Termites, Treated Lumber, & Termite Proof Lumber
Termites get their nutrition from cellulose. They usually get the cellulose by eating wood. This is beneficial if the termites are eating a decaying stump or a fallen tree. However, when there are no fallen trees, termites will eat the wood in homes.
Each year, termites attack thousands of homes. This forces homeowners to spend millions of dollars to treat termites and to repair the damage that they cause. To help reduce the cost of repairing termite damage, scientists have worked with builders to develop ways to prevent termites from attacking homes.
There are several types of wood that are naturally resistant to termite attack. Cedar and redwood are common termite–resistant woods. However, these woods may be too expensive to be used in every part of home construction.
There is specially treated lumber available. It is often called pressure-treated lumber. This is lumber that has been impregnated with a preservative. The preservative makes the lumber resistant to termites and decay.
Many building codes require that this pressure–treated lumber must be used wherever wood will be touching the soil. Codes also require pressure treated wood to be used for below ground installations. Pressure treated lumber is used in parts of a new home. It is also often used for decks and other outdoor construction.
Experts recommend applying a sealer to treated lumber when it will be exposed to the weather. This is because over time, water can remove the preservative from the lumber, leaving it vulnerable to termite attack.
Borate products can be used to treat wood that has already been used in a home. These borate products can be sprayed or brushed onto the surface of lumber. The borate material is absorbed into the lumber. It does not affect the strength or appearance of the wood.
The borate material stays in the wood unless the wood becomes saturated with water. The borate makes the wood toxic to termites that try t eat it. The borate also protects the wood against decay and wood-boring beetles.
Some of these borate products must be diluted with water before application. The materials can be difficult to mix. The application often requires special sprayers. It can be challenging for many homeowners to apply these products.
Many termite control professionals offer borate applications to protect lumber against termite attack. Many homeowners find it simpler to let these experts make the application.