How to prevent termites in timber houses

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Nothing else has quite the charm and appeal of a timber home. They speak to simpler times of log cabins in the woods and country cottages, but these days they are built with all of the comfort and modern technology of an inner city apartment. But as with any material there are issues you have to be aware of, and there is maintenance required. While timber houses with their natural ventilation are perfect for the warmer months, when the rains come they may attract some visitors.

We're talking of course about termites. A termite infestation can spell the end of your home if it is not recognised and dealt with swiftly, so it's always a better idea to prevent it from happening in the first place. That's why today we're looking at 9 tips to avoid a termite infestation, so that you never have to deal with the stress and worry of your furniture and home disappearing before your eyes!

1. Avoid properties on former forest or garden land

This is a good rule in general as nobody wants to be contributing to deforestation, but this land is also perfect for subterranean termites as the soil is rich in food sources. If it's unavoidable then you will first need to treat the wood with anti-termite spray, and potentially excavate the site, removing any sign of termite life, but really you're better off just not building your house on land that termites already call home.

2. Cleaning drains and gutters

Termites require moist conditions, and so you don't want to create the perfect environment for them by allowing your drains and gutters to get out of hand. Regular cleaning of your drains and gutters will keep your home dry and safe, and won't give termites anywhere to hide.

3. Repair leaky faucets

This one is also about ensuring that your home is dry, as a leaky faucet creates a perpetually moist environment. If you notice a drip, repair the faucet right away before it starts to attract unwelcome guests. Or you could replace the faucet altogether with something modern and new to ensure there'll be no drips, and to give your kitchen decor a boost; you can find plenty of options right here!

4. Don't leave stacked wood lying around

If you have a fireplace then proper storage of firewood is crucial to protecting your home from termites. Definitely don't store piles of wood immediately outside your house or it will serve as an appetiser. Instead keep your wood completely covered and dry, either inside your home, or in a secure shed.

5. Use quality wood

When it comes time to choose the timber for any element of your home, whether it's the garden fence or the house itself, avoid going for the cheapest option. While you might save a few dollars in the short term, that won't be much consolation if you then have to deal with a termite infestation. Talk to your architects or builders about a timber that is resilient, strong, and ideally not appealing to termites!

6. Check all ventilation

Any hole leading out of your home, be it window, skylight, or ventilation system, needs to be carefully and regularly checked and cleaned as any wood or paint chips will attract termites. You may also want to consider wire mesh on some exits to prevent insects from getting inside. 

7. Check garages and sheds

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With our busy lives sometimes we can go months without ever stepping foot in the garden shed. This of course means that you may already have an infestation, and you won't notice until they move onto your home. Prevent this by regularly cleaning your shed or garage and ensuring that it is dry and adequately lit.

8. Protection

Spray your entire home down with anti-termite spray to shield it from those tiny predators. This is the kind of job that needs to be done thoroughly and safely, so it's always best to call in professionals.

9. Lighting

You may have noticed that a lot of these anti-termite tips relate to caring for timber in general, as the same conditions that attract termites also attract mould and rot. That means no dark wet spaces, and the best way to avoid that is with good lighting. Ensure your entire home is well lit, with no hidden corners or nooks.

With these simple tips you can be sure your home is safe from terrorising termites. If you like timber homes then you're going to love these garden sheds, just be sure to protect them from termites!

Have you ever had experience with termites? Let us know in the comments!

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