termite prevention

Best 7 Ways to Prevent & Monitor for Termite Issues in Your Crawl Space

Either you *think* you have termites or you *know* you have termites in your crawl space foundation. No bueno. You’re handling the situation for now, but no matter which one it is, you’re like, “How can I prevent this from happening again?

Anchor Foundation Repair Bryan College Station

At Anchor Foundation Repair, we understand the stress and anxiety that comes from a frustrating problem like termites in unseen areas of your home. We know what kind of damage termites can do to a crawl space foundation, and that it’s most often preventable if you know what to do.

This article will give you some easy-to-follow steps to avoid the costly repairs that result from termite damage. Let’s prevent this from ever happening again, shall we?

Steps to Correct Termite Damage

If a termite presence has been confirmed and you have damage, this has to be taken care of before you can worry about prevention or *the next time*, right

We’re not talking about cosmetic termite damage, we’re talking only about wood degradation resulting in a lack of proper support for your home. Termite-damaged wood can look kinda ugly, but still might support the weight of your home just fine. If your floors are not unstable, squishy, or sagging then the structure is well-supported.

protect wood under your home

If you’ve already got termite damage that has created structural issues, then corrective actions are in order first:

  1. Remove and replace structurally damaged sill beams and subfloor,
  2. Attach new joists next to damaged floor joists (aka sistering), and then
  3. Have a termite treatment completed by your chosen pest control professional.

The pest control guys always want to come handle your termite issue after the old wood has been removed and the new wood is in place. This way, they can pre-treat the new wood with whatever they have in their bug-killing arsenal for maximum prevention purposes and your whole home is covered.

Once termites are *put to bed permanently* whatever cosmetic wood damage you have will not progress or continue. Just the damaged stuff that is not functioning properly needs to be replaced.

7 Best Ways to Prevent Termites in Your Crawl Space

preventing termites
Dude, let’s prevent this . . .

Now if you don’t have any current damage that needs attention, you can skip right to the preventions. Termites are nearly 100% preventable with a bit of know-how and elbow grease. So here are the best actions to take to keep this pest of a problem at bay:

  1. Ensure there is no wood-to-ground contact of any kind under your home
  2. Keep your crawl space free of trash and debris
  3. Improve ventilation in your crawl space and keep it dry
  4. Install termite shields if needed
  5. Maintain good crawl space clearance
  6. Use proper pressure-treated wood materials under the home
  7. Purchase a monitoring program from a pest control company

Don’t worry, we will elaborate on these a little now . . . 

1. No Wood-to-Ground Contact

preventing termites

Termites tend to travel on wood and don’t like other surfaces. So if you have wood touching the ground then it’s like a superhighway leading them to the rest of the wood in your foundation and home. 

There are different types of piers used in pier and beam and crawl space homes, and sometimes wood materials get used for piers. Some wood is naturally resistant to wood-destroying insects, but some wood is just wood that should not be used in this situation. Wood is not the best option for piers anymore anyway. So if you have any wooden piers, those can and should be replaced during the repair phase.

Wood-to-ground contact can also come from siding that extends to the ground or skirting around your crawl space. So keep all that wood away from the soil too.

2. Clean Up Trash and Debris

Sometimes there’s a bunch of junk that ends up getting left in crawl spaces that can give termites pathways too. Just get all that stuff out of there so you can clearly see what’s going on in your crawl space to catch any developing issues more easily with clear lines of sight.

preventing termites
Cool ball and the ventilation is probably good, but this crawl space is a MESS!

3. Improve Ventilation and Keep the Crawl Space Dry

Ventilation issues and poor drainage cause moisture problems. Water vapor, humidity, and general sogginess are the perfect breeding ground for termites. Keep your crawl space dry and well-ventilated by working through these conditions.

We’ve got a good article on improving ventilation in your crawl space, as well as how to tackle drainage challenges under your home. These are both longer-term projects that may take time to optimize.

termite shield to prevent termites
Simple termite shield

4. Install Termite Shields

This sounds like a high-tech solution with laser beams or something, but it’s pretty old-school stuff. Basically, a termite shield is a piece of shaped sheet metal placed on top of your piers to separate the pier from the wood structure. It creates a barrier that termites can’t get around because they can’t traverse the material and reach your timber. 

We’ve got a photo of them here. Pretty simple concept, no lasers needed (even though that would be cool and *someone* should look into it).

5. Maintain Good Crawl Space Clearance

Many crawl space homes are (probably too) close to the ground creating moisture issues from ground vapor. Sometimes dirt gets piled up somewhere under there due to a drainage problem, rodents, or something moving the soil around. 

Piling up dirt can change the clearance from good to bad. So keep the dirt even, smooth, and as far away from the bottom structure of your home as possible.

Elevating your whole home is sometimes an option too, but that is a much larger undertaking to consider if the simple stuff doesn’t cut it.

degraded wood under house

6. Use Proper Pressure-Treated Materials

You shouldn’t just use any ol’ wood under your house. Anytime repairs are done, make sure that the stuff that gets used is the pressure-treated kind to keep away termites. 

Friends don’t let friends use bad wood.

Even with the proper wood, an active termite infestation that is not totally eliminated (or if some part of the home gets missed during the treatment) termites can still take a chunk out of the pressure-treated stuff too. But you’ve got to do what you can . . . 

7. Purchase a Termite Monitoring Program

Even if you don’t have termites now, crawl space homes are conducive to termites. If you’ve got a low-clearance crawl space, or other moisture issues that you haven’t fully handled yet, a termite monitoring program might give you peace of mind. You could DIY this operation or contract it out to a pest control company that will do periodic inspections.

Ask your favorite bug guy about it as the options vary. They can tell you what they offer in your area way better than us.

How to Monitor for Termites

Keeping an eye out for termites can be free, cheap, or easy but it’s going to take some eyes, monitoring tools, or a little of both. Here are your options:

FREE – crawl under there yourself and take a look periodically. Maybe bring a flashlight, yo.

monitor for termites
Termite monitoring stations

CHEAP – Buy and install your own termite monitoring stations. These are basically bait stations that get stuck in the ground every so many feet apart. If a termite munches on the bait, then some sort of indicator will let you know that there are termites in the area. 

A low-tech indicator would be just pulling up the cartridge or stake and seeing bugs. Some higher-tech indicators will have a mechanism to quickly show you without having to pull up the cartridge i.e. the indicator will pop up or there’s some visual change to the indicator that shows it’s been triggered.

It’s like an early alarm system. Then you can call in a professional for preventative treatment. You just have to find a good way to remember to check the stations regularly per recommendations on the product.

controlling termites
Do pest control guys ever wear these get-ups? And bright white Converse?? Really???

EASY – Get on a contract with a pest control company to do all this monitoring stuff for you. Easy effort for you because you don’t have to do the work, but you’ve got to pay some regular money for this service.

With any sort of monitoring method, you’re basically just trying to detect any infestation early on or even before it becomes one. Following all the best practices for prevention above plus regular monitoring should keep your crawl space free from termites for the long term.

Why Not Monitor for Foundation Problems Too?

signs of pier and beam foundation problems

Now that you know all about prevention and monitoring for termites, how about your foundation health in general? Crawl space foundations need more regular TLC to keep them in good shape and free from foundation settlement issues.

At Anchor Foundation Repair, we offer fair and impartial assessments, empowering education, and a fully transparent repair process. After 35+ years in business, that’s what’s best for our Brazos Valley community and for exceptional homeowners like you. We’re here to help guide you through all your foundation issues, even if we can’t help you with the whole solution.

You sound like a conscientious homeowner that wants the best for their home. Prevent or catch any developing issues early on by maintaining and monitoring your foundation throughout the year for optimum health.