Wall/door jamb/toe kick repair: Ant invasion

enmnmApril 8, 2011

Our house was a slap-dash builder's special. There is a quarter-round strip of molding in front of the floor toe kick. When I saw it I told my folks that it was a sure-fire indication that it is hiding something, probably that the floor isn't properly flush against the wall. Sure enough a mysterious water stain appeared on the kitchen ceiling, and when Dad went into the bathroom upstairs and removed the oak strip, he discovered that there was a quarter-inch gap between the floor and wall.

ANYWAY, there is a similar gap, perhaps 2 cm, where the floor, toe kick, and back door jamb meet up, and is the entrance point for a colony of ants. The backdoor opens up onto a deck that is several feet off the ground.

So what do you recommend? I could spray the area outside on the deck (I can't get to the ground below), or I could caulk over the opening, or remove the oak strip and somehow....well, I don't know what to do. Can you help?



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Your terminology is a little vague but I'm going to assume you mean that there is a gap between the baseboard and the floor and the shoemold covers that gap. That is what the shoemold is supposed to do. It just sounds like everything is in order. Ants can get through any construction. If there is rot you will get Carpenter ants and to rid yourself of ants you will have to get rid of rot. Termites will eat good wood and that needs immediate attention. Small sugar ants are just a nuasance and not a threat. Find out what ants you have and act accordingly. An exterminator if its termites, a carpenter if there is rot and over the counter sprays for other ants.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2011 at 9:02AM
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"Dad went into the bathroom upstairs and removed the oak strip, he discovered that there was a quarter-inch gap between the floor and wall. "

So you think the wall should be tight to the floor in a bathroom?

That is a recipe for disaster.

Bathroom floors get wet, the water WILL get under the quarter round, and then soak the bottom edge of the wall.

Drywall is routinely held of floors, especially in wet or damp locations to prevent this.

It should ALWAYS be held off below grade floors.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2011 at 10:19AM
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I have experienced similar problems with you, to overcome my room open all the tiles and then reinstall but do not forget to give liquid water proofing (bithuthene + bithuprimer).
hopefully help.

Here is a link that might be useful: retractable screen doors

    Bookmark   April 9, 2011 at 11:48AM
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Thanks for all your thoughts.

I isolated the entry hole and it is about 2 inches off the ground, along the seam of the door jamb and molding. It is the thickness of a coat hanger. Someone at Home Depot suggested I take a crowbar to the molding and peek underneath to ensure that there isn't a lot of damage.

We do have a pest service who will be out next week to take a look. My concern was what was behind the molding. In the meantime, the ants are eating the terro.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2011 at 4:43PM
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The ants are garden variety ants, and harmless. There is no damage behind the molding or drywall, but there is a gap. The pest person believes the nest is beneath the exterior deck. He sprayed and recommended that we caulk up the hole when the ants disappear.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 9:40AM
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The best thing I have found for ants is a product call Ant Block by Amdro. They sell it at Lowes or HD. It works great.

You sprinkle it around the foundation of your house and within a few days the ants will be gone.

I have to use is every spring.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 8:47PM
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