Pre-Construction Termite Treatment: Is It Necessary?

Termite prevention should begin even before your home is constructed. It’s called the pre construction termite treatment, a process where the soil is treated before the slab placement. This shields your future home from termite damages. So how does it work and do you really need to pay for it? 

In the United States of America, pre-construction termite treatment is an FHA and HUD requirement in 46 of 50 states

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How does pre construction termite treatment work?

In this video, Dixon Pest Services walks us through the process of pre construction termite treatment:

One of the most common termite species, the Subterranean termites, harbor in the soil before invading your home. And since these pests live within your walls and wood beams, the infestation is only discovered once the damages are already done.

The risk of an infestation can be reduced if the new property is pre-treated with termiticides before the slab is poured in. This is why future homeowners should invest in pre construction treatment before the property is built.

Although this treatment could be expensive upfront, it will save you more money from termite infestation treatments. Besides, it’s added protection for your investment.

The pre construction anti termite treatment procedure can also be done on wooden foundations to prevent other species from foraging in your home.

Unlike DIY remedies, pre construction treatment for termites has to be done with the help of professional exterminators. Also, only licensed technicians can handle the chemicals that will be used for the procedure.

General treatment guidelines

Builders and exterminators can follow different guidelines for this treatment. Another reason why you have to hire professionals is that each state imposes building codes and laws about the use of specific pesticides.

All the pesticides for the treatment should be registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Agriculture of the respective state.

The following are some of the guidelines that technicians and builders follow:

➡️ Poison the soil using termiticides

For a proactive and immediate result, builders will ask for soil treatment before pouring the base slab. Exterminators will have to factor in the moisture level of the soil. If it’s too moist, the treatment will be postponed until the area achieves an ideal condition.

After the soil treatment, there should be a 24-hour rain-free window to let the chemicals kill the termites and to bond with the soil. The exterminator will check if the chemical emulsion is fully absorbed before green-lighting the pouring of the concrete.

➡️ Digging holes and pouring the chemical

Another method that the exterminator can use is drilling holes within the perimeter of the property. In addition, the termiticide will be poured into the holes. This creates a surrounding barrier for your future home.

➡️ Treating foundation area

Before the foundation is put to place, the spot will be treated with termiticide to prevent the access of the pest. As you know, wooden foundations are the main target of termites.

➡️ Particle barrier installation

After treating the soil and foundation areas, the construction builder may also add a basaltic rock or sand as an additional barrier against the termites.

Other treatment procedures may also be used depending on the building codes in effect in your location. It’s best to work with a licensed termite exterminator to ensure that the treatment is done safely.

Types of pre construction treatment

There are four main types of pre construction anti termite treatment procedures used for residential purposes. Aside from homes, these treatments also apply to commercial properties.

➡️ Soil treatment

This is the most common treatment where the pest control experts/exterminators poison the soil using abrasive termiticides. The pest control experts will work on the area in which the builders will pour the concrete slab. Also, exterminators will treat the area where wood materials will be in contact with.

➡️ Borate treatment

If soil treatment isn’t possible due to some factors (nearby bodies of water, etc.), borate treatment can be your alternative. Exterminators will apply this during the dried-in phase of the construction. The wood studs will be treated to prevent the entry of termites.

Instead of termiticides, this process uses borate. It’s a potent termite killer but safer for the environment since it’s a combination of boron and oxygen.

➡️ Physical barrier installation

If any chemical treatment is out of the window, physical barrier installation is another option. Here, a thick sheet of polymer will be wrapped around the wooden parts of the house that are nearest to the ground. These flexible sheets are infused with insecticides. Still, it’s odorless and can last for 50 years.

Some would use mesh steel barriers as an add-on to other pre construction treatments.

➡️ Foundation treatments

This treatment is usually part of a bigger pre construction treatment plan. The timber to be used for the foundation will be treated with termiticides to make it termite-proof for years. Take note that this treatment will wear off after a few decades.

➡️ Rodding treatment

For this process, a metal pole that’s approximately 6 feet long will be used to inject permethrin-based gel under the ground. On top of the pole is also knob that keeps it pressurized.

The pole will be pushed into the ground to create a hole where the pesticide gel will be injected. In addition, this will be done within an 18-inch distance.

This treatment is an option for those who don’t want a surface-based application of the procedure.

The role of home builders

pre construction termite treatment

The architect, building contractor, and engineers play a vital role when it comes to pre construction treatments against termites. During the design phase, you can bring up the treatment so the builder can contract a licensed exterminator. Most experienced builders will have a partner exterminator for this purpose.

The builders are responsible for the following steps of the treatment:

➡️ Inspection

The building contractor will inspect the area in preparation for the treatment. They will identify which soil areas should be treated. As per your request, they will also procure pre-treated wood that will stay termite-proof for years.

➡️ Site preparation

The site will be prepared for the treatment. For soil treatment, the slab area will be isolated. Also, other treatment methods will be applied as the construction progresses.

➡️ Rightful application

The pest control experts will perform the application in the area. Again, only licensed termite exterminators should handle the chemicals as governed by federal and local laws.

Pre construction treatment procedure

Pre construction treatment may vary depending on the plan approved by the builders and the exterminators. Generally, it will include the following stages:

Stage 1 – Trench treatment

Once the builders finished excavating the trenches, the side and bottom of these trenches will be treated with termiticides. Also, the foundation trench and basement excavations must be treated with a higher concentration. This will vary widely, but some exterminators will use 5 liters of chemical emulsion per square meter of the area.

After this, the masonry foundation will be placed. Also, the builders will install the retaining walls of the basement.

Stage 2 – Treatment of the backfill

At this phase, the experts will treat backfill with the same chemical emulsion since it will be in contact with the wooden foundation. In addition, the general practice here is 7.5 liters of emulsion for every square meter of surface area. Again, this will vary depending on the concentration of the chemical used.

Stage 3 – Wall-Floor junction treatment

The goal of this stage is to continue the termite protection from the vertical soil level up to the inner wall and finished floor surface.

Before the subgrade is poured, a 30 mm x 30 mm channel will be placed in all wall and floor junctions. This also includes all columns and walls.

From there, pest control experts will drill holes until it reaches the ground. They will pour the same anti-termite chemical emulsion into the holes. This seals all possible termite entryways.

Stage 4 – Treatment of the plinth filling

Plinth filling is the layer above the backfill. The exterminator should treat this as well before the builders place the stone or concrete bedding. Furthermore, the rule of thumb is 5 liters of the anti-termite chemical emulsion for every square meter. Again, the concentration of the chemical will affect the amount applied.

Stage 5 – Treatment of the external perimeter

Once the building treatment is complete, the finishing touches include treating the external perimeter of the property.

Meanwhile, the pest control expert will treat the perforated soil under the expansion joints of the lowermost floor using a chemical emulsion. Also, the plumbing inlet and outlet points should be treated. Still, the pest control expert should practice care so as not to contaminate the water. The builder should check for possible leaks first before the treatment.

Like plumbing inlets, electric conduits that pass through walls should be treated accordingly. Also, the pest control expert should treat wall channels. Some homeowners will opt for pre-treated walls as a better option against the threat of termites.

Pre construction treatment cost

This will widely vary depending on some factors. Still, the main aspect you should consider here is the type of treatment to be used.

For chemical treatments, the exterminator will charge per square foot or meter. The soil type and compaction will also come in play. Furthermore, some areas may have compact soil which may need more chemical emulsion for better absorption.

Another aspect that we have to factor in is the size of your home. Also, regardless of the material or chemical used, bigger homes will surely have a higher pre construction treatment cost.

As for the builder, they may raise the foundation type and layout as an issue when it comes to pre construction treatment against termites.

Overall, this treatment can be as low as $300 or more than $3,000.

How long does the treatment last?

If conducted properly, the pre construction treatment will last around 2 to 5 years. This is already an effective treatment, but you still have to conduct regular inspections to ensure that no termites have gone passed the barriers.

Just because your new home is protected with a treatment doesn’t mean you can skip preventive measures. In addition, it’s best to keep your yard clean of any potential food source and harborage of the pest.

You can avail succeeding treatments to sustain the benefits of a termite-free home. Although DIY mitigation may work, professional termite treatment is still unbeatable.

Additional steps during post construction

Once the house is complete and can be occupied, the builders will look for holes and other tiny details that they need to patch up. Also, the builder will patch any voids in the masonry with an anti-termite chemical emulsion.

Also, all lose junctions will be sealed to patch up any possible pathways of insect pests.

These treatments have a residual effect. However, if the chemical used is abrasive, the builders may advise that you let the fumes dissipate first before moving in.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: How much does termite pre treatment cost?

A: The overall cost will depend on the size of the property, the type of chemical used, and the labor costs of the technician. Additionally, the cost is approximately 16 cents per square foot. Generally, this will cost more if you request physical barriers and rodding.

Q2: How do you treat the soil for termites?

A: Termite treatment during the pre-construction phase will use chemical flooding on the surface. Furthermore, you can opt for rodding, where the exterminator injects permethrin-based termiticide gel to the ground. Also, the backfills and plinth filling have to be treated first.

Q3: How long does new construction termite treatment last?

A: The efficacy of the treatment will last up to 5 years. This is already an extended period, considering that rain and flooding will cause the termiticides to be washed away. As for treated timber, the effect may last longer.

Q4:  What is pre construction anti termite treatment?

A: This treatment protects your property even before the builders pour the slab. It involves poisoning the soil on the slab area where your house will be constructed. Moreover, the builder or exterminator will treat foundation, inlets, and outlets to discourage termite infestations.

Final words

The pre construction termite treatment will shield your property against the threat of termites. Although it may cost more, it’s definitely worth it. To add, it’s an investment that will protect your bigger investment. At the end of the day, you’re going to save more money by avoiding termite infestations.

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