Termite Prevention Around The Home
Here in Brisbane, the word termite sends shivers down the spines of homeowners for obvious reasons.
The damage termites can cause in a relatively short amount of time is staggering, and that’s the main reason they put the fear of god into homeowners.
But there are a few things that can be done by property owners to help keep their home free from termite attack.
Most people these days know that termites need moisture and they eat wood to survive.
There’s been so much attention on the television over the last few years, saying that termites are on the increase and what you need to do to stop them, but for the most part you never seem to actually get any real information on how to try and help keep your home termite free.
So here we will give you some good ideas in order to help keep them out, and it’s not that hard it just takes a little work on the home owner’s part.
Termite Prevention Water Pooling
As mentioned earlier we know termites need moisture, so one very important thing that needs to be done is to ensure that there is as little water pooling around the house as possible.
This can be done by ensuring that the plumbing on the house is in proper working order.
So no leaking outside taps, usually outside taps are screwed to the wall, so if they leak the water drips right down into the footings of the house, not what you want if you wanting to keep termites out.
Ensure gutters are in good working order and are plumbed into the correct stormwater pipes; this will lead any rainwater from the roof away from around the edges of the property.
Where air-conditioning drain pipes come out of the wall, ensure they are away from the house; this can be easily done by attaching an extra bit of pipe to lead the water away.
Termite Prevention Subfloors
If your home has a subfloor, it’s important to check that the ground underneath is damp, if it is it can be from water seeping under into the subfloor area during heavy rain or even excessive watering of garden beds.
To help dry out subfloor areas there needs to be plenty of natural ventilation, so make sure that the vents around the property that lead into the subfloor are clear of any rubbish and that they are in good condition.
With older homes, it may even be wise to replace old vents in these areas with new ones that will let more air flow through to the subfloor.
Homes with subfloors are at high risk of termite attack if not properly looked after and checked at least once a year by a trained and licensed termite specialist.
Also make sure there is no old building rubbish such as old pieces of wood and even cardboard boxes kept under subfloors, as this is all conducive to termite attack (Keep subfloor areas clean and tidy)
Termite Prevention Gutters
As shown in the pictures it’s best to either run your downpipes into the proper stormwater drain or as in this case when a property is on an acreage block, ensure they have an extra pipe fitted to them leading the water away from the footings or edges of the property.
Don’t forget the more moisture that makes it’s way down close to the footings of any building, the more likely it is to end up with a termite problem.
If your home doesn’t have any gutter protection on them like a gutter guard, make sure they are kept clean and free from leaves etc.
A build-up of leaves in the gutters will build up moisture and reduce the air flow in and around the inside of the eaves on a house; this can lead to mould forming inside the house.
Where there’s mould there’s moisture and where there’s moisture there is a higher risk of termite attack. Some termite species can easily survive without ground contact, by using just the moisture found within the wood. Sorting out the gutters around the home is a great termite prevention method.
Termite Prevention Garden Beds
This is one we have trouble trying to convince a customer to do, and that is to have no plants up again the wall or footings of the house.
If you have some very expensive plants and scrubs up against the house, you obviously want to water them or they’ll die.
The thing with watering plants is the soil becomes constantly wet, and yes you guessed it that makes the area conducive to termite attack.
As shown in the picture, if at all possible try to keep plants in plant pots, this makes watering much better in terms of not wetting the ground around the foundations.
Where possible run river pebbles around the outside of the property, then have plant pots on top of the pebbles.
Plant pots can look great these days, and you don’t have to go out and buy the most expensive ones in the shop, the cheaper plastic ones look great with a coat of paint, it’s worth looking into and it may save your house from some serious damage.
If using wood around the edges of a garden bed or as shown in the picture, ensure you have the correct type; the wood in the picture is H4 treated pine which is suitable for in ground use.
Wood And Materials Against The House
Wood is the worst thing that anyone can leave lying around the house or stacked up against the wall of a house, this is an absolute No No.
As you can see in this picture some of the wood is just plain pine and some of it is treated pine, it’s not a good idea at all to have either one left this close to any property.
Some may say but its treated pine it’s ok, but no it’s not, there are different grades of treated pine, and the one in this picture is H2 treated intended for above ground and internal use only.
This wood has the treatment on the outside of the wood only, the treatment doesn’t go through to the centre, so once the builder cuts the end, the centre is then exposed to termite attack, another reason why all homes need a termite inspection done each and every year.
No builder re-coats the cut ends with a Termicide before the piece of wood is installed into a house or building leaving it exposed to attack by termites.
The best termite prevention advice to anyone would be to keep wood piles and materials away from the external walls, this is a must.
Treated Pine Products
H2 – For use above ground and internal only
H3 – For use outside above ground only
H4 – For outside use and can be used in the ground.
H5 – Can be used outside and in the ground where timber may be subject to extreme wetting.
H6- Where the wood is subject to prolonged immersion in seawater.
Make sure if doing any DIY projects around the home that you follow the correct codes when it comes to the type of timber to be used for each situation, it can save you thousands down the track, (If in doubt seek professional advice first)
Hopefully, this will give some the urge to be proactive in the fight against termites, the more you can do yourself around the home to prevent termites the better.
By working with your local termite professional you can have the best chances of never having to deal with the stress and frustration that these little pests can cause.
You will need to work closely with your termite company and ask for any advice before doing major works around the house including any garden projects, especially if a termite barrier has been installed, as this could jeopardise the warranty.
For myself as a termite technician I don’t want to have to come out to your home and get rid of termites, I’d rather you just didn’t get them in the first place, and by following these simple steps I’ve given you, you will have a much better chance of keeping them out.
Remember even if you take all my advice as set out here in this blog, it is still important you have a termite inspection done of your home every 12 months.
Trained termite technicians understand the feeding and harbouring habits of termites, and have the correct equipment to properly inspect a home, so don’t risk it get it checked.