removing blue foam insulation - termite damage

artlover13060July 1, 2009

Hi, I usually post in the decorating forum but have a serious construction problem to solve.

A recent termite inspection alerted me to the fact that my 20 year old house has old, inactive termite tunnels in the garage. The tunnels are in the blue foam insulation and did not get to the wood.

I don't know if this is a regional thing or standard building practice, but this is how my house was built: house was framed, then foam insulation was applied to the outside of the frame, then siding was put up.

I am going to remove the blue foam that is damaged. My question is can I replace this with fiberglass insulation? The area I am replacing extends up the walls about two feet and covers an area about 12 feet wide.

A rant while I'm on the subject: I am in Georgia, one of the worst states for termites. Why would builders use an insulation that termites can eat?

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Boarate-treated foam is allowed even below grade in the South.

The risk is not that termites eat the insulation but that the termites use hidden tunnels in the foam to reach the wood.

The only way termites could reach above-grade foam is to create shelter tubes up the foundation or within voids in a concrete block foundation.

Maintenance is the responsibility of the homeowner, not the builder.

can I replace this with fiberglass insulation?

If there is foam but no other sheathing, I'd use a borate treated foam board. Aside from some foundation fiberglass products, fiberglass cannot be used where it is subject to moisture.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 2:13PM
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artlover13060

Worthy - thanks for your reply. Can you give me a name brand for Boarate-treated foam or an idea of where to purchase it? HD has pink foam but I didn't write down the brand.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 4:05PM
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The only one I know of is Perform Guard DPS.

However, as you are not using this in a below-grade application, I think non-treated XPS (extruded polystyrene) or EPS (expanded polystyrene)would be fine.

But to avoid future termite problems, determine how the termites came in and try to block the route and/or keep an eye on the area. And follow all the usual rules on keeping them at bay. Keep all wood away from the foundation. Watch for shelter tubes. Treat the soil if feasible.

Termites have been a problem in parts of Toronto since the 1930s, when they probably hitched rides in on wooden crates arriving by ship to the Harbour. So it's not just a southern US problem.

Here is a link that might be useful: Termite Tips for Gardeners

    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 10:03PM
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