How Much Does Termite Tenting Cost?

National Average Range:
$2,500 - $7,500
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Reviewed by Irene Pomares. 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.

The average cost for home termite tenting treatment is $2,500 to $7,500, with most homeowners paying around $5,000 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 $12,000 for termite tenting on a 4,000 sq.ft. home.

Cost to Tent a House for Termites

Termite Tenting Cost
National average cost$5,000
Average range$2,500-$7,500
Low-end$1,000
High-end$12,000

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.

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Termite Fumigation Cost per Square Foot

Termite tenting costs $1 to $3 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.

Cost to Tent for Termites a House of 1,000, 1,500, 1,800, 2,000, and 3,000 Sq.Ft.

Cost to Tent for Termites a House of 1,000, 1,500, 1,800, 2,000, and 3,000 Sq.Ft.

Square FootageCost (Labor Included)
1,000 sq.ft.$1,000 - $3,000
1,500 sq.ft.$1,500 - $4,500
1,800 sq.ft.$1,800 - $5,400
2,000 sq.ft.$2,000 - $6,000
3,000 sq.ft.$3,000 - $9,000

Termite Fumigation 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.

Termite Tenting Preparation

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. Food should be one of your top priorities during termite tenting preparation. You need nylon polymer bags to protect food with an open seal. Glass jars or cans will not cut it. You may want to clean out your pantry and bring any food you do not want to go to waste with you. The same goes for pet food. As long as it is sealed, your dog or cat kibble will be fine. However, if it is open, double bag with nylon polymer.

If alcohol is still sealed, you can leave it as is. Otherwise, any bottles with broken seals should be double bagged. Also, corked wine bottles should be stored horizontally or kept in bags. Unsealed tobacco needs to be sealed too. Remember to remove your pets from the home, particularly tanked animals like goldfish, hamsters, or lizards. House plants should be moved. Otherwise, they could die during fumigation.

Pre-Fumigation Inspection

Before termite tenting, your exterminator inspects the property as part of the treatment cost. 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

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.

House Covered With a Black and Yellow Tent for Termite Fumigation

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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. Something else to remember is that to stay safe. You have to leave your home for a few days while the chemicals fade. It is not safe to go back into your home 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.

Termite Tenting Efectiveness for Subterranean, Dampwood, and Drywood Termites

Termite Tenting Efectiveness for Subterranean, Dampwood, and Drywood Termites

How Often Do You Need to Fumigate for Termites?

Ideally, you only need to fumigate for termites once to eliminate the problem and prevent further damage to your home. However, it depends on the infestation in your property, as sometimes a new population of termites may move in and cause more problems. 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.

Spot Treatment vs Tenting for Termites

Spot treatment and tenting for termites are two trusted options for termite extermination. While termite tenting costs $1 to $3 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.

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.

Comparison of the Cost per Square Foot of Fumigation and Spot Treatment for Termites

Comparison of the Cost per Square Foot of Fumigation and Spot Treatment for Termites

TypeAverage Cost per Square Foot (Labor Included)
Fumigation$1 - $3
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 $3 per sq.ft., although it can quickly add up because it covers the whole house. No tent termite treatment cost ranges from $3 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.

Comparison of the Cost of Tent and Tentless Treatment for Termites

Comparison of the Cost of Tent and Tentless Treatment for Termites

TypeAverage Cost (Labor Included)
Tent$1 - $3/sq.ft.
Tentless$3 - $16/linear foot

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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.
  • Prevention. While there is not a 100% effective way to prevent termites from coming back all the time, you should 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.

FAQs

  • 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.

Cost to tent a house for termites varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

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