3 Upgrades to Protect Your Home from Subterranean Termites

Posted on: 6 March 2017

Once subterranean termites settle into an area, they can become quite a problem throughout a community. This type of termite lives in colonies below ground, burrowing up to invade homes and other structures. Colonies can contain up to 1,000,000 insects!

Fighting a subterranean termite infestation can be very difficult, so if you own a home in an area where subterranean termites are becoming an issue, it's worth your while to take some preventative measures. Here are three upgrades you can make to your home (and property) to reduce your chances of termites invading.

Fiber Cement Siding

If your home is currently sided with wooden planks, you're at a very high risk for termite damage. Exterior cladding that comes into contact with the soil is one of the most common initial points of entry for termites. And once they've entered the siding, they can work their way into structural beams, causing serious damage.

Consider replacing your wooden siding with fiber cement siding. This type of siding is made from wood pulp mixed with concrete. It looks like wood, but because the wood fibers are combined with cement, they are not appealing to termites. Fiber cement siding is also resistant to rot, making it a good choice in most environments.

While having it applied to your home may seem costly, keep in mind that it's a lot less expensive than having to rebuild after termites have destroyed your structural beams. Plus, fiber cement siding will last up to 50 years, so you shouldn't have to replace your siding again.

A Drainage System

Subterranean termites prefer to live in moist soil, and they also prefer moist wood. If the soil near the base of your home is wet, you're at an increased risk for an infestation. So another upgrade you may want to make is having a drainage system installed in your yard. A contractor can install drain tile or a series of drain pipes to shuttle water away from the base of your home and towards the edge of your property—or even a street drain.

If your property is already fairly well-draining, a contractor may just recommend banking the soil near your home up a bit. This way, more water will drain downhill away from your home.

Non-Wooden Out Buildings

If you have any sheds or outbuildings that are constructed from wood, they may be quite attractive to termites. This type of building is not usually as protected from the soil (such as with a concrete foundation) as a home, so it's easy for termites to invade.

Once the colony expands to your shed, they may invade your home next! It might sound excessive, but knocking down your wooden sheds and replacing them with vinyl or aluminum structures is a smart move when you live in a termite-prone area. There are plenty of pre-fab sheds you can purchase at home improvement stores and assemble yourself.

If you choose not to replace your wooden sheds, at least keep the area around your wooden shed well-drained and cleaned up. Don't let it get overgrown with brush, and amend your yard drainage system so water does not puddle up near the shed. Keep the wood in good shape with regular staining, painting, and water protection. This will make the shed less appealing to termites—though not as unappealing as aluminum or vinyl.

With a good drainage system, fiber cement siding, and non-wood outbuildings, you should be pretty safe from termites. If you do notice signs of termite damage, such as chew marks in wooden structures or the presence of frass (termite feces) contact an exterminator sooner rather than later. Click here for more info on how to upgrade your fiber cement siding to avoid pests of all kinds.