One of the biggest concerns many wood home owners have is pests, including termites, beetles and ants that can damage the wood of the home. Many times, wood-boring pests go undetected for long period of time, causing thousands of dollars in damage before they are discovered. However, there are steps homeowners can take to protect the wood of their log home, including borate treatment.
What is borate treatment?
Borate is a mineral that is mined from California; when applied to wood, it makes the wood poisonous, so pests will not feed on the affected wood. If borate powder (or a wood product containing or coated with borate powder) is consumed, it kills the microorganisms that produce enzymes in the insect’s stomach. This means the insect cannot absorb nutrients and will die.
Types of borate treatment
There are three main types of borate treatments that are available to use on your log home or wood cabin. These are powdered borate, liquid borate and concentrated glycol borate. Each has a different application technique, as well as pros and cons. All three are commercially available and designed to be used on log homes.
This type of product comes in a powdered form, which is mixed with water and ready to apply to wood. Powdered borate is most effective to wood that is not directly exposed to water or the elements, such as interior wood, as water can wash the borate out of the wood. After applying powdered borate, follow with a wood stain to lock in the borate and prevent it from leaching out of the wood. This is generally the most recommended type of borate product.
This product is ready to use! Liquid borate comes as a premixed solution that is sprayed on the wood. After a day or two, this product is absorbed and dry, so homeowners can stain over the solution to prevent leaching. However, liquid borate may not penetrate the wood or be as effective as powdered borate products.
Concentrated glycol borate
This product uses the glycol as a carrier to penetrate deeper into the wood than water-based products. It is designed to be brushed or sprayed onto the wood. It can take two to four weeks to penetrate, but does not need any type of stain or sealer over the top.
How long does borate treatment last?
Since there are no natural forces that break down borate, it will remain in the wood indefinitely. However, water damage and other erosive elements can wash the borate treatment off the wood, so be sure to seal the treatment with a stain or other sealant after applying the borate. To be safe, you can reapply borate treatments every six to 10 years to ensure maximum protection. Contact your local coating and wood home preservation store for information about the best practices for your area.