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Drywood Termites in Cedar Shingles

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Debra calling all the way from the sunny Virgin Islands with a question about termites.

    DEBRA: I have – on my porch, I have some wooden shingles and they’re pretty weather-beaten.

    TOM: OK.

    DEBRA: So I’ve left them unfinished so that I can treat them for termites. But then, I want to revive the color and so I was wondering if I should use something like Thompson’s WaterSeal or a solid, oil-based stain.

    TOM: So these shingles are not installed yet; they’re just sitting …

    DEBRA: No, they’re installed.

    TOM: They are installed.

    DEBRA: The whole – the entire wall is wooden shingles.

    TOM: Oh, the wall? OK. Alright. So you’re looking for a way to kind of freshen up the look of the cedar shingles on your siding?

    DEBRA: Correct.

    TOM: OK. So, right now, there’s nothing on them whatsoever?

    DEBRA: No.

    TOM: Then your options are – if you want to do a clear finish, I would use boiled linseed oil. That’s an old-time finish that lasts like crazy. I had it on cedar shingles; it lasted 25 years. You don’t want to buy raw linseed oil, though; you want to make sure it’s boiled linseed oil, because the boiled linseed oil dries.

    Now, if you want to do something that has some color in it, then you could use either a semi-transparent or a solid-color exterior stain. And that will really fill in and even out the different tones in the wood but still let the grain show through.

    But I’m curious. You said that you want to protect this against termites. Are we talking about drywood termites or subterranean termites?

    DEBRA: Drywood termites.

    TOM: Yeah, which is …

    DEBRA: I was thinking about using Bora-Care or something like that?

    TOM: Yeah because that’s a big problem down in the Virgin Islands, where you have the – that warm weather. Do you have to – do you see folks that are tenting their houses from time to time, Debra?

    DEBRA: Yeah, it’s – but that’s pretty expensive and it’s not foolproof.

    TOM: Yeah.

    DEBRA: In a couple years, you have to do it again and it’s very expensive.

    TOM: Right. Yeah, I think that folks in the – most of the northern United States don’t really understand this. But drywood termites – we’re used to subterranean termites where they go back to the soil every 24 hours to get a drink.

    But when you live in a tropical environment like the Virgin Islands – also very common in Hawaii – you get drywood termites. They don’t need the water, so they land and actually infest and stay in the house. And so you have to surface-treat them or you have to tent the house and fill it with a pesticide to kill them.

    LESLIE: To actually get them out.

    TOM: Yeah. So you’re doing the smart thing kind of staying on top of it and basically minding the food supply and trying to keep those little buggers away.

    DEBRA: So if I put the boiled linseed oil, will that hamper my termite-prevention treatment?

    TOM: Will it hamper it? I don’t really know because I’ve never had this – that particular combination.

    DEBRA: OK.

    TOM: But I would say that you probably should treat for termites first and do the finish second. I would do it in that order.

    DEBRA: Right. Of course. Thank you so much for taking my call.

    TOM: You’re welcome, Debra. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

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