Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Concrete Structures and Termites

One of the most dangerous of termite related myths is that if you live in a house made of concrete or brick, you don’t have to worry about them. True, termites do not eat concrete or brick. But there will always be wood in almost any building.

Where the Damage Occurs

While concrete block construction reduces the amount of wood used in a building, it does not completely eliminate, the use of it. There will be wood on the walls and in the form of fixtures on the floor. Wood will often run down to the floor slab and this will attract subterranean termites, which live underground but climb up to feed on available wood. There are also wooden strips, known as “furring”, which are placed inside the building’s concrete walls to provide a mounting surface on which dry walls can be erected. These offer an easy pathway for termites to spread through the building.

Another species, known as dry wood termites, do not need a wooden connection to the ground to enter a concrete structure. Swarms of these pests travel through the air and can enter a building through any above ground openings. The most common way of entry is through the attic or storage spaces close to the roof. They begin feeding here and work their way down in search for more food.

How They Get In

  • There are usually minute cracks in the slabs that some buildings are built on. These occur when the new concrete is drying or when soil under the buildingsettles. The cracks provide easy access to termites. Termites are known to travel under carpeting from the crack to the nearest wall where they consume the wooden sills and studs.
  • Where concrete slabs meet, there are what are known as expansion joints. Car ports, bay windows patios and garages often have separate slabs from the main building. Termites can crawl up these gaps to enter a building.
  • The slabs under a building have openings in the concrete to allow pipes to enter the structure. If an opening is not completely sealed around the pipe, the small gaps that remain are enough for termites to enter and start eating the wood in the wallswhere the pipes run.

If you see tiny mud tubes on the exterior or interior foundation walls of your building, then this is an indication there are termites present. These tubes are their highway between their nests and the wood that is their food source. Finding these tubes is not easy, often only a professional is the only person who can spot them.
 
The longer termites infest a building, the more damage they cause. Spotting the early signs of termite infestation is not easy.A regular check of your building, by a professional termite inspector, will ensure the presence of termites is caught in time before serious damage occurs. There are different species of termites and different types of damage. A full service termite control company that can do the inspection and has the equipment to provide a full range of termite treatment options is the best way to protect your building or your home.