How to Prevent Termites From Destroying Your Deck

Every year, termites cause over five billion dollars worth of property damage. They can destroy doorways, window frames, and furniture. Decks are also particularly vulnerable because they are outside and a primarily wood-based structure and thus become an easy target.

Luckily, there are some steps you can take to prevent termites from destroying your deck. Let’s take a look at the signs to watch out for and some actions that can save your deck from deck termites.

Dangers of a Termite Infestation

Damage to your deck can end up necessitating major repairs. The cost to fix this damage can easily add up, especially if the structural integrity of the deck has been compromised.

Termites love to chew through wood and other cellulose-based materials. This means they may attack deck boards, outdoor carpeting, canvas, or cardboard products.

Termites eating deck boards will burrow through the wood, creating tunnels throughout the boards. This can quickly lead to structural weakness. The problem with a deck becoming weak due to termite damage is that it can make it unsuitable for use.

This can even go so far as making your deck completely unsafe and dangerous, leading to costly repairs. You may end up needing to replace many boards or the entire deck. If the termites have infested the structural portions, you’ll have even more difficult repairs to consider.

However, many times, it’s difficult to even see any damage to your deck until it’s too late. Termites mostly stay inside the wood, meaning you won’t see the insects themselves. The burrows are often hidden throughout the deck and therefore unnoticeable.

Unfortunately, if termites have completely infested your deck, you may need to bring in a professional. Using pesticides for deck termite protection and eradication should be one of your last resort. This is why it is important to take every step to prevent a termite infestation.

Signs of a Termite Infestation

A termite infestation is bad news, no matter how you look at it. However, if you catch the problem early, the situation may not be as bad as it could be.

A regular termite inspection from a professional is one of the best ways to catch an infestation early. Someone with experience in finding termites will be able to spot them if they are there.

However, there are also early warning signs that you can keep an eye out for yourself. Some signs come from the deck itself, while others are physical signs of termites.

When it comes to your deck, keep an eye out for problems with the wood. Termites burrow directly into wood and leave some telltale signs when doing so. If you notice small holes in the wood that are otherwise unexplainable, they may be termite holes.

In some cases, these holes may not be there. However, you may still suspect termites. If this is the case, knock on wood and listen if it sounds hollow. If this is the case, there may be holes in the wood that are simply not visible from the outside.

When it comes to the termites themselves, there are several signs to watch out for. You may notice small mud tubes built by the termites. You may also notice their droppings or their discarded wings. Any sign of a termite is an indicator that you may have termites on deck.

How to Keep Termites at Bay

Like any living being, termites have an environment they are specifically suited to. If this environment becomes hostile to them, they will not farewell. This is a major objective when it comes to keeping termites at bay.

Termites need moisture to survive and reproduce. If you can take away this moisture from around your deck, you can help keep them at bay. Make sure your deck has adequate drainage and airflow to avoid standing water. You should also seal any gaps in the boards.

Regular maintenance on your deck can not only extend its life but also prevent termites from making their home in it. Sealing your deck can help create a barrier to entry. It also helps prevent moisture. You should also look for any holes or cracks where they can begin to burrow.

It’s also important to keep the area around your deck as hostile of an environment for termites as possible. The easiest way to do this is to keep any organic or cellulose-based debris away from the structure. This can include leaves, woodpiles, and wood chips, among other materials.

How to Prevent Termites from Destroying Your Deck

Even if you take all of the steps possible to keep termites at bay, you should still protect your deck itself. Taking this preventative step is one of the easiest ways to keep your deck safe.

One method of prevention is painting and sealing your deck. This can keep tiny cracks from forming in the wood. These cracks can let termites and moisture into the deck board. Preventing them from entering can help prevent them from infesting.

However, this is a relatively simple step. It is possible to take direct action against termites. These options come from products specifically designed to keep termites at bay.

Building or repairing your deck with termite-resistant decking, like Trex decking, can actively keep termites from infesting your deck. This composite material offers protection from termites while also bringing additional benefits to the table.

With this type of decking, you get moisture resistance and decay resistance as well. You can also worry less about painting and sealing your deck to keep termites and other pests out.

Prevent Deck Termites from Becoming a Problem

It’s very important to keep deck termites from ever becoming a problem. Once they infest an area, they are much harder to get rid of. Luckily, some simple changes, such as maintaining your deck and yard and using termite-proof decking, can prevent deck termites effectively.

If you found this article helpful, check out our other home and home improvement advice articles too.