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How Do I Treat Woodworm?


Structural damage caused by woodworm

Before I continue any further and as a duty of care, I must point out that if left untreated, an infestation of wood boring beetles can have a huge impact on the structural integrity of timber within a building such as floor joists, roof timbers, floor boards which can all be damaged and destroyed. 

Woodworm can lead to structural damage and injury to an individual so it is very important to recognise that ideally, a property owner would engage a suitably qualified surveyor or contractor to firstly identify the type of wood boring insect, or even if indeed it is a live infestation, why it has come about and the correct strategy to eradicate it.

How to treat woodworm 

When it comes to treating woodworm, it is not always as straightforward as you would initially think. It is not as simple as having a builder evaluate the issue, confirm that you have woodworm, go to a local Hardware shop or purchase a woodworm treatment online. Treatment of woodworm is also not a quick process with a simple chemical spray treatment applied to infected areas. Many people ask me, "how do I treat woodworm" are often surprised that when it comes to treating woodworm, chemicals are often not required to rid your home of this infestation. 

Woodworm Treatment Checklist:

1- When it comes to treating woodworm, firstly you need to check if the wood worm or other boring insect infestation is still active.

Because you can see some pin head size holes within timber doesn’t always mean that woodworm is still present. How do you know if woodworm is active? Typically there are tell tale signs, such as fresh and clean looking flight holes around the entry point within the timber. Below these holes there would be small moulds of fine saw dust which within the industry is called frass. To tell whether the woodworm is fresh, the saw dust will be light in colour to suggest an active and recent infestation. If you are witnessing a live or recent infestation, action that may or may not involve a chemical treatment will be required. 

2- Another important aspect in discovering why you have woodworm and that is to discover why it has come about? 

There are typically two reasons why your property is experiencing an infestation of woodworm. The first reason and the least common one is the introduction of a new piece of furniture made of wood, typically second hand furniture. The second reason and the most common, is the presence of higher than acceptable levels of moisture within the structural timbers of the building. The most common example of this is due to a lack of sub-floor ventilation under floorboards at ground level. 

How to check the moisture level within wood? 

To determine the level of moisture content within the timber of a building, you can buy a relatively inexpensive damp meter. Cheap ones are not highly accurate but will give you a good enough indication of the presence of high levels of moisture which is given as a percentage reading.

Advice varies as to the ‘action’ percentage, but as a rule of thumb, 18% will require that you continue to monitor that it does not get higher, while 20% or more will need urgent action. 

When it comes to treating and preventing moisture, first determine the cause of the moisture. Before considering the application of a chemical preservative, first you must discover why you have moisture and damp otherwise any treatment purchased will be both a waste of time and money. 

Once the cause of moisture is detected and correctly treated, then you can take the decision on how to restore the affected timbers and whether they need any kind of timber preservative applied. 

How do I treat the timber for woodworm?

You have now discovered the extent of a woodworm infestation the time has come to treat the woodworm.

How do I treat woodworm? The method that you take to treat the timber and destroy the woodworm is down to the type of wood and what the timber is doing, e.g. floor boards or structural beams. If you can break it apart with your fingers, then it would probably be prudent to replace the timber altogether with new. If, however, some of the edges slightly splinter away, but in the main, it is sound, then you have probably caught it early enough and maybe all that is required is some good ventilation, drying the wood out before considering any kind of chemical treatment if it is needed. 

Granted you do feel the need or have been advised to apply a timber treatment, then again, you would need to confirm the type of insect you are treating the wood against and the type of wood. This will help you to select the right treatment chemicals. By fully understanding the type of wood and how to correctly apply the chosen chemical or combination of treatments, is important when treating large volume of structural timbers.

What is the best treatment for woodworm?

Certain timber preservatives are suitable for professional use only, meaning an accredited damp and timber specialist will need to apply them.

However, when it comes to applying, straightforward, spray applied solution to the confirmed woodworm, we recommend using Boracol 5RH, a low odour, no mixing, sprayable product suitable for DIY application.

 

How long does woodworm treatment last? 

There are three answers to this question.

Firstly, if the cause for the presence of moisture is not addressed then there will be next to no results.

Secondly, it all depends on correct identification of the insect present or the fungal decay, the type of wood and the correct application of the correct chemical.

Finally, if all carried out correctly, if applied by an accredited contractor they would be prepared to offer a 20 year guarantee for their treatment.

There you have it, the many common questions asked by homeowners wanting to know, how do I treat woodworm? If you still have any other questions or wish to discuss your individual needs further, please do not hesitate to get in contact


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