Termites are destructive and can cause thousands of dollars of structural damage to your home. More than one in four homes are attached in their life time, with termite damage equating to over $100 million dollars in Australia per year. One way to protect your biggest financial investment is to invest in annual house inspections by a qualified professional for early termite detection. However, there are five essential things you can implement in your garden to decrease termite attack on your home.
Keeping it tidy
The easiest way to decrease termite attack, is to keep garden areas tidy. It’s best practice to not have gardens flush against the house, 75mm minimum is the closest any garden should be to your home. Termites can enter into the home via wall cavities, cracks in mortar and even concrete slabs. So keep garden beds and mulches away from house walls.
Also show caution with firewood and general rubbish. It’s best practice not to have these items piled against your house, keep them at a safe distance. With firewood, always source from a repeatable supplier and check for signs of termites before storing in your yard. Never stack firewood directly on soil, always keep elevated.
Use the right mulch
There is no debating that mulch is fantastic for the garden, assisting in keeping weeds at bay and increasing soil water retention. However many ‘bark’ mulches, particularly pine bark, are food for termites and really an open invitation for infestation. Cypress on the other hand, is naturally resistant to termites, which makes cypress mulch a more sensible choice when mulching your gardens closest to the house.
Early warning systems – Termite Baits
If your area has high termite activity, your best option for termite prevention is an annual inspection by a home inspection expert. However, over the other 363 days a termite bait may ease your anxiety over termite attack.
The concept of termite baits is very simple, normally a plastic chamber with a number of holes houses a piece of untreated timber, these chambers are buried in strategic locations throughout the garden. The idea is, if there is termite activity they will attack the timber in the bait systems first. Therefore allowing time for you to act before they infest your home.
Termite baits are really an early warning system and should not be considered an alternative or replacement for termite management systems.
Detection of damp
Whilst tap timers are incredible useful for busy households that love their garden, they can, if not fitted correctly, drip. Termites are attracted to damp timbers, so dripping external taps need to be dealt with swiftly. If a washer change or more sophisticated timing device doesn’t fix the problem, recruit the services of a qualified plumber.
If installing a water tank close to the house, consider a chemical reticulation system be installed in the ground before concreting. Whilst most poly tanks don’t tend to leak, it is an excellent safety precaution.
Using the right materials for new garden structures
It’s simple, don’t cheap out when purchasing materials for any new garden structures. Whether that be a new raised garden bed or a gazebo space, spend more. Purchase termite treated materials and build the structure to code to limit termite attack. Materials to consider when building garden beds include:
– Cypress timber beams
– Treated pine beams
– Galvanised raised garden solutions
– Concrete beams
If your unsure what building materials are correct for your project, contact your local building inspector.
The Queensland Building and Construction Commission recommends that building inspections should be carried out annually by a suitably qualified termite management contractor, such as Action Inspections.
Andrew Mackintosh has been answering home inspection questions in the greater Brisbane area since 1995. He has personally carried out over 20,000 building inspections and is a licensed builder and licensed building inspector, Member of Queensland Master Builders Association & Institute of Building Consultants. Being the business owner and the inspector at Action Inspections, Andrew is passionate about providing clients with excellent customer service, value for money, honest, unbiased, thorough inspection and reporting in a professional and timely manner to allow clients to make informed decisions when purchasing property.