Trouble in Paradise

Submitted by: Jill Heidorf, Manager - Technical Sales - Barrier Systems Division

Paradise had problems too!

Have you ever been to Hawaii? A common question from us here on the “Mainland.” Hawaii is our 50th state, as of August 21, 1959. It is our only state that is made up of islands which are the tops of volcanoes. It is easy to think of these islands as tropical, beautiful destinations, vacation paradises and weather that is always balmy and breezy. What we don’t think of when we think of Hawaii, is it has its share of pest problems too! Subterranean termites (species Reticules Formosan) are not only active year-round, but they also thrive in the tropical moist environment.

Building in Hawaii takes on several complications, expansive clay soils make it hard to keep concrete slabs from moving and shifting, the natural underground springs of water make it difficult to keep water from seeping into concrete slabs, and now don’t forget the termites that are always present and foraging and swarm on still nights anytime from May to June looking for new homes.

Building a new home in Oahu, where the capital Honolulu is located and home to 1 million people, typically means you are demolishing an existing home and building on its’ site.  Most homes there have been around since the 1950s through 1980s and there is not as much new land available for sale as on the other islands.

Building a home into the side of the island where elevations can reach over 4000 ft, it is important to protect your structure against water infiltration and termites. Let’s face it; there is not a lot of flat or level land on Hawaiian islands.

The first step is determining what kind of Underslab protection you need is to know where your water table is. What? How do I know that? A Soil Engineer should be up to the task of knowing where the water sets and rises underground, and just how the water flows underground. Interesting, huh?

Most of us don’t need to know all of this and aren’t expected to know it, as this has been calculated already for us in the neighborhoods that we are building a spec home in. But it is nice to know just how much building science is out there for us to protect our foundations from water, termites, radon, pests, and other nuisances.

Join me in relishing that we don’t need to know or understand everything about building sciences and what is available for the masses, just know that there are great products already tested and available now for your new home or project that will keep your slab safe, dry and bug-free for life!

Now that’s paradise no matter where you build your next home.

 

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