Patio pour - Potential termite problem?

Saw this today on a warranty Inspection. Note the wood spacer between the patio and the house. This is unusual. While I see this technique often on sidewalks and such I don’t think I have seen it on a patio next to the home before. The wood spacer is on three sides of the patio as it is surrounded by the house.

Would you call this out? Or am I seeing something that isn’t a problem?


If it’s .60 treated for ground contact, I don’t see a problem.

If it’s a white wood form board, it shouldn’t be there, IMHO.


Hard to tell from the picture.
If it is graded P/T lumber (expansion joint), it should be Ok for a few years, unless it was cut.
If it is non-treated lumber (form board), recommend it be removed, and retreat the area for termite protection.
You guys have as bad or worse problems with Termites than we do in Ga.
Protect your Client.

I usually see an expansion joint that is made of a dark brown pliable material. However this lumber would not have contact with any structural lumber since the brick veneer rests on a concrete foundation, hence no pathway for WDO from exterior to interior.

Kevin what are the rules regarding calling out termites and or conditions conducive to termites in Texas?

Looks like untreated lumber, and was likely used as a screed-board. I’d reference it in my report, say that it could be removed, but doesn’t necessarily have to be, and the area filled with concrete. No big deal, either way.


Don’t bet on those pesty little boogers not finding a way to get through those cracks, pockets and splits in the morter of that unedible brick veneer.

I could not confirm or deniy the type of wood it was. While it does not directly touch structural lumber, there are weepholes present in the bottom course of bricks that provide a pathway to the structural lumber commonly used by termites.

As far as the Texas rules, they are strict but confusing at times. My understanding is that if you do not have an applicators license (which I do not) you cannot / should not comment on the absence or presence of the organisms themselves because you are not qualified, in the states opinion, to identify them. However, you can and should comment on the presence of conditions that are conducive to pest/WDI intrusion (high soil, foiage or wood fences touching the structure, form boards left by the foundation, etc). But you are not allowed to use the word termite and possibly even WDI. Some discussions I have seen on it are almost comical. The inspector is trying to tell the client of a visible problem without using the forbidden words. You see a board that has been clearly and extensively damaged by termites and you cannot say that, instead you can just say it is damaged/rotted.

I comment on conducive conditions, though I cannot say with 100% certainty that I am allowed to. I feel strongly that I would be doing a disservice to my customers if I did not point out these conditions and at least recommend further investigation or simple changes. I would welcome input from other Texas inspectors who may have a different opinion on this rule.

Would it be customary in TX to write in your report to have that area carefully evaluated by the pest control inspector during his inspection?

Yes, it would on a buyer inspection. This happened to be a Warranty Inspection. So I am commenting on builder proceedure and things that the builder may need to repair/improve. They are not going to be having a termite inspection.

scroll down to… --Sanitation–

…Says here "It is important to remove grade stales, foam boards and all other wood scraps from the soil around a new home before the backfill is pushed against foundation.You also need to ensure that there is no wood placed under porches, steps and patios as filler.If construction scraps are placed in these locations, it provides an ideal place for termite colonies to establish and grow adjacent to your home.

From these hidden areas, it is easy for termites to infest flooring,door frames, wall studs and sill plates. Insist that construction scraps are removed…"


“Termites can enter through cracks or gaps in the foundation as small as 1/32 inch…termites can go through gaps where concrete sections come together at expansion joints…”

So…Mr Builder, haul yer chtt away!

-Preventing Termite Penetration of Foundation Cracks

Yet again…:mrgreen: ANY Inside Drain tile or Baseboard System that many self-proclaimed-experts wish to sell homeowners, does NOT seal/waterproof ANY Outside cracks and other openings, thats right. These systems do NOT stop/prevent water from entering and so they wont stop/prevent MOLD, these bs systems wont help stop radon gas from entering same openings, wont stop termites and other insects from entering same pathways and, dont take any soil pressure and tree roots off the Outside of bsmt walls which cause Many walls to Crack, leak, BOW inward…got milk?

We used to use wood spacers all the time from Houston down to Corpus Christi. I haven’t done that type of work now in 20 years, though, so I don’t know if they still do. Wood is a natural insulator, and we found that by using wood spacers, we had fewer cracks in the concrete. Now concrete technology is so advanced that one probably doesn’t need the wood spacers anymore. With 20 years of hindsight, I also believe now that we were watering down the concrete to make it go further. It would be interesting to go back now and look at some of those houses we did to see how the concrete has survived.

Simply recommend removal of this spacer. It’s not a demand, it’s simply a recommendation. If they don’t remove it, then it’s their decision.

I write up all wood on grading whether it’s pressure treated or not.