Sheets, Stones, Screens
We asked ourselves, “How can we improve our waterproofing products.” From this rive for innovation we developed a multiple layered system that not only keeps water out, but insects as well. The most destructive of these insects being termites. This termite barrier technology results from 18 years of work with entomology scientists from Texas A&M and other universities.
The first layer of protection comes from Polyguard sheet waterproofing. Polyguard has produced millions of square feet of sheet materials that have protected buildings around the
world. But the overall system contains two new materials.
Stones and screens, engineered to act as a termite barrier, are widely used in Hawaii, Australia, and other parts of the world where termite problems exist. TERM Particle Barrier
blocks termites around the perimeter of a structure, at slab blockouts, and in masonry cavities. TERM particle barrier is exactly sized and shaped stone particles. These particles are
between 8 and 14 mesh. A mesh is a screen opening. At 8 mesh the particle is still classified as a small stone granule, at 14 mesh the particle is classified as very coarse sand.
In addition to size, another important factor is its angularity. It packs together firmly. Once installed termites can’t tunnel up from underneath and can’t tunnel down to get moisture from the soil leaving the house. They can’t crawl through the particles and they can’t move the particles. The colony then can’t get the moisture it needs to survive.
Screen termite barriers were developed in Australia in the 80’s. These screens have openings of 0.018”, which termites can’t penetrate. Screen barriers are used around the Pacific. In
the TERM Barrier System our Micro-mesh 02 Barrier is used for masonry weep holes and in bath traps.
Breaking & Entering
Subterranean termites, as their name implies, mostly come from underground, through cracks, joints, penetrations, or other gaps in the concrete slab or foundation. They also emerge from below ground and build protective “mud tubes” up the sides of exposed concrete perimeters.
The reason America’s two main termite species are called “subterranean termites” is because they do most of their foraging underground. Here are four subterranean termite facts:
- Termites are almost the world’s smallest insect. Many can get through a 1/50” gap.
- According to Pest Management Professional magazine, termites can’t chew through steel or concrete, but they can chew through many construction materials, including plastic, most sealants, plaster, foam insulation, wallboard, cloth, and thin copper or lead sheeting.
- Termite colonies can be underground, in trees, in woodpiles, or in your home.
- Formosan termite colonies can contain several million. The more widespread, and less aggressive Eastern
Subterranean termite can have several hundred thousand in a colony.
Gaps In The Structure
Even a new structure has many termite entry points. Underground, termites can enter through joints, slab penetrations for plumbing or electrical, or bath traps and mop sinks. As a structure ages, forces of nature such as soil settlement, wind, heat/cold cycles, wet/dry cycles, and expansive soils act on the structure and its components. The result is concrete cracks and new or enlarged gaps between components.
Above ground, termites can climb exposed concrete perimeter of the structure by traveling through protective mud tubes. Additionally, seasonal swarms of flying termites (after rainfall on warm days) can cause termite accumulation, and possible entry, all around the structure. TERM Barriers have been designed to eliminate most entry points for termites and other foraging pests. If TERM Water|Termite Barriers are built in during construction, the structure will not only be waterproofed, but also be covered underground and above ground at gaps, with an elastomeric envelope which blocks termites.
Key Termite FAQs:
America’s most destructive insect
A recent investigation by Pest Control Technology magazine researched all the expert estimates of termite damage across the U.S. Estimates ranged from $1.5 billion to $22 billion per year. The variation is huge. But all agree that there is no more destructive pest.
America’s smallest insect
Well, almost the smallest. The Fairy fly, is as bit smaller. But to stop termites, you need a screen with openings of 0.018”.
America’s most numerous insect
According to the University of Florida, a single Formosan subterranean termite colony may contain several million termites. If you are fortunate enough to live outside of the Formosan area, you probably have only the native subterranean termites, with several hundred thousand in a colony.
America’s most disgusting insect
We nominate the termite queen. Lying helpless on her back and attended by hundreds of servants, the queen can produce up to 2000 eggs a day. She lives for 15 years, so if you do the math that’s about 11 million offspring over a lifetime.
America’s most invasive insect
Other insects simply forage, which means that they search for an opening. But foraging termites can chew through many construction materials, including plastics, most sealants, plaster, foam insulation, wallboard, cloth, and thin copper or lead sheeting.. Additionally, their small size allows them to go through gaps not visible to the naked eye.
Here’s what these termite facts add up to: if you can exclude the termites, you can stop almost every pest around the building envelope.