Built with sheet metal, termite shields can help make termites’ attempts to access your home more visible. When installed correctly, termite shields create a physical barrier between termites and your home’s aboveground wooden construction. While termite shields provide separation between the soil and your home, they do not prevent termite infestations.
To try to gain entry into your home, termites will build mud tubes on and around the termite shield. As compared to other possible locations for infestations, termite shields make activity more visible – better alerting your termite expert to an infestation.
Termite shields should be made of materials that resist rust and corrosion, such as galvanized iron, galvanized steel or copper. Galvanization is a process through which steel or iron is coated with zinc, which prevents the chemical reaction that causes rust. Galvanized iron termite shields or copper shields are the most common in homes.
Why Do Metal Termite Shields Deter Termites?
Worker and soldier termites avoid light. They may be comfortable hiding underneath the termite shield but they will not be comfortable coming to the top of the shield. If they travel to the top of the termite shield looking for food, their mud tubes will be visible – a signal for you to call a termite expert.
Mud tubes built around the edge of sheet metal will be weak. It is difficult for termites to keep mud tubes in good repair on metal shields. This maintenance challenge can lead the colony to abandon the route altogether.
In addition to forming a physical barrier, metal termite shields also can prevent dampness from seeping up a masonry wall into the wooden structures of your home. (Damp wood is prone to rot, which can make your home more attractive to termites.)
Where Are Metal Termite Shields Installed?
Metal termite shields line the top of concrete or masonry walls, pipes or piers; shields are effective only at deterring subterranean termites from entering areas directly above the masonry wall. Other proactive measures should be taken to help prevent termites from entering cracks in your home’s foundation and masonry walls. This additional protection is important, especially if you have a finished basement where walls can hide termite activity in the basement.
In deck construction, sheet metal can be used as a shield between the ground and the wooden timbers above.