To ensure that your home will last for generations, you need to look at many areas, both large and small. Two areas--both important for durability--that are sometimes glossed over are the proper
anchoring of the sill plate, and the use of
physical barriers to control termites.
It is very important to ensure that the sill plate is properly anchored to the foundation, especially in earthquake and high-wind areas. In particular, pay attention to proper sizing and spacing of the sill plate anchor hardware.
The Uniform Building Code requires sill plates to be bolted to the foundation with 5/8-inch diameter bolts in seismic areas. These bolts should be spaced no more than 6 feet apart. A bolt should be placed within 9 and 12 inches from the ends of all sill plates, and placed near the center of the stud.
Always consult local codes and manufacturers details before installing a product.
Termite control traditionally is performed through soil chemical treatments that act as barriers between subterranean termites and the house.
Barrier control methods that do not rely on termiticides as the primary deterrent are called physical barriers. Physical barriers can isolate particularly vulnerable elements of a house such as penetrations through foundations and slabs, or protect the entire perimeter of the foundation.
Although costs are typically higher than using termiticides, proper placement and installation of physical barriers can provide termite protection for houses with little to no risk of pesticide exposure to the occupants.
Once installed properly, reapplications of the physical barriers are unnecessary, unlike chemical control measures.
With physical barriers, a shield is placed between the masonry foundation and wood framing to prevent termites from gaining access to the wood framing components.
Termite shields must be made of termite-resistant materials such as thick metal or concrete since some termites can chew through plastics and thin metals. Also, any seams in a termite shield must be soldered or otherwise sealed.
For more detailed information see
Chapter 6 of PATH's
Durability by Design.
Content updated on 12/7/2005