Plastics help keep termites out of the New American Home

Plastics help keep termites out of the New American Home

TERM Barrier keeps termited out of the New American HomeOrlando, Fla. - Walk inside the New American Home (TNAH) 2017 and a couple steps beyond the entry area you find yourself outside again...

Polyguard CEO John Muncaster said the wrap, which was developed with entomologists at Texas A&M University, has a thick polyethylene backing to keep bugs, particularly termites, at bay. The top layer is made of a polypropylene fabric so concrete can bond with the fibers if it’s used as a barrier for the underslab, which is a common entry point for subterranean termites. A proprietary sealant is used to hold the plastic fiber and film together.

“This has been tested long term in the lab and in the field and it resists termites,” Muncaster said. “We don’t why. We don’t know everything about what makes them tick.”

The combination of the sealant and two plastics simply can’t be penetrated by voracious-eating termites. The three materials seem to have sound-deadening qualities for the insects, and that could be factor, Muncaster said, or it could be related to the barrier’s odor and moisture control.

“We’re putting the house in a sealant bag, really,” he said. “Not only the bottom, where so many insects come in, but up the walls at the seams there can be openings. Our goal is to seal all gaps wherever possible. You can almost keep all insects out.”

In new construction, if incorporated into the design stage, the Term system can seal plumbing openings, bath traps, base flashing, window flashing, vent holes, flooring underlayment and joints in addition to foundation and underslab barriers. No system can keep out every bug, but this one comes close, Muncaster said.

In remodeled houses, the Term system can protect sill plates, seam and window flashing, underlayments for replaced floors, and more if it’s a major renovation.

“We think it has the potential to take sustainable construction up another level and help people live better and more comfortably,” Muncaster said, noting that water and energy conservation have long been goals of green builders. “We’ve got something new. I don’t think anybody in America has ever taken a systems look at construction to exclude insects and other pests. That’s what we’re doing.”

Polyguard’s barrier system also was used at the 4,631-square-foot the New American Remodeled Home (TNARH), which NAHB did this year for the first time since 2007. It’s in the same gated community. [read more...]

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