What would happen if termites got into your house? Destruction. It’s estimated that these demon bugs cause $30 billion in damages each year. Don’t let your home figure into that total.
But how do they get in? There are several access points for their next meal, but one common, and dangerous, spot is your deck: the perfect bridge. Now the question is, how do you stop them from reaching that point? It’s really expensive, and if you lose your home, you’re out of it, so it’s best to avoid that. Obviously.
Yes, it may take a few years for the termites to move from the deck to the house, but it still pays to be safe and take care of everything so it doesn’t happen.
One method of prevention is using the right type of wood. So, if you want to redo your deck, or hope to get one installed by a custom decking builder in Colorado, you may want to consider using one of these types of wood.
Composite wood isn’t just wood; it’s mixed with plastic. Not only is it lower maintenance (you don’t need to sand or stain it, and you don’t need to worry about warping or rot), but it’s insect resistant.
This option isn’t a 100% guarantee to stop termites. However, it is a fantastic deterrent, at least for the next several years.
- Naturally resistant
There are several wood types that have been blessed with a natural resistance to termites. Cedar, redwood and cypress all meet this criterion.
Building it right
One thing to request of your porch builders is that they prevent the wood from actually touching the soil. This makes it much easier for termites to burrow into you deck, especially if there’s nothing else preventing them from getting in.
Maintenance also plays an important role in keeping termites at bay.
- Gutters and other drainage areas
Keep your gutters clean and clear. If these get clogged, the water just sits there, and that’s the perfect welcome mat for just about any bug, not just termites, as they need it to thrive and survive. You also need to make sure your yard has good drainage, or else puddles will form and cause the same problems as the gutter.
- Plant growth
Another thing that can be detrimental in their attack, and even attract termites, is the mold that can be caused by plant growth. Whether it be potted plants or bushes in the yard, you need to be careful. Mold can grow under the pots so make sure you keep them clean. Potted plants can also trap moisture, which is a termite magnet. The same goes for unpotted plants growing in the soil around your deck. They’ll trap the moisture in the deck and ground, attracting the termites. So, keep the plants pruned and raked, and you won’t have as many problems.
Old tree stumps are another problem. Once these start to decay, they become food and a habitat for termites. Once that’s gone, they’ll have little choice but to move on to the closest structure: your home. So, if you have any stumps in the yard, make plans to get rid of them.
- Stain and paint
If your deck is made of the right materials, you’ll need to paint or stain it. Doing that creates a beautiful shield that can prevent those wood-munchers from ruining everything. However, they can get through even the small cracks in this barrier, so you’ll need to re-apply it every year or two.
- Mulch and sand
Not only do mulch and sand make it easier to care for the area, but they help prevent termites.
Since cedar is a natural deterrent, cedar mulch would do a fantastic job of warding off termites. Just make sure you replace this ground covering from time-to-time.
Sand is another barrier that’s good for subterranean termites specifically, as it keeps them from burrowing.
Checking for damage
If you want to see if your deck has been infested by termites, there are several ways to check without using a professional’s help.
Walk across your deck and bounce along the way. It should feel hard. If it feels springy, mark that spot. You can also tap on the wood and if it has a hollow sound, that’s a symptom of termites too. Finally, you can just look at the wood. If it’s sunken and rippled, that’s a sign that termites have been feasting.
If you’ve found that termites have infested your beloved yard, contact professionals to come get rid of them. If you want to build your own deck with prevention in mind, contact SRI Decks, and find out what makes us one of Denver’s most respected custom deck installers.