Tips For Preventing Termites
You would think that a log home would be a big attraction for termites, but luckily they are no more susceptible to termite invasion than a wooden framed home. In fact, if termites do for some reason take up residence in your log home, it is much easier to detect at an early stage and therefore prevent extensive damage. In any case, there are positive steps you can take to make sure termites are never a problem in the first place.
It all starts with the logs. If you can start your termite prevention efforts early in the game, all the better. Logs can be pressure treated before construction of your home with chemicals that will make them uninhabitable for termites and other wood eating insects. Choosing high quality lumber that resists moisture in the first place is also a good decision. Termites need moisture to live, so anything you can do to prevent your wood from retaining water will help deter termites.
Other tactics during construction can also help keep termites away. After the foundation is built, installation of a bent piece of sheet metal called a termite shield will keep any termites from crawling up the foundation to the sill of the home. Talk to your contractor and make sure they take away all the excess wood scraps from the building site, and that they don’t bury them. Decomposing wood is where termites get started, so you don’t want to give them any extra help. Also remove any old tree stumps from the property.
Certain maintenance tasks will help keep termites away from your log home. Make sure your rain gutters are clean and that water is draining away from the foundation. If you use sprinklers, point them away from the house. When landscaping, do not build up mulch beds so high that they touch the wood above the foundation and retain moisture.
It is important to stain your logs with a quality product that is designed specifically for log homes. Your typical wood deck stain from the local hardware store isn’t up to the task. Make sure the logs are coated evenly and thoroughly, covering all of the bare and exposed wood. If the wood on the house is older and already weathered, check for areas where the stain has worn off and restain them. These are vulnerable areas that need to be protected.
Borate treatments are also a popular way to condition the logs of your house to prevent termite infestation. Borates are chemicals with insecticidal and antifungal properties. They can be mixed with stains and other products without affecting the final finish of the wood, and are non corrosive so they won’t eat away at any metal fasteners or parts. And, borates are economical and non toxic to mammals and plants, making it a good environmental choice.
So while you really don’t have any more to worry about than other homeowners when it comes to termites, it’s a good idea to take the above precautions. That way you’ll rest easy and get years of enjoyment living in your log home.
Image via Flickr by mpaulk2012