gets rid of termites for longer due to the leftover chemical residue. Sometimes heat treatment just is not enough as it does not stop termites from coming back, and in that case, fumigation is a more effective choice.
Find remodeling contractors near you
Get free estimates on Fixr.com from trusted remodeling contractors in your area