It was once thought that homes built on concrete slabs offered protection from termite attacks, but this is no longer understood to be the case. In fact, concrete slab homes see more termite pest issues than crawl space homes, as the former construction type does not allow termite inspectors to crawl beneath a home where concealed areas containing vulnerable structural wood, such as wall voids, can easily be inspected. Regular termite inspections allow pest control professionals to identify termite infestations before the pests inflict serious damage. Therefore, concrete slab homes are at the highest risk of sustaining serious damage from long lasting termite infestations.
When concrete slab homes were first becoming popular, it was thought that the concrete would serve as a barrier preventing subterranean termites from accessing the structural wood in homes. However, today it is well known that subterranean termites can, in fact, use their strong mandibles to penetrate concrete in order to access a home’s structural wood interior. As a concrete slab home ages, the structure settles into the earth, causing cracks to form on the slab. Although these cracks are tremendously narrow, tiny subterranean termites workers have no problem passing through them. Subterranean termite workers can also pick away at cracks in concrete in order to create an opening wide enough to the mud tubes that the pests build in order to infest above-ground wood sources. Responsible home builders apply a termiticide barrier immediately below and around concrete slabs before construction in order to prevent infestations, and termite-proof concrete has recently been introduced as a preventative method of termite control.
Termite-proof concrete is still in its infancy, but the first efficacy studies carried out in Australia found that wet cement mixed with a termiticide solution made concrete slabs impenetrable, and even deadly to termites. In the US, field trials have shown that 75% dieldrin wettable powder mixed with wet cement can be used as an effective termite-proof cement for slab construction. One study showed that 100% of eastern subterranean termite pests died within one minute of making contact with concrete blocks made from the above mentioned form of termite-proof concrete.
Do you think that future housing laws will require contractors to use termite-proof concrete during construction?