When building a new home, the last thing you want to think about is termites destroying all of your hard work. You can eliminate this worry and create a home that is more resistant to termites, if you plan ahead and build your new home properly. Termite resistant wood treatment is a large part of that plan.
Existing homes can be treated to control termites, but often require an exterminator to return to the property multiple times, typically on a monthly or bi-monthly basis, to inspect the area in an effort to ensure termites have not re-penetrated the barrier. Not only does this become quite expensive, there is no way for the exterminator to fully guarantee the termites will not return, or that the treatments will be completely effective.
It is much more efficient to build your home to be termite-proof to avoid infestations all together. While this may cost a bit more upfront, the benefit comes when you realize you don’t need to worry as much later on. Due in part to a great deal of research on how termites cause damage to structures, there has been major advancements in construction materials. Today, builders can purchase termite treated wood products which can go a long way in dissuading termites.
Termite treated wood products are typically treated with the following chemicals:
Alkaline Copper Quaternary (ACQ): ACQ is a chemical mixture that is directly applied to a piece of wood. ACQ is comprised of copper and quaternary ammonium, which acts as a fungicide, and makes the wood unpalatable to termites. Many builders choose to frame homes with wood treated with ACQ to ensure the internal structure will always remain sound. ACQ is very corrosive towards steel though, due to such high copper content. Some builders prefer not to use treated wood for the interior sections of the home, so further termite protection will be needed in these areas.
Copper Boron Azole (CBA): CBA is another form of chemical compound that is used to treat wood. This type of wood can come into direct contact with the ground, and still protect against termite damage.
Borates: Sometimes referred to as boric acid or Borax, borates are a very popular form of “natural termite control”. Many professional termite control people consider borates to be the least toxic of all termite treatments. There is a bit of confusion and misinformation surrounding borates, however. Some environmental groups have misrepresented the product to the point of advertising it as harmless, with no known dangers or side effects, but it’s clear that Borax contains high amounts of arsenic.
To help clear up the confusion, it is necessary to understand that while boric acid is one of the least toxic termite control products on the market today, using high amounts of it in a home is not recommended. Prolonged periods of contact with the skin or inhalation can lead to health problems, and poisoning. It is usually recommended that boric acid treated wood is only used for framing.
To make the building materials treated with boric acid as safe as possible for both builders and home inhabitants, the main compounds are chemically bonded to the timber. This is precisely the reason it provides exceptional protection from termites as well.
Naturally termite resistant wood should also be considered, although some of these wood types may not be widely available, or somewhat unsuitable, for home construction. Some of these wood types should be familiar (to some of you) and are shown on this page.
Simply put, termite control is safer, cheaper, and easier when tackled from the beginning. That being said, it is important to note that even when using termite resistant construction methods, you should still consult with a termite control specialist periodically (especially if you live in an area where termite density is high). Periodic inspections will help keep infestations at bay, and will head off major problems before they start.