The most effective, cost-efficient way to prevent subterranean termite infestations is to practice sound building techniques. Builders focus on two main conditions to help reduce termite activity, moisture and wood-to-ground contact.
There are several guidelines builders can follow during pre-construction to help reduce these conditions, including:
- Limit wood-to-soil contact by supporting wood with a concrete base.
- If wood must touch soil, use pressure-treated or termite-resistant wood.
- Do not bury cellulose materials (e.g. termite food sources like wood) at the building site, including underneath front porches.
- Slope soil away from the foundation to create proper drainage.
- Provide adequate ventilation in crawlspaces to help reduce moisture build-up.
- Keep wood in crawlspaces at least 18 inches aboveground to avoid soil contact.
- Install siding at least six inches above the soil to reduce entry points.
In areas where subterranean termite damage is common, builders should incorporate termite prevention and control methods. Builders regularly use the following techniques:
- Treat the layer of soil beneath a home with termiticide to offer proactive protection.
- Install a particle barrier made from sand or basaltic rock to help reduce access.
- Incorporate stainless steel mesh barriers or termite shields around the foundation and utility openings to help block entry points.
- Install termite bait and monitoring systems to check for activity.
Building code requirements for termite treatment for new construction outline which control methods should be used in areas where subterranean termite infestations are common. However, if you are building a custom home, you should discuss termite control for new construction with your builder.