identifying the presence of pests before an infestation

« Back to Home

3 Home Improvement Materials That Can Protect Your Older Home From Termites

Posted on

Modern builders carefully select home designs and construction materials for their ability to preemptively deter termites. Tall concrete foundations, treated lumber frames and steel mesh barriers are all integrated into these structures to keep these destructive insects at bay. If your home was built without these protective elements, you may need to reinforce your existing structure with protective home improvement materials to stop your residence from falling prey to hungry colonies of termites. Here are three home improvement materials you can use to keep termites from breaching the perimeter of your home.


Although termites can bore through wood materials with ease, they will almost always take the path of least resistance and travel through existing holes and cracks in your building's exterior. The most common entry point is around windows, doors and vents in your home.

When your home was built, builders applied a thin layer of caulk around those features to keep bugs and drafts out. Over time, the caulk wears down and starts to peel back. You can visually inspect the caulk to spot any missing or thinned areas that indicate a need for its replacement. If the caulk is in poor shape, simply peel it off with a putty knife and reapply using a caulk gun.   

Vapor Barrier

In areas with high humidity, you can protect the wood in your home from termite infestations by installing vapor barrier across the top of the crawlspace. The vapor barrier will keep moisture from penetrating the wood materials and softening them up for termites. Moisture penetration acts like a marinade for the wood materials, making them even tastier to the termites and easier to bore through.

You must use vapor barrier that is at least 6mil in thickness to effectively control moisture and deter termites. Staple the barrier in place while making sure that the plastic does not tear around the edges. You want to stretch the material slightly as you go to prevent gaps and create a tight, secure fit.

Rubber Mulch

When you cover your garden beds with wood mulch, you are essentially giving termites an appetizer before they start on their full course meal, also known as your house. The wood mulch is especially dangerous when placed right up against the foundation of your home. Wood-based mulch will not necessarily attract termites to your residence, but it does give them something to feed on as they work their way into your home.

You can replace your plant-based garden covering with rubber mulch to eliminate this tasty termite snack. If you have chemical termite control products in your soil, you must rake your mulch back about one foot from the foundation to allow the treatment to work properly.  

Keeping Your Home Termite Free

Before you invest your time and money in retrofitting your home with these building materials, have your residence thoroughly inspected by a professional for the presence of troublesome termites. If termites have already bored through the exterior materials to enter your home, additional protective elements will not do you any good. A pest control expert can fully inspect your home and yard to spot the telltale signs of a termite infestation.

If termites are found during the inspection, you can have your home and yard treated to kill off the termites, so you can start anew. Your pest control professional may find areas severely damaged by termites if they were inside your home unnoticed for a long period of time. If this is the case, you will also need to have the damage repaired to keep your home structurally sound for years to come. Contact a pest control company that specializes in termite elimination for more information.