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Termites vs Finished basements

user-885167 | Posted in Energy Efficiency and Durability on

I am in the planning phase for two projects and am at a loss to unify the two.

First, when we replace some termite-damaged sills we want to add termite shields. If I understand correctly the shields should be visible from both sides of the foundation wall to provide for easy inspection.

On the other hand, we might also finish the basement using the approach in Andy Engel’s “No Mold Finished Basement” in a back issue of FHB. (

For finished basements, is there an equally effective alternative to having the termite shield stick out at the top of our interior basement walls?

For that matter, how do you inspect basement wall framing for termites, or do you just have to ignore it or use metal studs?

The home is in Penn, and has 16″ stone foundation walls with 1920-era lime mortar. The walls have a veneer of cut stone and the inside seems to be a haphazard collection of whatever was on hand at the time they built it, with blobs of lime mortar and lots of voids.

Thanks for ideas,
Steve El

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  1. Anonymous | | #1

    Ahimsa is the answer. Love the termites and let them feed on your sills.


    The termite shields force the termites to build tubes to get around the steel flashing and on into the house. they can stop just short of visible on the inside just so they force the tubes to be visible. On the exterior of the house we usually bend them down at a 45 degree angle as we caulk them to the masonry so the insects (esp, millipedes and ants) coming up the exterior of the foundation wall will be diverted into doing laps around the house. the siding generally laps down to cover this flashing angle. The idea is that the inspector is looking for tubes, not insects.

  3. user-885167 | | #3

    "they can stop just short of visible on the inside just so they force the tubes to be visible."

    Ach so! First thing in the morning I got a wonderful laugh and part of the answer! Thank you both.

    What about the basement wall framing? Are metal studs the only answer?


    No you should be able to use treated for the wall framing. I've seen them eat oak flooring to dust without touching the finish and chew up baseboards from the inside out. They can find and exploit very small gaps in the termite flashing so you will probably still want to use a soil poisoning (Premise) or bait type termite proofing system.

  5. Steve El | | #5

    Thank you Michael, and that brings up another question. I thought treated lumber shouldn't be used in interior living places, but maybe that's yesterdays news. Doe the stuff have adverse air quality issues in conditioned living spaces?


    I think the treated and indoor air is a relative issue. Not something I would normally recommend but in this situation maybe better than steel studs.

    Steel doesn't grow on trees. I try to minimize steel and aluminum when I can. It's not a black and white thing. Green building ends up being many shades of grey.

  7. Riversong | | #7

    TimberSil lumber infused with silica is 100% non-toxic to humans and non-corrosive.

  8. Steve El | | #8

    Thank you Robert, I'll look into it.


    Any word on weather Timbersil has gotten an ES report to allow it to be used in residential construction when a permit is required? I've been writing to them about this issue and getting no response. Great product, I'd really like to give it a try as soon as it is legal.

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