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How To Choose Termite Resistance Material

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High pressure laminate is highly resistant against to subterranean termites and found to be the most durable against subterranean termite attack, followed by pinewood, rubberwood and particleboard.

What is subterranean termites?

A subterranean termite infestation begins when warm temperatures and heavy rainfall trigger an established colony to send out a swarm of winged termites. Swarms consist of winged reproductive males and females. Subterranean termite colonies are usually active for three to five years before winged reproductives appear. Winged, reproductive termites are frequently mistaken for flying ants, but are smaller than ants and have straight, rather than bent, antennae. Termite swarmers have four wings that are all the same size. Ant swarmers have two large wings in front and two smaller wings behind. After mating, swarmer termites land and shed their wings, leaving them in piles that resemble fish scales. If there are piles of wings on windowsills of your home, check to see if they are all the same size. They could be termite wings especially if they are all the same size.

Test Scope and Objective:

The Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) evaluated high pressure laminate resistance against termite attack compared to other wood based materials (rubberwood, pinewood and particle board).

Two test methods were used:

    Controlled laboratory environment (test standard ASTM D3345-08)

Results and Observations:

Below is the observations after 4 weeks of testing period:

a. High pressure laminate – sound attack of termite

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b. Rubber wood – moderate attack by termite

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c. Pinewood – moderate attack by termite

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d. Particleboard – moderate attack by termite

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  • Average visual rating for high pressure laminate was rated as 10 (sound attack by termites) while the other three tested woos were rated as 7 (moderate attack).
  • Wood tunnels and holes due to termite feeding were visibly seen on the surface of the pinewood, rubberwood and particleboard test blocks.
  • Particleboard test blocks were severely attacked by fungi within two to three weeks of the lab test which increases weight loss of the test blocks.

Conclusions:

      High pressure laminate was highly resistant to both termite and fungi attack based on both laboratory and field test and may be used for exterior application and at high humidity area. High pressure laminate was found to be the most durable against termite attack, followed by pinewood (softwood), rubber wood and particleboard under the local condition stated on laboratory test.
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