When one thinks about the statement, one is faced with the hard reality that it is actually pretty meaningless. After all–how many things can you think of that ACTUALLY get better with age?
I know this is not the case with my memory, the onions in the back of my kitchen drawer, and the tires on my car. Even the Great Pyramids are but a memory of their former glory when their polished shells glistened in the sun.
There is certainly something positive to say about a house’s structure that is not “conventionally” constructed, and yet remains standing all perfectly plumb and level after 60 years. But if that same house, for the past 60 years, has been ever so slowly being taken over by Anobiid Beetles, at some point the beetles will make a fool of the user of the phrase.
The pole barn structure pictured to the left is such a structure. Even without the beetles it raises lots of concerns about what keeps it standing. All those lap type joints are simply “nailed” together. Today they would be required to have all kinds of bolts and other metal attachments at the connections. Yet it has stood the test of time.
The thing about Anobiid Beetles is that they do all their damage out of view and as the saying goes, they do all their best work in the dark. All one sees is the tiny bird-shot type holes that develop on the surface like the ones in the picture below. Can you see the little pin-hole sized emergence holes?
The Anobiid larvae will feast away for 5-6 years, if the moisture content is right, and then they eat their way to the surface where they pupate into beetles. The beetle then flies to a new spot on the wood and lays about 50 eggs in cracks on the surface. The eggs hatch out and the larvae tunnel into the surface and the cycle starts all over again. The cycle repeats as long as moisture levels are right and until all nutrients are exhausted. In the meantime the outer surface will look quite sound–except for the ever increasing number of holes on the surface. When this damage is in structural members it can be devastating to a structure. If the building is a pole barn type structure or log cabin we push the “stood the test of time” principle to its obvious conclusion.
The structure will, “lie down the rest of time.”
By Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
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