Myth Busted: Concrete Slabs Will NOT Protect You From Termites

Many people either building a home or looking to protect their existing home from termites mistakenly believe that a concrete slab under the home will be adequate protection. In fact, unless it is used in conjunction with other protective measures, a concrete slab could prove no more than an expensive piece of over-engineering. Termites are able to tunnel through cracks in concrete, and the slab itself is unlikely to eliminate wood to ground contact. But if combined with other protective measures, then a concrete slab can prove to be one of the more effective long term physical termite barriers.

How termites penetrate concrete slabs

Termites will look for any opening they are able to exploit in their search for food. Edges of slabs are particularly at risk, while holes for service pipes may provide the perfect aperture for tunnelling termites. If the concrete slab is at or below ground level, then the risk is increased.

When installing a concrete slab, it must measure up to Australian Standard 2870. Poorly designed slabs are more susceptible to cracking, which will allow easier termite access.

How to ensure concrete slabs protect from termites

For concrete slabs to be effective in the fight against termite attack, they need to be augmented with other protective measures. These include physical and chemical protection.

On top of joists, piles, or stumps, ant caps or termite shields should be used. These help to prevent termites direct access, so although they can still gain entry to the home they can be more easily observed. Crushed granite does a similar job, and both methods can be used underneath the concrete slab.

Chemical treatments include the injection of termiticides at the inner and outer edges of the concrete slab, as well as around the external perimeter and through expansion joints and cracks.

How to install the extra protection needed

To make a concrete slab as termite proof as possible, it is best to use a combination of both physical and chemical barriers to augment its strength. While a builder will be able to put physical barriers in place, chemical barriers can only be installed by licensed pest controllers. In many cases a trench will need to be dug to allow access for the chemical barrier.

Whether you are building a home, extending an existing home, or  simply seeking to ensure your home remains termite free, a consultation with a Pink Pest expert will help you to make the right choice for your needs. The sooner you consider your termite protection needs, the better your protection will be.