Keeping termites away from your deck is just as important as keeping them away from the inside of your home. Termites tunnel through wood, eating it as they go. This will weaken the structure of your deck, which can make boards and railings more likely to collapse. Worse, termites can use your deck as an avenue to enter your home.
Most wood decks are made of pressure-treated wood, which resists termites along with rot. However, this protection doesn't last forever — some of the chemicals inside pressure-treated wood that provide its termite protection will be carried away by rainwater. Over time, areas of your deck can become vulnerable to termite infestation.
Since pressure-treated wood will eventually lose its ability to protect your deck from termites, it's important to take measures to control them. Read on to learn four ways to keep your deck free from termites.
1. Paint and Seal Your Wood Deck Annually
Deck maintenance is a key part of termite control. Painting and sealing your deck annually gives it extra protection against termites, as termites won't attempt to chew through painted wood. However, it doesn't provide you with complete protection — it's impossible to paint every single crevice of your deck, and termites will attack any unpainted wood they can find. You'll need to combine this with other termite control measures.
Painting and sealing your deck also helps prevent the wood from rotting. Termites are attracted to rotting wood, since it's much softer. Rotting wood is easier for termites to tunnel through and easier to digest, so they will preferentially seek it out as a food source. If your wood deck starts to rot, it becomes much more attractive to termites in your yard.
2. Keep Moisture Away From Your Deck
Termites build their colonies next to a nearby water source, so it's important to keep all sources of water away from your deck. Puddles pooling underneath your deck or on top of its surface will encourage termites to nest there. Fill in any holes in the ground underneath your deck to prevent water from collecting there. You should also ensure that your deck dries quickly after rainfall — avoid large pieces of deck furniture that block sunlight, as the shaded area underneath will dry out slowly.
3. Surround Your Posts and Stairs With Cedar Mulch
The most likely place for termites to enter your deck are the ones that touch the ground, such as your support posts and your stairs. Surround these areas with cedar mulch to keep termites away. Cedar has a high oil content, which means that it naturally repels termites.
However, these oils will slowly leach out of the wood due to rainfall. These oils protect cedar from rot as well, so a good way to tell when it's time to replace your cedar mulch is to watch for rot. If your mulch begins to rot, it has likely lost its ability to protect your deck from termites as well.
4. Have a Termite Control Service Spray Repellent on Your Deck
Finally, the ultimate way to keep termites away from your deck is to use pesticides. Termite control services have access to termite repellent that can be applied to your deck annually in order to keep termites from eating the wood. In addition, a termite control professional can also inspect your deck to look for signs of an infestation. If one is found, termite-killing pesticides can be applied to your deck in order to wipe it out.
The four methods above will ensure that your deck doesn't become a pathway for termites to invade your home. At the same time, they also keep your deck strong and structurally stable, improving its longevity. Keep up with deck maintenance, buy some cedar mulch, and call a termite control service in your area to make sure your wood deck doesn't become a meal for termites.