Do Wooden Decks Attract Termites? (and how to prevent them)

For many homeowners, wooden decks are a prized feature of their outdoor living space. But as much as we love the natural charm of wood, it can also be an open invitation for termites to invade and cause damage. So, do wooden decks attract termites?

Wooden decks built with pressure-treated lumber can attract termites, but termites prefer wood that has not been treated as the treatment includes chemicals designed to repel insects. However, over time, as the wood is exposed to elements it becomes more vulnerable to termites.

So if your deck was built with pressure-treated lumber and is relatively new, it is unlikely to experience an issue with termites. Just ensure it gets treated annually for termites, and keep up with restaining and maintenance.

Composite lumber (ie: fake wood) is the best choice to avoid termite issues. But it is also the most expensive option.

But you do not have to worry about termites because there are steps you can take to prevent termite infestation on your deck and protect your investment. Read on to find out what you can do to prevent termites from attacking your wooden deck.

Key Takeaways

  • Wooden decks can attract termites and become a target for termite damage.
  • Preventing termite infestation on your deck involves understanding termite behavior and implementing prevention measures.
  • Regular inspections and maintenance of your wooden deck are crucial for keeping it termite-free and in good condition.
  • DIY termite control methods can be helpful, but hiring a professional termite prevention service may be the best option for long-term protection.
  • It’s also important to protect other outdoor wooden structures from termite infestation.

Understanding Termite Behavior

Termites are social insects that live in colonies. They are attracted to wooden structures, including decks, as a source of food. Understanding termite behavior is crucial to identifying and preventing termite infestations on your wooden deck.

One of the first signs of a termite infestation on your wooden deck is the appearance of mud tubes. These tubes are created by worker termites to travel between their underground colony and their food source. Additionally, you may notice discarded wings around your deck, as termites shed their wings after they have found a new location to start a colony.

Termites are naturally attracted to damp areas, so it’s important to ensure that your deck is properly ventilated and that there are no sources of standing water nearby. Regular inspection of your deck can help you identify and address any moisture issues before they become a problem.

It’s also important to note that different types of termites have different behavior patterns. For example, subterranean termites build their colonies underground and create mud tubes to reach their food source, while drywood termites build their colonies within the wooden structure itself.

Summing Up

By understanding the behavior of termites and recognizing the signs of a termite infestation on your wooden deck, you can take steps to prevent and address any issues that arise. Regular inspections and proper maintenance can go a long way towards keeping your deck termite-free for years to come.

Factors that Attract Termites to Wooden Decks

Termites are attracted to wooden decks for several reasons. The first and most obvious factor is the presence of wood. Termites feed on cellulose, the main component of wood, and are always on the lookout for a new food source. Unfortunately, wooden decks provide termites with a readily available source of cellulose, making them an attractive target for these pests.

Another factor that attracts termites to wooden decks is moisture. Termites require a moist environment to survive, and wooden decks that hold moisture are the perfect place for them to thrive. If your wooden deck is not properly maintained, water can seep into the wood, creating a moist environment that is inviting to termites.

Table: Factors that Attract Termites to Wooden Decks

Factors Attractiveness to Termites
Presence of wood Very attractive
Moisture Very attractive
Poor ventilation Attractive
Cracks and crevices Attractive
Untreated wood Attractive

Poor ventilation is also a factor that can make a wooden deck more attractive to termites. If a deck is not properly ventilated, it can trap moisture and create a damp environment that is conducive to termite survival. Additionally, cracks and crevices in the wood can offer termites an easy entry point, allowing them to gain access to the cellulose-rich interior of your deck.

Finally, untreated wood is more attractive to termites than treated wood. Treated wood is infused with chemicals that make it less appealing to termites, whereas untreated wood provides a perfect environment for termites to feed and thrive.

Proper maintenance is key to preventing termite damage to your wooden deck. Regularly inspect your deck for signs of termite activity and address any issues promptly. Make sure your deck is properly ventilated, and seal any cracks or crevices that may allow termites to gain access to the wood. Additionally, use treated wood whenever possible to make your deck less attractive to termites.

Termite-Resistant Wooden Decks

When it comes to building a termite-resistant wooden deck, choosing the right type of wood is crucial. Hardwoods such as teak, ipe, and jarrah are naturally resistant to termites due to their density and high oil content. Pressure-treated lumber is also a popular choice, as it has been treated with chemicals that make it resistant to termites and decay.

Another factor to consider in wooden deck construction is the use of barriers and physical deterrents. For example, installing a metal flashing or a layer of crushed stone around the perimeter of the deck can create a barrier that discourages termites from accessing the wood.

In addition, regular maintenance and upkeep can also make a wooden deck less attractive to termites. Ensuring that the deck is properly sealed and stained can help to repel termites, as can keeping the deck clean and free of debris.

Type of Wood Termite Resistance
Teak High
Ipe High
Jarrah High
Pressure-treated lumber High

In summary, building a termite-resistant wooden deck requires careful consideration of the type of wood used and the construction methods employed. With these factors in mind, it is possible to create a beautiful and durable deck that will withstand the test of time and remain termite-free.

Preventing Termite Infestation on Wooden Decks

Termites can cause significant damage to your wooden deck, but fortunately, there are many steps you can take to prevent termite infestations. By implementing these prevention measures and performing regular maintenance, you can ensure that your deck remains termite-free for years to come.

Regular Inspections

Regular inspections are essential for detecting termite activity before it causes significant damage to your deck. Inspect your wooden deck at least once a year for signs of termites, such as mud tubes, discarded wings, and wood damage. If you notice any signs of termite activity, contact a pest control professional for immediate help.

Proper Ventilation

Proper ventilation is crucial for preventing moisture buildup, which attracts termites. Ensure that your deck has adequate ventilation and air circulation to prevent excess moisture from getting trapped beneath the surface.

Sealing Cracks and Crevices

Sealing any cracks and crevices in your wooden deck is an effective way to prevent termites from accessing the wood. Use a high-quality wood filler to seal any gaps or cracks in the deck’s surface and around the edges where the deck meets the house. This will help prevent termites from entering the deck and causing damage.

Regular Cleaning and Maintenance

Regular cleaning and maintenance are essential for keeping your wooden deck in good condition and preventing termite infestations. Remove any debris, such as leaves and branches, from your deck’s surface and ensure that the deck’s surface is free of dirt and grime. Additionally, regularly apply a protective sealant to the wood to prevent moisture buildup and deter termites.

Professional Termite Prevention Services

If you’re concerned about termite infestations on your wooden deck, consider hiring a professional termite prevention service. These services can inspect your deck for signs of termites and provide treatments to prevent future infestations. They can also offer advice on proper deck maintenance and repair.

DIY Termite Control for Wooden Decks

If you’re looking for a hands-on approach to preventing termite infestations on your wooden deck, there are a few DIY methods you can try.

1. Beneficial Nematodes

You can introduce beneficial nematodes to your garden and lawn to help control termite populations. These microscopic worms are natural predators of termites and can be purchased online or at a garden center. Follow the instructions carefully for best results.

2. Cardboard Traps

Creating cardboard traps is an effective and eco-friendly way to lure and trap termites. Simply moisten a few pieces of cardboard and stack them in a damp area near your deck. Check the cardboard regularly and dispose of any termites you find.

3. Orange Oil

Orange oil is a natural insecticide that can be used to kill termites on contact. Mix the oil with water and spray it on areas where you suspect termite activity. Be sure to wear protective gloves and a mask, as the oil can be harsh on your skin and lungs.

4. Vinegar

Vinegar is a simple and cost-effective solution for repelling termites. Mix equal parts water and white vinegar in a spray bottle and apply it to wooden surfaces around your deck. You can also use vinegar to clean and seal cracks and crevices in your deck.

Remember, while DIY methods can be effective, they may not be as thorough as professional termite prevention services. If you’re struggling to control a termite infestation or want to ensure you’re taking all necessary precautions, consider hiring a professional.

Professional Termite Prevention Services

If you prefer to leave termite prevention to the experts, professional termite prevention services can be a great option. These services typically offer a range of termite control measures, including inspections, baiting, and treatment.

Professional companies have access to specialized equipment and chemicals that are not available to the general public. They also have the expertise needed to detect termite infestations and take the necessary steps to eliminate them.

When choosing a termite prevention service, look for a company with experience in treating wooden decks and outdoor structures. Make sure they are licensed and insured and ask for references from previous clients.


The cost of professional termite prevention services varies depending on the size of your deck, the severity of the infestation, and the type of treatment required. Prices typically range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.

While professional services can be more expensive than DIY methods, they can offer greater peace of mind and long-lasting results. Plus, the cost of repairing termite damage can be much higher in the long run.

Choosing a Professional Termite Prevention Service

When choosing a professional termite prevention service, it’s important to do your research. Consider the following factors:

  • Experience and expertise in treating wooden decks
  • Licensing and insurance
  • References from previous clients
  • Customer service and communication

Don’t be afraid to ask questions and get multiple quotes from different companies. Compare the services offered, the warranty, and the cost before making a decision.

Regular Inspections and Maintenance

Regular inspections and maintenance are essential for preventing termite infestations on your wooden deck. By identifying and addressing any issues early on, you can avoid costly repairs and keep your deck in good condition.


It’s recommended to inspect your wooden deck at least once a year for signs of termite infestation or damage. Look for mud tubes, small holes in the wood, and piles of sawdust, which can all indicate the presence of termites. You should also check any areas where wood comes into contact with the ground, as these are particularly vulnerable to infestation.

If you notice any signs of termite activity, it’s important to take action immediately. This may involve treating the affected area with insecticides or calling in a professional pest control service.


Proper maintenance is also crucial for preventing termite infestations on your wooden deck. Regularly cleaning your deck and removing debris can help prevent moisture buildup, which can attract termites. You should also seal any cracks or crevices in the wood to reduce the risk of infestation.

Additionally, it’s important to keep your deck well-ventilated, as this can help prevent moisture accumulation and deter termites. Regularly trimming nearby shrubs and trees can also help prevent these pests from building their nests in proximity to your deck.

By following these maintenance tips and conducting regular inspections, you can help protect your wooden deck from termite infestations and ensure that it remains a safe and enjoyable outdoor living space for years to come.

Protecting Outdoor Wooden Structures

Termites can wreak havoc on more than just your wooden deck. Other outdoor wooden structures, such as fences, pergolas, and even garden furniture, can also attract termite activity. To ensure that all of your outdoor wooden structures remain termite-free, here are some prevention tips:

  • Use treated lumber: If you’re building or replacing an outdoor wooden structure, opt for treated lumber that has been specifically treated to resist termites.
  • Avoid direct ground contact: Make sure that the wooden structure is not directly in contact with the ground. Use concrete footings or a layer of gravel instead.
  • Maintain a clear zone: Keep a clear zone around your structure by regularly trimming back vegetation and removing fallen leaves and debris.
  • Regular inspections: Inspect all outdoor wooden structures regularly for signs of termite activity, such as mud tubes and winged termites. Take prompt action if you notice any suspicious signs.

By implementing these prevention measures, you can keep all of your outdoor wooden structures in good condition and prevent termite damage from occurring.

Signs of Termite Infestation and Damage

Termites are notorious for causing extensive damage to wooden structures, including decks. If you suspect a termite infestation on your deck, it’s important to take action immediately to prevent further damage.

Here are some common signs of termite infestation on wooden decks:

  • Blisters in the wood flooring
  • Hollow-sounding wood
  • Cracked or distorted paint on wood surfaces
  • Piles of small wings near closed windows and doors
  • Mud tubes on or near the foundation of your home

If you notice any of these signs, it’s essential to call a professional termite inspector to assess the situation and recommend the best course of action.

Termite damage on a wooden deck can be severe and expensive to repair. The longer the infestation goes unnoticed, the more extensive the damage becomes.

It’s crucial to perform regular inspections of your wooden deck to catch any signs of termite activity early. Even if you don’t see any visible signs, it’s still wise to have a professional inspection done every few years to ensure your deck remains termite-free.


Termites can be a serious problem for wooden decks, but fortunately, there are many ways to prevent infestations and keep your deck in good condition. By understanding termite behavior and recognizing the signs of an infestation, you can take prompt action to safeguard your deck. Regular inspections and maintenance routines, as well as DIY prevention methods and professional assistance, can all help to prevent termite damage.

Stay Vigilant

Remember to stay vigilant and keep an eye out for any signs of termites or damage on your deck. By catching the problem early and taking quick action, you can prevent further damage and keep your deck looking great for years to come.

Regular Maintenance is Key

Regular maintenance is essential for keeping your deck in good condition and preventing termite infestations. It’s important to inspect your deck at least once a year and perform any necessary repairs or treatments. Proper ventilation and sealing cracks and crevices can also help to keep termites at bay.

Protect All Outdoor Wooden Structures

Remember that termites can attack not just decks, but also other outdoor wooden structures such as fences and sheds. By taking steps to protect all of your outdoor wooden structures, you can prevent termite damage and enjoy a beautiful, termite-free outdoor living space.

By following these tips and staying vigilant, you can keep your wooden deck in great condition and prevent termite infestations from taking hold. With proper prevention and maintenance, you can enjoy your deck for years to come.


How can I prevent termite infestation on my wooden deck?

To prevent termite infestation on your wooden deck, you should regularly inspect the deck for signs of termites, such as mud tubes or damaged wood. It is also important to keep the deck clean and free from debris, as termites are attracted to moisture. Applying a protective sealant and treating the wood with a termite-resistant product can also help deter termites.

What are the signs of termite infestation on a wooden deck?

Signs of termite infestation on a wooden deck may include hollow-sounding wood, mud tubes on the surface of the deck, discarded termite wings, or small holes in the wood. If you notice any of these signs, it is essential to take immediate action to prevent further damage to your deck.

Can I build a termite-resistant wooden deck?

Yes, there are several types of termite-resistant wood available that can be used to build a deck. These include naturally resistant woods such as cedar, redwood, and certain tropical hardwoods. Additionally, you can treat the wood with a termite-resistant product or use composite decking materials that are not susceptible to termite damage.

Should I hire a professional termite prevention service for my wooden deck?

Hiring a professional termite prevention service can provide added assurance and expertise in protecting your wooden deck from termite infestation. They can conduct thorough inspections, apply professional-grade termite treatments, and provide ongoing maintenance to ensure the long-term integrity of your deck.

How often should I inspect and maintain my wooden deck to prevent termites?

It is recommended to inspect your wooden deck at least once a year for signs of termites. Additionally, regular maintenance tasks such as cleaning the deck, removing vegetation and debris around the deck, and reapplying protective sealant should be done as needed to keep termites at bay.

Jeff Campbell

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