Tag Archives: termites

PVC Pipe for Post Sleeves

Reader TOM in PURVIS shares a concept I had neither seen before nor had I even contemplated – using PVC pipe to protect post frame (pole building) columns from decay.

TOM writes: “ I know your posts are treated, but I live in the damp state of MS. In recent years 3 of my friends have pole barns, all of them very nice. But one in particular, the contractor added 8″ PCV pipe around the outside of the pole inserted into the ground – then concreted the pole. The claim is that this is an additional protection against termites and rot. It does appear to have given more protection from Mother Nature. Do you have an opinion about use of PVC when setting posts?”

Mike the Pole Barn Responds:
Virtually anything can be made out to be a benefit with a convincing argument. In my humble opinion, this builder is truly not adding any value to the buildings, and is potentially setting them up for failure from another act of Mother Nature – wind.
A properly pressure preservative treated column should out live not only us, but probably everyone else who is alive on the planet today (for more on the lifespan of pressure preservative treated wood please read: http://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2017/12/will-poles-rot-off/).
The eight inch diameter PVC pipe probably just allows a 6×6 column to fit inside. Filling the balance of the pipe with concrete ads no real value as the concrete would never be over an inch and a quarter thick and work fracture under a load – either bending or withdrawl. This leaves whatever material is filled on the outside of the slick PVC surface to resist uplift forces. There is also an issue of connecting the PVC to the column, if unsealed holes are placed through the pipe by screws, bolts, nails, rebar, etc., water is going to get inside the pipe and the entire premise is defeated.
My opinion, if this was such a wonderful idea (and it actually added value) everyone would be doing it – just say no to the PVC pipe column sleeve.

How to Keep Post Frame Buildings ‘Pest-Free’

Post frame buildings have several benefits which make them the perfect choice for virtually any permanent structure like durability, cost-effectiveness, sustainability, quick assembly and versatility. They also serve multiple purposes. They are storage and machine sheds, horse-barns as well as pre-engineered for a plethora of uses.
Woodwork can last for several centuries, but if pests find their way into the wood, they can trigger all kinds of mayhem. They can cause severe damage to the structure of any wood frame building.

Take a look as some of the most primary wood-boring pests along with tips to prevent their infestation.

1. Subterranean Termites – These termites need moisture to survive as they quickly become dehydrated and die. In addition to humidity, Subterranean termites need cellulose to survive which is why they feed on wood. It can be a while before you notice an infestation because these termites work inside of the wood and travel underground. If left untreated a termite infestation can cause severe structural damage which will cost a small fortune to repair.
Prevention tips – Here are some of the top tips to help prevent termite infestation:
• Keep basements, attics and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
• Direct water away from your building through adequately functioning channels or splash blocks.
• Repair leaking faucets, valves or A/C units on the outside of the building.

2. Powder Post Beetles – Though termites take the first place in wood-boring abilities, Powder Post Beetles hold a close second position. The beetle bulks up by feeding on your boards. Most prominent locations where they are found are hardwood floors, post frames, trims, joints, sills, and sub-flooring. They can also branch into furniture, handles or ladders and can cause damages to the extent which ultimately compromises the structural strength of the construction.
Prevention tips – Here are some tips to prevent Powder Post Beetles:
• Inspect wood products before bringing them home.
• Fumigate it if it has been infested with beetles.
• Sprinkle borate salt on the wood which is one of the standard treatments for Powder Post Beetles.
• Essential oils such as eucalyptus, basil, and tarragon oils are known to kill powder post beetles within three days.

3. Carpenter Ants – The damage caused by carpenter ants is like a termite infestation. The only difference is they do not eat the wood, instead, they hollow it out to nest inside it. They infest building materials such as wood or foam insulation and occupy cavities in hollow doors or post frames. The construction will be less prone to carpenter ants if you refrain it from any source of moisture.
Prevention tips: You can prevent carpenter ant infestation by applying some of these simple procedures to your structure:
• Seal any cracks you find to purge entrance paths.
• Plug around electrical and water lines where carpenter ants could enter the building.
• Trim branches near the construction so they are not touching it. This keeps the ants from using the branches as pathway.
• Installing a gravel strip or a stone strip around the building also keeps ants at bay.

4. Rodents – Woodrats are perilous. They carry several diseases which affect people. Woodrats are very destructive and will chew through insulation, wire, pipes and even drywall. They build their burrows outside, but if given a chance they move inside buildings and scavenge for food. They make nests in attics and behind wall cavities.
Prevention tips-Here is how you can prevent any rodent from causing harm to your construction.
• Cover vents and fix any damage or holes along the roofline.
• Get rid of potential food sources inside and out, such as trash cans with ill-fitting lids, pet food outside and bird feeders.
• Trim overgrown vegetation.
• Accumulation of water around the building must be addressed since rodents tend to establish a nest near a water source.

There is only one foolproof way to be sure no pests are living in your property, by contacting a professional pest control. Modern integrated methods are used to inspect, monitor, trap, treat and pest-proof buildings to prevent pest infestations by professionals.

Author Bio:

When people find their homes and offices infested with pests, it is not uncommon for them to panic. Raymond Web has taken upon himself the task to educate people on pest prevention and control strategies helping them keep their surroundings healthy, safe and pest-free. Being the digital marketing manager for Take Care Termite and Pest Control, in Tracy, CA, he has in-depth understanding of people and their pain points due to pests, which he efficiently uses in his content to educate people and add value to their lives.

Will My Poles Rot Off? Not If They Are Pressure Treated Wood!

Do the poles start to rot out after so many years? That depends on whether or not they are pressure treated.

This question was recently posed to me by reader MARK in WOLCOTT. Typically my answer would include some snarky comment such as: “Most certainly, however it might not be during your grandchildren’s grandchildren’s lives!”

The reality is, I know lots and lots of people in the lumber and post frame building industry. Having spent my entire adult life in it tends to add to these. I have yet to meet anyone, who can tell me they have actually experienced a properly pressure preservative treated wood building column rot.

Of course there are always those who have stories such as, “My Uncle’s cousin says he knows of somebody, who knew somebody who had all of their pole barn poles rot off”. Could be – and they probably were not pressure preservative treated at all!

In order to put this matter to rest and ease my already untroubled mind, I utilized the power of the internet and Google to do some research.

Well, it turns out four fine people named Stan Lebow, Bessie Woodward, Grant Kirker and Patricia Lebow got their collective thinking caps together and wrote an article entitled “Long-Term Durability of Pressure-Treated Wood in a Severe Test Site”. Said article was published in Advances in Civil Engineering Materials, Vol. 2 No. 1, 2013 on pages 178-188 (for those of you who want to read it in its full and unabridged glory: https://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/documnts/pdf2013/fpl_2013_lebow001.pdf).

Our team of authors was motivated, as stated in the introduction to the article, by this:
“Pressure-treated wood has been widely used as a durable construction material in the United States for over a century. However, despite its long history of use, there are relatively few reports on the long-term decay and insect resistance of pressure-treated wood”.

Now, as it so happens, the USDAFS (U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service) has a test site located near Saucier, Mississippi. The plot has a relatively high annual rainfall and warm temperatures which create a harsh decay environment. Eastern subterranean termites are active at the site. The location is within American Wood Protection Association (AWPA) Deterioration Zone 5, Severe Hazard, which is the most severe hazard classification.
As a control, some untreated posts were placed and all failed in less than three years!

The current Code standard for pressure-preservative treated lumber for structural use is UC-4B (read one of my better articles of all time regarding pressure-preservative treating here: http://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/10/pressure-treated-posts-2/). UC-4B requires a chemical retention for many water borne treatments such as ACZA, CCA-B and CCA-C of 0.60 lb/ft^3 (pounds of chemical per cubic foot of lumber). With retention levels LESS than the current UC-4B requirement, there have been ZERO failures in these chemicals in tests of up to 61 years!

I will stand upon my initial remarks for lifespan.

Dricon Fire Retardant Treated Wood

Hansen Pole Buildings’ Managing Partner Eric had messaged me this morning to ask if I had ever heard of FRT lumber for roof trusses.  While I had never (in my days in the truss industry) manufactured any trusses using Dricon® Fire Retardant Treated (FRT) wood, I am familiar with it. Whether you’re using plywood or lumber, Dricon® Fire Retardant Treated wood has an unmatched record of protection against flame spread, smoke development, rot and decay.

Dricon®, introduced in 1981, is a Class A fire retardant and preservative intended for wood used in interior, weather-protected construction. This effective treatment is applied during manufacturing, creating a built-in protection from both flame spread and smoke development, which does not require maintenance.

When exposed to fire, Dricon® automatically reacts with the combustible gases and tars normally generated by untreated wood, converting them to carbon char, with harmless carbon dioxide and water. The surface char acts to insulate underlying wood, and the carbon dioxide and water vapor dilute the combustible gases to help reduce flame spread and smoke.

The only EPA-registered fire retardant on the market, Dricon® also contains a preservative component which prevents damage caused by termites and fungal decay, offering an extra level of peace of mind.

Dricon® FRT wood carries a 40-year limited roof system warranty against heat degradation. Additionally, it holds the industry’s only preservative warranty on fire retardant wood backing the product for 40 years against Formosan & subterranean termites as well as fungal decay.

When used in post frame construction, it may allow for allowable square footage to be increased, as well as height, without the need for sprinkler systems. If your new post frame building will be in close proximity to another building or a property line, it may reduce or eliminate the requirement for parapet walls.

Worried about fire prevention or retardation in your new post frame building? If so, ask about the possibility of using Dricon® Fire Retardant Treated lumber.