Is a house with a concrete slab floor susceptible to Termite attack?
Answer: Most definately yes.
Buildings with a concrete ‘slab on ground construction’ or ‘infill’ slab sections (like bathrooms and laundries) can be more prone to undetected termite entry than a building with a suspended timber floor. The is due to a lack of access under the building to detect the movement of termites into the structure as well as the clever ways that termites move between building elements and remain undetected.
Most modern project homes are constructed using a ‘monolithic’ concrete slab on ground. The concrete floor slab is designed to be impenetrable to termites, however termites can gain access through service penetrations in the floor, through joins or ‘cold joints’ in the slab, or over the edge of the concrete slab externally. Service penetrations, joins and slab edges should be protected with a termite protection however landscaping around the base of the building can ‘bridge’ this termite protection system, allowing access into the wall frames.
This is why the Timber Pest Report will recommend that the external ground levels around the base of the building should be at least 75-150mm below the slab edges, especially where weep holes are installed. This is also a warranty condition for most termite protection systems. (Check the electrical meter box for a “Termite Protection Notice” or talk to your pest control firm to better understand your obligations with regard to the termite protection system.)
An ‘infill’ concrete slab is also a common entry point for termites. Infill slabs are installed between the external walls and do not have an external slab edge visible. Termites can enter the building between the wall and slab. Infill slabs are typically found below bathrooms and laundries, verandahs, extensions and the like. If you are unsure about the type of concrete slabs you have we recommend talking to a licensed builder.
More regular and thorough termite inspections are recommended where a house has a concrete slab on ground and in particular where the slab edges are not visible, either due to landscaping or construction methods.
Always refer to the inspection and treatment recommendations in your Timber Pest Report.