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It’s about the building envelope

Whether you are designing, building, or already living in a home you don’t want leaks. Luckily, most structures today are built to stop water and energy leaks.

But now, installing the same materials in the building envelope can stop termite leaks. This is especially important if you are building in warm and moist parts of the country. In these areas millions of termites live close by in colonies located inside trees and underground.

Termites and other pests find their way into buildings from the outside. They penetrate through the building envelope; the ground level slab, foundation walls, and above grade exterior. This envelope can be a commercial structure or a residential one. Water enters the building envelope through cracks, joints, or gaps in the envelope. So do termites and Insects. That’s why it’s important to have both a waterproofing system with a built in termite barrier.

Most insects are foraging, searching to find a way inside. They seek a warm and dry place to live, protected from predators, with food nearby. Most buildings fill all three of these needs, and thus present an attractive target. Termites, however, are a special problem. According to Pest Control Technology Magazine, termites cause $5 billion per year in damage across the US.

Here are the reasons:

  • If termites can’t find an entry point, they often chew their way in. Subterranean termites can chew through most construction materials.
  • Termites are one of the smallest insects on Earth. They only need about a 1/50th inch (0.51 mm) opening to enter a structure.
  • Lastly, If you live in warm and moist climates where Formosan termites (Coptotermes formosanus) reside, you will find one or more Formosan colonies around most buildings. Formosan colonies have 1,000,000 termites.

Outside of Formosan termite areas, the most common subterranean termite is the Eastern subterranean (Reticulitermes flavipes). Their colonies house about 10,000.

Subterranean termites, as their name implies, mostly come from underground. They can also emerge from underground and climb up the sides of exposed concrete perimeters through protective "mud tubes".

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