What’s the biggest fear you have when it comes to the well-being of your house? I guess this isn’t The Wizard of Oz, so the idea of a cyclone is pretty far-fetched. However, one widespread fear among anyone is that of a termite infestation. Termites can be ruthless. They seem to eat away anything. From your walls to your furniture, nothing is safe from these microscopic monsters.

It is important to understand that there many types of termites and we are specifically talking about Subterranean Termites, also known as “Subs.”

There are three most important principles that you need to keep in mind regarding Subterranean Termites

1. They inhabit the soil.

2. Their diet mainly constitutes of dead wood.

3. They thrive in moist conditions.

A termite infestation can be brutal for your building structure. You will be required to go through an extensive extermination process that will aim to rid your humble abode of the pests. Alternatively, you could try and prevent the infestation in the first place. You can do this by keeping two of the three things mentioned above separated from one another.

Soil to Wood

If you have ever had a home inspection conducted, your inspector may have used the words “Soil to Wood Contact”.   As the words suggest, it is when wood and soil meet each other.  Termites live in the soil, and they eat wood. Wherever the soil is in contact with the wood, the termites will spread.

Cutting this connection off can greatly reduce the chances of a termite infestation. There needs to be at least a 6″ to 8″ difference between the soil and untreated wood, according to current building standards, if you want to protect your house from the termites effectively. Do note that Pressure Treated Wood is one option where it is impossible to maintain the necessary clearance.


Termite thrives in moisture because they need it to produce their tunnels or “mud tubes.” If you eliminate the moisture from your house, termites will not be able to propagate efficiently. They will eventually lose interest in your house because a damp place is much more suitable for them to grow and multiply.

Cutting the moisture off can hence decrease your chances of suffering from a termite infestation. To do this, you need to divert water away from the house by extending downspouts (5’ feet away from the house), grading the soil away from the house (6” inched per 10’ feet). You can also build an underground drainage system if you feel the need for its construction.

Termite Inspections

It is wise to have a professional come over for a home inspection, in which he can determine the condition of your house and advise a suitable course of action. We recommend that when living in a city as humid as San Francisco, you should get a pest inspection every 2 to 3 years. It not only gives you peace of mind but also increases the value of your property.