Figuring out the best preventative termite treatment for new construction projects can be confusing because different regions have different types of termite species.
The main two types of termites are subterranean and drywood termites. If your construction project is located somewhere with only one type of termite, your termite control measures will be simpler than in locations with several types of termites.
Though there’s some nuance involved depending on the types of termites in your area, we’ll walk you through the main aspects of termite-proofing new buildings. By the end of this article, you’ll have a solid grasp of the steps you can take during construction to protect a structure from termite damage.
How to Treat Different Components of a Building
If you’re visiting my blog, you probably already have an idea of how much damage termites can cause. They are a threat to any type of wood and more, from the structure of your home to the contents inside.
They will just as happily expand their colony into your walls, cabinets, or even that old rocking chair, guitar, or baseball bat passed down from Grandpa.
Of course, prevention is much cheaper than attempting to eradicate termites after the fact. Complete anti-termite proofing starts with the construction of a house or structure, but many people are unaware of this. However, before we dig into that, let’s quickly review the two main types of termites. As Sun Tzu recommended in The Art of War, “Know Your Enemy.”
Anti-Termite Treatment for Different Types of Buildings
(Residential or Commercial Construction)
The main two categories of termite prevention can be divided into two phases. Anti-termite treatment is conducted prior to and after construction.
Most people are only familiar with the types of termite treatments performed years after a building is built, but we will cover both here since they are closely related.
Pre-Construction Anti-Termite Treatment
Although this is not true in all places in the world, many developed countries where termites are common now incorporate—and even require—termite treatment strategies into the construction of new structures. Construction companies and contractors accomplish this in three simple steps.
1. Preparation of the Site:
This first step involves removing existing wood, mulch, stumps, logs, roots, or other cellulose-containing materials from the projected foundation or construction site prior to the main excavation.
Termites feed on the cellulose in wood-based material so by removing these types of items you are essentially removing their food source. If any significantly sized termite colonies are detected during this phase then termite-specific pesticides should be applied to the colony or mound.
Typically these termite insecticides will come in concentrated forms to be mixed with water. Holes can be thrust into the mound via a crowbar or drilled out with a drill and then the solution should be poured in.
Some chemicals commonly used for this purpose around the world (This will vary from country to country) include BHC, Aldrin, Heptachlor, Chlordane, and DDT.
2. Soil Termiticide Treatment:
Treating soil with termite-deterring or killing chemicals is actually a step of site preparation but is a bit different from removing cellulose-containing materials from the excavation site.
Typically, this step involves digging a trench around the perimeter of the foundation and then applying a chemical and water emulsion to the soil in the trench as it is filled back up via some type of sprayer.
This essentially creates a chemical barrier to keep subterranean termites from getting to the house from under the soil. For this step again, it depends on your local, state, and national laws for what pesticides may be used.
Some examples of chemicals used for trench termite barriers are Aldrex, Aldrin, Heptachlor, and Chlordane. Aldrex works great for this because it lasts for years after it is applied to the soil because it is insoluble in water. Many other termiticides will dissolve with water, so are not ideal for termite trenching. Termiticide and water emulsion are typically applied to the following areas.
- 30cm from the bottom of the foundation pits and 30cm to the sides of the foundation.
- 30cm out to the earth refill around the foundation walls.
- The surface of soil directly below the floor slab should also be treated prior to pouring the concrete for the floor.
3. Creating Structural Barriers:
The third way to incorporate termite proofing into the pre-construction portion of a structure is to install a physical barrier that termites cannot penetrate.
Typically these barriers are either a galvanized steel barrier or a concrete layer a few inches thick. These barriers are only effective until the material begins to degrade which does happen over time, especially with sheet metal.
Specific Areas of Preconstruction Termite Treatment
Termite Treatment Before Pouring Slab
Termite Treatment Before Flooring
Termite Treatment Before Drywalling
Termite Treatment Before Painting
Termite Treatment Before Remodeling
Post-Construction Anti-Termite Treatment
Post-construction anti-termite treatment is precisely what it sounds like, termite treatment is conducted after the completion of the construction.
This typically consists of reapplying termiticides to the soil around the foundation of a floor slab of a structure after a long enough period of time has elapsed during which the chemical barrier in the soil has broken down.
The amount of time it takes for the chemical barriers to become ineffective depends on the size of your foundation, the size of the original termite trench/barrier, the type of chemical used, the drainage of the soil, and the amount of precipitation in the area, amongst other factors.
It is best to have a thorough termite inspection conducted at least annually, some places at high risk for termite infestation should have a complete termite inspection conducted bi-annually.
The above measures are the ideal way to prevent termites, by using proactive termite prevention strategies. However, many homeowners and businesses are forced to adopt a reactionary termite treatment strategy after discovering evidence of termite activity on their property.