Maintenance and Inspection Guidelines to Protect Your Home from Termites

Dennis R. Ring, Reichel, Claudette Hanks

Treatments for termites must be integrated with proper maintenance. Eliminate as many conditions conducive to termite infestations as possible by following the five general categories of rules.

It is important to inspect a home for termites at least annually.

1. Do not give termites easy access to the house.

  • Eliminate soil-to-wood contact.
  • Install wood siding, doors, windows and latticework at least 6 inches above ground level.
  • Support outdoor wood porches and steps on a concrete base extending at least 1 inch above ground level.
  • Do not allow any non-structural wood and tree branches to touch a house.

2. Do not provide termites with moisture.

Place gutters and slope yard so that surface water drains away from the house. Be sure air conditioning condensation drains away from house. Be sure moisture does not enter windows, doors and siding.

  • Repair leaks of roof, gutter, downspouts and plumbing promptly.
  • Ensure sufficient clearance between soil and structural wood in crawl spaces to ensure adequate cross-ventilation.
  • Keep mulched beds and gardens 3 feet away from the foundation.

3. Eliminate hidden access to a house.

  • Do not place fill dirt beneath porches, terraces or steps.
  • Do not extend stucco or foam insulation below the ground.
  • Do not disturb the chemical barrier after soil treatment.
  • Prevent and fix cracks in concrete walls, piers and slabs.

4. Minimize the amount of wood available for termites.

  • Remove all scrap wood, form boards and grade stakes used in construction.
  • Remove all wooden debris and cellulose material from under and around the house.
  • Remove rotten or destroyed structural wood and replace it with properly pressure-treated wood or non-cellulose material.
  • Store woodpiles away from house, and make sure they are raised off the ground.
  • Paint or seal all exterior wood.

5. Inspect your property frequently for termites.

  • If a property is to be treated, get at least three licensed companies to inspect the property. They will make a diagram of the property showing the proposed treatments and give you an estimate.
  • Ask for a copy of the company's bond, insurance and contract.
  • Ask to see copies of the labels and material safety data sheets (MSDS) for the termiticides to be used. Remember that material safety data sheets are written for first responders and worst case scenarios.
  • Use the above information to compare prices and services.
  • Read the contract carefully. It's a legal contract!
3/22/2005 3:06:07 AM
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