One of the main questions people ask when they are considering owning a log home is whether this will increase their risk for termites. In general, log homes are no more susceptible to termites than other types of homes built with wood with proper maintenance. There are a number of ways you can address and prevent termite infestations, both while building a log home and while living in a wood home long-term.
Before You Build
If you are still in the planning stage of building your log home, there are some steps you can take to prevent termite infestations and prevent other insects, such as carpenter ants, from getting into your wood home as well. It is important to plan ahead, because simple steps during construction can make a big difference in the long run in ensuring your log cabin remains termite-free.
Design - When designing the home, make sure there is at least eight inches between the ground and the wood, which will prevent termites from burrowing directly into the logs from the ground. You can also add a termite shield, a thin piece of copper flashing, on top of the log home foundation, which will block any termites in the soil from making it to the wood logs of your home.
Keep a clean environment - One of the main things that attract termites is soft wood, so be sure to keep the environment where you are building your log home free of debris and decaying wood. If you need to clean brush or wood before building, ensure it is disposed of properly.
Soil treatments - Warmer parts of the country, like Central Washington, can sometimes be more prone to termites. Treating the soil with an insecticide prior to building can help prevent termites before they arrive.
Maintaining Log Homes to Prevent Termites
It is important to complete regular maintenance on your log home – just like any home that you hope will last for years to come! In addition to regularly cleaning or refinishing your log home, you should also add termite prevention to your to-do list. Here are a few suggestions to make your home less appealing to termites:
Keep shrubs, trees and brush trimmed away from the exterior of your log home
When staining, painting or finishing your log home, add a wood stain additive or insecticide to the product, which acts as a poison to kill and repel insects, including termites or carpenter ants.
If a tree has been cut down, remove excess wood and stumps, as these may attract termites as they rot.
Be mindful of moisture gathering around your home. Repair leaky faucets, water pipes and AC units so moisture does not gather on the wood, and make sure sprinklers or irrigation systems do not cause water to accumulate near the home.
Regularly replace weather stripping, loose mortar and roof shingles to keep standing water out of the home.
Keep gutters and downspouts clean, clear and functioning properly.
Keep firewood or extra wood cuttings stored away from the home.
Recognizing Termite Infestations
As with any home, part of your duty as the owner of a log home is to keep an eye on the exterior of your home, watching for any problems with the wood. In addition to other common log home issues, you will want to keep an eye out for signs of a termite infestation in your log home. Signs include:
Termite droppings near the log home
Noises or tapping in the walls
Seeing termites – a small, ant-like insect with white wings
Soft spots or dark spots on the wood
Tunnels or tubes in the mud around your homes
Small holes in the wood of your log home
Getting Rid of Termites in Log Homes
The best way to get rid of a termite infestation in a log home is to call an exterminator or a professional. If you see any of the above signs on your log home, termites may already be moving in, so you want to act fast. The earlier you catch the problem, the easier and cheaper it will be to treat the termite infestation in your log home. More damage is done over time, which can result in costly repairs.
Products for Preventing Termites
In addition to regular maintenance around your home and yard to prevent termites, you can also add products such as the Walla Walla Environmental Bug Juice to your stain or paint when updating both the exterior and interior of your log home. This product is safe for the home, but kills and repels insects such as termites and carpenter ants.
Are you searching for products to help keep your log home termite free? Contact the team at Lovitt’s Coatings for professional assistance and guidance to keep your wood home safe.