Tag Archives: termites in lumber

Pole Building in Hawaii Using Pressure Treated Wood

LeiOver the past few decades, I’ve been involved in several pole building projects on the Hawaiian Islands, and they all had one thing in common – the use of pressure preservative treated lumber throughout, included the prefabricated wood roof trusses. The use of pressure treated wood has been standard building practice in Hawaii and the building codes require all structural wood framing to be constructed with it.

Just as much as we enjoy ants at a picnic, wood-destroying organisms such as termites and decay fungi are necessary in creating elements which are essential to the balance of the global ecosystem. While termites are needed out in the ecosystem, they are totally unwanted and unwelcome in wood structures.

For overall cost effectiveness and building performance, the majority of North American (and Hawaiian) low rise buildings are built with wood frames, which need protection from termite and decay damage. For design professionals and builders, termites and fungi can present some issues in building with wood. As a solution, pressure treated wood products provide long lasting protection against wood destroying organisms which could wreak havoc on island pole buildings.

In Hawaii’s particularly tough environment, pressure treated wood has performed admirably in field tests and structures built with it have a commendable record in real world use. Treated structural lumber, used correctly, in construction of pole buildings is extremely effective in providing a product which is long lasting and safe from Formosan or other termite damage.

One consideration and frequent question is: can prefabricated wood roof trusses be constructed from pressure treated lumber? In a word – yes. Using most pressure treated wood does not sacrifice truss quality or reliability in any way. Loading conditions are not impacted, so the installation process remains the same. Some methods of pressure treating wood are very corrosive to the steel truss plates and require the use of stainless steel, rather than the industry standard galvanized plate. Also, some lumber species require the wood to be incised, in order to take an adequate level of pressure treatment, so appropriate strength reductions are taken into account in the design process.

With a lifelong efficacy, pressure treated wood offers a built-in protection against Formosan termites and other wood-destroying organisms and provides durable and sustainable post frame buildings for all Hawaiian residents.

Termites in Your Pole Barn

Even the best of pressure preservative treatment chemicals are not going to entirely eliminate the possibility of termite infestations. No, the termites are probably not going to touch the pressure treated materials, but usually building owners are unwilling to invest in all pressure treated wood for their pole buildings.

So, what to do with the nasty things?

A product called Termidor, which is a very effective for subterranean termites, should be used. Termidor is a brand name under which BASF sells the product known as Fipronil. Termidor is used as a barrier treatment for termites. The product is used to apply a barrier to prevent termites from attacking structural wood. Termidor does not repel termites. Instead, termites enter the treated area and receive a lethal dose of the insecticide. Termites contaminated with the chemical can transfer the insecticide to other termites. Thus termites that never came in contact with the treated surface will die.

Dig a trench around the perimeter of your pole barn. Using a small shovel, remove the surrounding soil until you have created a trench approximately six inches deep and six inches wide.

Pour five gallons of water into a bucket. Add four fluid ounces Termidor Suspended Concentrate and mix well. Transfer the solution to the trench. Use one bucket of termite treatment for every 10 feet of trench. For example, for a pole building 20 feet long, two buckets of Termidor will need to be poured into the trench on this side.

Cover the trenches once they have been flooded with Termidor solution. Scoop the dirt back into the channel and gently pat down with the back of the shovel, pushing it into the termite treatment. This fresh soil should soak up any remaining Termidor. If there is no standing liquid once the trench is backfilled, add more Termidor solution to ensure complete coverage.

Treat any adjacent structures in a similar manner for the greatest overall effect. However, if the building rests on a concrete slab which lies against the foundation of the pole building, the solution needs to be applied beneath the concrete. Using a power drill and a ½ inch drill bit, drill holes 10 to 12 inches apart and approximately 4 inches away from the wall. To ensure the optimum absorption rate, use a bit at least 12 inches long.

Apply the Termidor in the same quantities as before, using one bucket of mixed solution for every 10 feet. Insert a large funnel into the holes and slowly decant the solution into the funnel, allowing adequate time for the treatment to be absorbed by the surrounding soil. Seal the holes with a cement patching kit or polyfill once the application is complete.

Termidor should only be used outdoors. It can take up to 90 days for Termidor to take full effect.

If dry wood termites are present inside the pole barn TIM-BOR® Professional Solution should be used. Two applications of a 10% liquid solution are normally required.  Apply TIM-BOR®  Professional  solutions  by  brush  or  spray  at the  rate  of  5  gallons  of  liquid  solution  per  1000  square  feet  of wood surface  area, thoroughly  wetting  wood  surface  area.

Keep these and all chemicals out of reach of children. They may be fatal if ingested or inhaled in sufficient quantities. Additionally, it is possible to absorb toxic amounts through the skin. When applying, wear a long sleeved shirt, full-length trousers, gloves, goggles and a protective face mask.