How to prevent termites?  – Causes of termite in a house foundation

Saad Iqbal | 🗓️Modified: December 7, 2022 | ⏳Time to read:8 min

It’s good that being a proactive homeowner you’re taking termite seriously and are searching for things like how to prevent termites, what causes termites, or how do you get termites.  So, this blog is worth a read:

Termites are usually a very serious problem if encountered around a house or a building. They can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage to homes.

Termites can cause damage to wood; they can eat wood, and other structural materials, leading to costly repairs. To minimize the risk of termite infestation, it is important to take preventative measures before, during, and after construction is complete.

Ensure that your building foundation is properly protected from termites. If you’re building a house, or a commercial building, there are some simple steps you can take to make sure that all your foundations and walls stay protected.

First it’s best that you know what attracts termites and so you can act accordingly to prevent termite from entering your house.

How to prevent termites?  - Causes of termite in a house foundation
How to prevent termites?  – Causes of termite in a house foundation

Table of Contents

Causes of termite in a house?

So, what attracts termite to your house? Well, most obvious things include moisture, landscaping timbers, dead trees, stumps, bad drainage and tree limbs close to your house. You might also unintentionally create helpful conditions for termite to enter your house. So, in case of termites it’s best that you act proactively and adopt preventive measures to protect your house from such an annoyance.

Here’re some causes of termites:

  • Any moisture in your house can allow pests and termites to build their colonies. If you have plumbing issues around your house like a leaking pipe or a leaking faucet; you should address it without wasting the next second.
  • Any damaged or untreated wood that comes in direct contact against your home. In such cases, even if you have treated the soil around your house with termite control chemical you are still presenting a chance for its infestation. So, make sure there’s no untreated wood touching your house’s exterior. Just remove any stumps, vines, mulch, stacked firewood or trellises around your house.
  • Another common reason of termite eating your wood is mulch. It’s in fact the best food for them. A lot of homeowners mistakenly keep it close to their foundation. It acts a bridge that can lead to termite infestation.

Let’s now discuss common termite control methods:

Prevent Water and Moisture from a house
Prevent Water and Moisture from a house

How to prevent Termite Infestation?

The best way to prevent termites is to keep wood at least six inches above the ground. It is also important to treat the soil outside your foundation with a chemical emulsion. This will create a chemical barrier between the termites and your building.

You should also keep your foundation sloped away from the building. If you do not, you will create an open access for termites to enter in.

It is also important to maintain good drainage around the building. Keep excess water away from the foundation with gutters. You can also use a subdrainage system.

If you need to use a concrete slab to cover the foundation, make sure the slab is at least 100 mm thick. This will prevent termites from tunneling through hollow blocks.

During the initial site preparation, remove stumps and wood debris from the area. You should also keep a two-inch layer of mulch around the foundation.

Also Read: 4 Types of Foundation Drainage with their pros and cons

Eliminate Wood

Termites are attracted to cellulose, a component of wood. They also need a steady source of water to survive. Construction site workers should remove any wood that is touching the ground.

This can be done by using cement or stones to separate the soil from the wood. It is also possible to install a concrete foundation to prevent termites from invading.

Eliminate untreated wood
Eliminate untreated wood

Eliminate Unwanted Moisture

Termites love to live in moist places, and a building foundation can be a perfect host for them.

Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to prevent termites from invading your home. Start by inspecting your home for leaks.

If you discover a leak, fix it immediately. It is especially important to prevent water from pooling near your home’s foundation.

You may have to dig up some of the soil around your foundation to eliminate wood-to-soil contact. You may also need to raise the bottom of your siding or latticework, or add supporting posts to your concrete base.

If your home has a basement, you may have to add a vapor/moisture barrier under the foundation. You may also need to add splash blocks to prevent water from pooling.

A proper gutter system can also help prevent water from pooling near your foundation. The gutters should be at least two feet from your home’s foundation wall, and they should direct water away from the building.

Termites love a moist, dark, and warm place to live. Fortunately, you can avoid termite infestations by keeping your home well insulated and maintaining proper ventilation.

Termites also like moisture-laden walls and they hide in cracks or pipes. To detect a termite infestation, you can check for signs of mud foraging tunnels on the walls or sills of your building.

You can also look for mud tubes, which are essentially tubes of soil that connect wood to the soil, even if the wood is kept elevated.

Also Read: Wood Mites – How to get rid of wood mites? Types – Sizes

Pay Attention To Crawl Spaces

Termites can invade homes through the foundation and crawl spaces.

Termites can enter the building through cracks and expansion joints in the foundation. You should consider installing metal “termite shields” in the crawl spaces. These can be installed between the foundation wall and the sill plate or support piers. This will make it easier to detect termite infestations.

For additional protection against termites, you can use pressure-treated wood for the foundation. However, this is not a good solution, especially for buildings, because it does not provide complete termite pretreatment.

Check crawlspace of a house
Check crawlspace of a house

Anti-Termite Barrier Beneath Building Structure

The best way to protect your home from termites is to use both a physical and chemical termite barrier.

Physical Barriers

A physical barrier is designed to block termite foraging activities, while a chemical barrier is designed to block termites’ natural path to entry. The physical barrier is made up of specially treated metal mesh or plastic.

These materials are usually placed underneath the slabs of a building. However, this type of barrier is not as effective as the chemical barrier.

Also Read: Does heat kill mold in house? Get rid of the mold with heat

Chemical Barriers

Chemical termite barriers are ideal for older buildings and can serve as a quick fix. They offer a long-lasting protection. This type of barrier is designed to block termites’ natural paths, disrupting their life cycle and killing them in direct contact.

One of the best things about these chemical barriers is that they can be installed right away, even if you don’t have a termite problem. The only downside is that you will need to do a follow-up inspection to make sure there aren’t any undetected termites.

Another great thing about these chemical barriers is that they can last for up to eight years. This is a lot longer than the average termite treatment that only lasts for a couple of years.

They are also a cost-effective solution for buildings that don’t have a physical barrier.

Plastic Films

Another way to protect your building from termites is by using specialized plastic films. These specialized plastic films are designed to provide monolithic protection beneath the entire footprint of your structure.


Will termites eat treated wood?

No, if you have a pressure-treated wood; you can use it around your house construction without much worry. These woods have preservatives forced into their pores during manufacturing process. So, any pressure treated wood is inherently resisted against termite. But as we said, it’s best that you protect all your woods from soil or moisture damage.

What are some home treatments for termites?

You can obviously try to spray boric acid around the affected areas inside your house. Termite’s baits also helps slowly killing the termite colony. Some organic solutions or essential oils are also available in the market that helps treat termite.


Whether you are building a residential or commercial structure, there are certain construction practices you should use to prevent termites from invading. These practices are primarily based on the design and quality of the construction.

Saad Iqbal is a professional civil engineering and freelance write. He's passionate about structures, construction management, and home improvement topics. He's been working as a Senior Engineer in a consultant firm for over 8 years. Besides he loves writing informative and in-depth content focused on construction and home-related topics. You can catch him at his linkedin page or reach out via our contact us page.

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