Termite Shield: A shield, usually of non-corrodible metal, placed in or on a foundation wall or other mass of masonry or around pipes to prevent passage of termites.
I don’t see many termite shields in my travels and of those houses that do have them, the chances of having termite damage go way down. In recent years companies have come out with modern shields for plumbing pipes in the slab made of durable plastic but little change has been made to the good old fashioned foundation shield itself. Shields are almost always made for homes with crawl spaces but occasionally I’ll find them on slab homes. Sometimes you may see copper but for the most part it’s always galvanized sheet metal that protrudes out over the edge of the foundation or piers, ever standing guard watching and waiting for the ravaging onslaught from the subterranean termite.
If you’re lucky enough to have the shield the list of do’s is quite short. Do have the house inspected once per year for termites and make sure your inspector knows to look over the shield for any breaks. Termites only need about 1/64th of an inch to get in and if a corroded spot does occur or a nail popped through somewhere get it fixed as soon as you can.
The don’t list is not real long either but it is no less important. Don’t bend, cut or alter your shields in any way but if you have to because of remodeling or an add on to the home, consult with a knowledgeable termite person to guide you. I know, I hate that kind of advice too but the pictures below show altered shields and the damage that came with it. Now these poor folks need a repair man, the termite guy and perhaps a banker to get a loan to pay for all the work. The other major pitfall with shields is providing a bridge that the termites can use to get around your barrier. Mostly I see this in the form of non shielded skirting but quite often it is stacked storage up under the home. Any new skirting must be shielded and if you use the space for storage keep the items stacked off the ground and away from any wall or pier. Hanging insulation or unprotected pipes are also an avenue that termites use very often and needs to be addressed.
I told you the lists were short but did I also mention simple? Just because you have termite shields in place don’t be complacent and think that you can never have an infestation. Shields are just one more tool to help safeguard your home but is very seldom regarded as a stand alone barrier.