The Importance of Termite Treatment for New Home Construction–What Your Builder Needs to Know – No matter where your house is or what it’s made of, termite infestation is always a risk. In some areas, such as Arizona, it’s almost a guarantee, unless you take the proper precautions. Even before building your house, you should be thinking about the importance of termite treatment for new home construction.
According to the EPA, homeowners around the country spend billions of dollars every year fixing termite damage. For most people, it’s not a question of if termites will attack; it’s a question of when.
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Termites can strike in a flash from underground, outside, and even above. That makes them tough to guard against–but if you don’t, you’ll probably end up wishing you had.
Here are some fundamental questions to ask up front if you want to protect your investment from day one.
Can Termites Damage a House That Hasn’t Been Fully Built Yet?
A lot of people think that until a home is finished, it’s safe from a termite infestation.
Termites can wreak havoc on your new home long before it’s done. They can destroy walls, eating through the wood planks that frame any structure. Even brick houses aren’t safe since termites can get into your roof and eat the timber away.
The damage doesn’t stop at walls and roofs, either. The slab of your home can be vulnerable if you don’t treat the soil it’s poured on with a termiticide. Termites can burrow up from the depths to work their destruction, costing you thousands of dollars.
After an infestation, fumigation ranges between $1-$4 per square foot. At that cost, fumigating a 1,500-square-foot home would average about $3,000.
And that’s without factoring in the cost of repairing what the termites have already eaten away.
Trust me: you don’t want to wait till after the damage is already done to start worrying about termites.
So What Can I Do to Make Sure My Home Will Be Safe?
When building a new house, hiring a professional pest control expert for new construction pretreatment termite is a must. They’ll treat the soil with termiticide before pouring the foundation of a new building.
Additional services may include treating the structure of wood after the framing process.
Why Should I Saturate the Soil With a Termiticide Before Pouring a Foundation?
Laying down the right termiticide before pouring a concrete foundation protects against ground-based termites. Typically, pretreatment should come after the footers are poured and before the new foundation–but not too much before. Experienced exterminators advise that the soil is treated no more than 24 hours before pouring the foundation.
And if it rains or snows, the soil must retreat.
Then, shortly after the construction is complete, the exterminator should return to treat the soft areas around the structure. This is known as final grade treatment.
What Are the Best Products for Pretreatment?
When it comes to termite control, homeowners and builders alike tend to focus on the product. They concern themselves with precisely what termiticide will be used.
However, exterminators performing termite treatment for new home construction are mandated to use only EPA- and state-approved products. All such termiticides are thoroughly tested. In short, the individual brand might not be too much of a factor–they’ll all get the job done. The main difference will be in how much residual protection they offer.
And on that front, the most expensive and well-known products aren’t always the best. For example, Termidor provides less residual protection (about 7-10 years) than many of the cheaper products on the market. Some lower-range options can last more than 15 years.
The key is in how it’s mixed and applied. A low-end product mixed well and used properly will yield better results than a high-end product that’s been mishandled. Even the best option on the market won’t make up for poor usage.
So while you can perform treatment yourself, it’s usually best to get an experienced exterminator who knows what they’re doing. Ask around, look on review sites, and get references. You want someone you know you can trust.
What Termite Treatment Methods Work Best for a New Construction?
There are two main types of treatment known to work best:
- Liquid Soil Treatment: an exterminator will use an EPA-approved termiticide to treat the soil before the foundation or slab is poured. All footers and areas where slabs will be poured should be addressed to your state’s standards. This is done in the very initial stages of construction. If your exterminator is reputable, this should come with some service warranty, usually for 2-3 years.
- Borate Termite Treatment: in the second option, your exterminator will use natural borates to treat all wood in contact with the foundation. Every wood piece in contact with concrete is treated at least 2 feet from the contact point. This happens after dry-in and before any drywall is installed, usually at the same time as the plumbing and electrical. This should also come with a multi-year warranty.
How Long Will My Home Be Protected?
This is the most important part of termite prevention: the residual effects of the product. Your home should be protected for 3-15 years, depending on the termiticide and skill employed.
As you might expect, many of the cheaper products provide shorter periods of protection. Most of the more expensive products (Termidor, Premise 75, etc.) offer 5-12 years of adequate protection.
However, the longest active residual protection is 15+ years. This comes mainly from using products with an active ingredient called Bifenthrin.
The good news: those products are priced in the ranges of cheaper termiticides.
How Much Is It Going to Cost Me to Protect My Home?
When it comes to hiring an exterminator, you get what you pay for. Be careful if you find prices below the normal range. Low costs can mean exterminators using cheaper products or rushing the job. Take a few bids, but if someone’s offer seems too reasonable to be true, it probably is.
That said, the cost of termite treatment for new home construction is usually based on the amount of square footage involved. This price is lower for commercial construction because the buildings are more extensive than their residential counterparts. Residential treatments have higher labor costs.
- Commercial termite treatment cost can run as low as 15 cents per square foot on large projects.
- Bigger residential projects, like multi-unit homes, can be 25 cents per square foot.
- Most single-family homes will range 30-75 cents per square foot.
That last category is what you’re most likely to be looking at.
How Many Treatments Will My Home Need?
This depends on the type of construction, the size of the foundation, and the season you’re working in. However, in all cases, termite pretreatment usually takes a minimum of two applications.
Most new construction pretreatments are a two-step process. The soil under the foundation is treated first before the foundation is poured. While this can be done in one application in rare instances, it usually takes more for larger areas.
The last step is the final grade treatment. This comes after the structure is already completed. Final grade treatments establish a continuous barrier around the outside of the foundation.
Timing is Everything
One of the most challenging aspects of treating for termites during construction is coordinating with the builder. Exterminators have to be in contact with contractors to figure out when they can perform treatments. Synchronization is key to making sure everything is done correctly.
Remember, the right treatment plan will depend on the type of construction, your budget, and the builder’s deadlines. Find a builder and exterminator you can trust to give you the best advice for your unique situation.
No matter what, don’t lose hope. Countless homeowners have won the war with these buggy little nuisances throughout the years; you will win too.
If you live in the Phoenix area, you can call us for a free termite report.
Best of luck!