How To Treat Your Wood Fence for Termites Before Painting?

Anti termite paint for wood

Worried termites will lay waste to your new fence?

Worry not, you are not alone!

Research done on termites reveals that termite infestation is a common problem throughout the United States – particularly in the southern half of the country.

Termites usually spread through from the ground levels to reach your fences as well as wooden furniture at home.

They make use of termite tubes (that are made up of mud) to travel over non-wood items like concrete, brick, or metal.

Fortunately, there are several proven ways that can treat and help get rid of termite infestation.

Painting and staining your wooden fence (or other infested articles) using high-quality anti-termite paint for wood are one of them.

In this guide, we’ll go over the different methods of treating your wooden fence for termites along with protecting your wood against these wood-boring insects in the longer term.

Keep reading to find out the best ways to treat your fence so that it stays termite-free and good-looking to give your yard an added aesthetic.

Treating Your Wood Fence for Termites

In general, termites do not tend to eat painted wood.

And the good part is from primers and paints to oil-based stains, there’s more than one way to paint and get rid of termites in your wood fence.

Let’s take an in-depth look at each of these ways and steps, so you can better fight off termites your way.

1- Use An Oil-Based Primer

If you plan on painting your pine or cedar fence, you should start off with an oil-based wood primer that’s designed specifically for protecting wooden surfaces.

These primers are designed to act as a termite repellant and are highly effective at keeping the nasty bugs away from your wood.

Especially when thinned with a mineral turpentine or Nitro cellulose thinner (also called NC thinner) these primers can offer greater protection against termites.

Remember that, for best results, you’ll want to apply two coats. Make sure that the first coat of primer is fully dry before you apply the second.

2- Apply Borate-Based Wood Preservative

Before you apply your paint or stain, you may choose to apply a borate-based wood preservative.

This solution, which comes as either a liquid you can apply or a powder you can mix with water, is highly effective at keeping termites at bay.

For optimal results, be sure to apply the borate wood preservative evenly and pour it into any post holes, as this will allow the chemical to seep into the surrounding ground areas and repel termites even more efficiently.

3- Use Termite-Repellant Paint or An Oil-Based Stain

Once you have applied the oil-based primer and a preservative, it’s time to put on your final coat.

This finish comes in the form of termite-proof paint that you can apply for even more protection against the pesky critters.

When painting, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions and keep in mind that you may need to apply two to three coats in order to get that quality protection (and look) that you’re going for.

You may also choose to stain your fence if you are going for a more natural look.

Before you apply your stain (make sure it’s oil-based), you’ll want to coat your fence evenly with a wood sealer so that you add an extra layer of protection against termites and prep the fence wood for the stain treatment.

Next, you’ll want to apply your oil-based stain.

This stain will give the fence a more natural look and also prevent termites by allowing the oil to soak into the wood.

Just be sure to apply more than one coat, as this will allow you to reach deeper into the wood for better termite protection.

For best results, you can also consider adding a coat or two of polyurethane polish, which will add an extra layer of protection to the wood from termites.

Man applying termite proof paint on wood fence

How to Kill Termites in Your Fence Before Painting?

It’s important to treat and kill the live termites before painting if they are already present in your old wooden fence.

You should check for these insects not only on your fence but also under the ground where they might be damaging the wood posts.

But how can you exactly get this done?

One of the best and most environmentally friendly ways of killing the termites in and around your fence is by using termite bait traps.

Remember, killing the termites that are present in your fence will NOT be going to stop the termite activity completely.

You will instead need to detect the swarming termites (usually found inside the ground) and kill them, for getting rid of them permanently.

Termite traps are basically the bait stations that are placed in or above the ground around your home (near the fence, deck, etc.).

These traps do not actually trap the termites. But they work by providing the bait (that may contain paper, wood, cellulose). These baits are combined with a poisonous substance that can actually kill the termites.

Spectracide Termite killer is one of the best termite baits that I have found and have been using for many years.

Not only does it kill the termite fast, but also it helps in detecting the termites very quickly around your fence.

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TIP: Most of the time, homeowners think of removing and replacing the old infested fence as the only viable option.

IMO it’s correct, especially if the fence is heavily damaged you should remove them and burn all the pieces.

Get the new one installed and follow the treatment process (mentioned above) for protection.

However, if the fence is not heavily damaged and can be repaired, you can kill termites and repaint the fence with a termite repellent paint to make it like new.

Treating wood to prevent termites  in fence

How to Prevent the Termites from Attacking the Wood Again?

Staining or painting your wood fence is the very first solution.

When you are to choose between painting and staining a fence, I would suggest getting them stained rather than painting.

Since wood can absorb the stains to a much deeper extent than it does paint, the finish you will get with staining will be excellent and longer-lasting.

Plus, it will also prevent the termites from eating through painted wood. A few other ways that can help you prevent termite attacks include…

a) Use Termite-Proof Wood

While this may sound to be quite general, it’s one of the best ways to prevent termites, especially when you are building a new fence or a shed in your backyard.

Termite-proof woods like Redwood, Yellow Cedar, Laotion Teak, and Tallowwood are the best-known options for construction and avoiding the possible termite infestation.

However, since these types of wood are rare (maybe unavailable or out of your budget) you can consider using a plank of pressure-treated wood.

These are easily available at your local hardware stores or lumber depots.

b) Use Termite Repellent Plants

Plant species like catnip and vetiver grass are effective to repel flying termites and can be used as a natural way to prevent termites near your fence area.

Marigolds, garlic, hot chili peppers, and mint are other few plants that help to deter termites (and vampires) from your garden.  

The good thing is some of these plants are so effective that they can also help in repelling aphids, moles, and fruit tree borers in your backyard.

c) Allow Easy Access to Sunlight

Bright sunlight and heat have the properties to kill termites.

If you are not interested in planting the termite-repellent plants, you can clean the vegetation around your house fence, which will then allow enough sunlight access to promote termite death.

The Bottom Line

By using the right solutions, namely oil-based termite-proof paints and stains, you’ll be able to get your old wood fence properly treated for termites.

In fact, repainting or staining is one of the greatest ways to get rid of termites in a wood fence.

This will also help your fence’s aesthetic in the long term, as these solutions are highly effective at keeping the swarm of termites away from your wood.

Plus, it will also help in protecting the wood against the elements, such as UV rays (that cause greying of the wooden fence over time) and rainwater (that can seep in and can rot the wood or can create splits and cracks).

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