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  • Writer's pictureMark Turnquest, CIPM

IMPACT-Termites, ICF vs CMU

There are three main kinds of termites found in North America;

  1. Dampwood

  2. Drywood

  3. Subterranean

Dampwood is found mostly in the Pacific, Northwest and Coastal British Colombia. These pests attack decaying wood and can usually be controlled by removing their moisture source.

Drywood termites are often found in the southernmost parts of the continent, including Hawaii and Mexico. They can fly directly into buildings and begin colonies in dry wood. The use of treated wood is generally effective for controlling infestation.

Dampwood and Drywood termites are not the biggest concerns in relations to ICF.

Subterranean termites are the real worry with ICF. They cause the most damage to buildings structure. These termites live in soil in order to avoid being affected by extreme temperature, while maintaining access to essential moisture. They attack dry wood, in addition, they feed on cardboard, paper and fiberboard that they come in contact with or closest to the ground.

The Formosan Termite which is a type of Subterranean Termite, is the most aggressive and destructive. Although smaller than most other species, its colonies can cause damage faster than other termites.

The resourceful subterranean termite have found ways to actually use ICF's to their advantage when looking for food. When food source is not directly in contact with the soil, subterranean termites will build tunnels to get to it. The tunnels called shelter tubes, can go through cracks in concrete foundations and slabs as well as through spaces around utility pipes.

The only limit with ICF's is that while the EPS insulation on the outside does not provide the termites with a source of food, the termites can tunnel through it to their food sources virtually undetected. Good news is Solutions for protecting ICF structures from termite have been implemented successfully throughout the USA.

  • Water proofing and barrier system, such as poly-guard 650XT have been design specifically for use with ICF's. These membranes accomplish the dual purpose of water proofing the foundation while simultaneously protecting it from termites.

  • Chemical treatment of soils around the foundation using a termicide proven helpful in controlling termites near traditional wood building.

  • Metal shields with properly sealed joints attached over foundation walls force termites to try to build their tunnel on the other side of the shield. Where they are more detected.

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