A. You can reduce the risk yourself by obtaining expert advice. Call a termite specialist and request a free advisory meeting. It is likely that you will be advised to have some kind of ‘protective’ treatment, but you should also be given advice about how your home can be re-detailed so as to reduce the risk. This can really make a difference.
Typically, in an average home in Melbourne, we find the following ‘conducive conditions’ which, if fixed, will reduce the termite risk:
Lower the finished ground level around the walls of your home
A high finished ground level (FGL) is by far the most common fault and greatly increases the termite risk. As a guide, your FGL should be about 150mm below your floor level. You should step UP into your home. For homes on slabs, this usually means that the slab edge is just covered but the weep holes are free of garden beds. For homes on timber floors, this usually means that the air vents become free and the sub-floor can breathe.
Don’t use railway sleepers for retaining walls
A sleeper retaining wall provide nesting harbourage ideal for termites. If you have one just a few metres from your home, you should consider removing it.
Inappropriate building extensions and conversions
A high proportion of the infestations we attend are caused by inappropriate add-ons to buildings. The main offenders are new concrete slabs poured against existing timber floors, and garages and underfloor basements converted to living areas.
Never combine timber floors with concrete slabs and always show your plans to a termite specialist before you build.
Remember, termites require water to maintain the high humidity within the nest in addition to food, or wood. By removing these needs homeowners can do their part to prevent these pests from becoming a problem in their home.
You can do this by:
- ensuring soil is not in contact with susceptible building timbers
- ensuring subfloors are well ventilated and remain dry
- using only resistant timbers below floor level
- avoiding storage of wood in contact with the soil under, or around buildings
- improving drainage and fixing leaky plumbing in order to reduce available soil moisture.