Tag Archives: termites

Post Too Deep, Termite Treatment, and Column Treatment

This week Mike the Pole Barn Guru answers reader questions about adding length to endwall post set too deep into ground in order to attach to end trusses, how to best prevent termites after slab and skirt have been poured, and if a UC-4B treatment would suffice on a “half wall” RV storage unit.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: If you put couple of the laminated post too deep on an end wall can they be added upon to make them work and still be strong enough? A stupid rookie mistake on me. ALAN in KELSO

DEAR ALAN: Provided they are not corner columns, it might be possible, however would require engineering approval in order to do so. Engineer will need to know how far below end truss top(s) of columns will be.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hi. I forgot to put termite treatment on the pad before building my 40×60 in Maryland. I now have 5″ concrete floor on inside and a 3 foot concrete skirt around the outside. My pad was crushed concrete aggregate and I have 2 foot round concrete footers around the poles. Would you recommend doing a typical treatment of drilling 6 inches from the wall and down 18 inches to fill w liquid or could i put the liquid on the outside of the 3 foot skirt? I’m assuming better to do this on the outside of building than on inside, agree? JAVO in PRINCE FREDERICK

termitesDEAR JAVO: I have, for better or worse, always lived in pretty much “The Great White North”, where termites are never a problem. In termite prone locales, pre-construction treatment is obviously a best case scenario (for extended reading: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/09/pre-construction-termite-treatment/). In your circumstance, it would be best for me to defer and direct you to your local pest control experts, as they will know what best will meet your needs.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I am building a post frame pole barn with half walls to store an RV. I am planning on using 6×6 UC4B (CCA) posts suspended in a concrete footing/collar. They bottoms of the posts (gravel floor) will be exposed to weather (North Alabama) during blowing rain. My question is would a post protector or post sleeve be necessary or beneficial to protect against rot? And if so would a post protector need a weep hole with washed stone in this scenario? BENJAMIN in CHEROKEE

DEAR BENJAMIN: As long as you are using UC-4B rated treated timbers, and maintain proper termite treatments to your soil, rot should never be an issue. Half-walls can be problematic, as they do not allow for transfer of wind shear forces through siding to ground. You will want to make certain to build from engineer sealed site specific plans to ensure structural adequacy.

Termite Barriers and Wind Speed, Hidden Fasteners, and Truss Modifications

This week the Pole Barn Guru tackles reader questions about termites that can destroy treated lumber in an area wind 80mph winds, if one can install a roof with hidden fasteners over trusses or if it needs an underlayment, and the possibility of modifying a truss chord in order to accommodate a overhead door operator.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: We have terrible subterranean termites that can destroy treated lumber. We also live in an area that sees 80 mph winds in the winter. Are your pole barns strong enough to withstand these things? DAN in FRAZIER PARK

DEAR DAN: Every Hansen Pole Building is fully engineered to meet or exceed your jurisdiction’s minimum design wind speed requirements (in Ventura county Vult = 100 mph). When wind is a client concern, we always recommend designing to higher than minimum design wind speeds. In many instances, added investments are minimal. Most important is designing to correct wind exposure for your particular site. Most other providers sell Exposure B rated buildings, when many sites are actually Exposure C. For extended reading on wind exposure, please read: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2022/06/wind-exposure-and-confusion-part-iii/ While our buildings come with any pressure preservative treated wood at or above Building Code requirements. Regardless of structural building system in areas prone to subterranean termites treat prepared soil with a termiticide barrier at a rate of one gallon of chemical solution per every 10 square feet.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I want hidden fastener steel roof, do I need to sheath the roof or can I install over trusses. Also, how far apart are your trusses for residential pole barn homes? JAY in MILWAUKEE

DEAR JAY: Hidden fastener steel should only be installed over solid sheathing as it has no shear value to be able to transfer wind loads from roof to endwalls. https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2015/08/standing-seam-steel/

In most instances, our fully engineered post-frame barndominiums are designed with a pair of trusses directly aligned with columns every 12 feet.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Would it be possible to install a 1/8- 1/4 ‘’ steel plate C-shaped with a “tail” extending from back side to tie a bottom chord and king post together and then cut out a 6’’ section to allow for a garage door opener install. GABE in SIMCOE

DEAR GABE: Maybe, however no truss should ever be cut or modified unless done with an engineer certified repair. https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2016/07/cutting-trusses/



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: https://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 Properly 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: https://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.