In this edition of Risinger Goes Rogue, Matt explains the way he deals with termites. In and around Austin, Texas, where RIsinger Homes builds, termites are no joke. Often they are dealt with by pouring tons of chemicals around the foundation. The chemicals inevitably leach away, so they become ineffective ... and create a health hazard in local waterways. Instead Matt uses a tight-woven stainless steel mesh, which gets installed with stainless-steel pipe clamps around all the penetrations through the slab. The mesh is held up 2 to 3 inches up from the sub-slab vapor retarder and gets embedded in the concrete to create a physical barrier. When a termite tunnels up through the earth and tries to crawl in at the gap around the pipe, it is stopped before it can enter the house. (Termites entering this way can be quite destructive, as they enter in plumbing chases or inside walls where they can't be seen and can destroy a house if given enough time.)
Matt is clear that this method is not a substitute for yearly termite inspections: The earth-crawling demons can still make their way around the foundation. It's critical that builders leave at least 8 inches of exposed foundation around the perimeter of the house so an inspector will see the mud tubes that termites build to move above ground.