July 12, 2016

Question of the Week – July 12, 2016

Welcome back to our Question of the Week Series.  It’s been a long time, but hey – nobody’s perfect!  We’ve been busy answering your questions via our web chat feature, via email, via phone, and via our blog, but we’ve been pretty poor at sharing these questions with the rest of our audience, and for that we’re sorry!

This week, we received a question that we thought was just right for rebooting this series considering the increased interest we’ve seen recently in GUTEX wood fiberboard – a foam-free alternative when you’re looking for continuous insulation – AND with the added benefit of being vapor open, and a robust WRB or roof underlayment…



Now to the question:


How does GUTEX fiberboard stand up against termite and wood ant attacks?  Has it been tested?




Our answer:

Excellent question.  GUTEX – when properly installed – is very dry.  This is important regarding pests in insulation, because the biggest culprit for pest intrusion is when the insulation is damp.  We’ve seen or heard of many cases where damp EPS – for example – has been damaged by nesting animals.  They don’t eat the material, but rather excavate it to nest in it.  Because of GUTEX’s vapor open properties (>40perms/in.), the material by design won’t get sufficiently damp so as to encourage nesting.  Its dryness makes it inhospitable to pests.


Furthermore, GUTEX wood fiberboard is not a food source for pests.  As described by GUTEX below:


    “During the production process, the product is heated above 170°C (338°F).  Such high temperatures dissolve the natural protein in the wood.  Therefore the naturally occurring protein is no longer available as a nutrient for insects, etc.  GUTEX has not had any complaints from customers concerning wood pests or rodents settling in our products.”



In summary:

The important thing to consider here is moisture.  While termites aren’t present everywhere in the US, they certainly are in the majority of the country.  Keeping the moisture content of your assembly low by limiting capillary action at the sill plate, using a vapor open assembly with SOLITEX MENTO or GUTEX as a WRB, and increasing the drying reserves of your wall with INTELLO are just some of the ways you can prevent excess moisture in your assemblies and thus unnecessary risk of termites and other wood ants.  Using materials that have a low initial moisture content is also important.  As another example – when installing insulation in the stud cavity, always cover immediately with INTELLO – especially in winter – to limit excess initial moist conditions.


PS – MEALWORMS CAN HAPPILY AND SAFELY EAT STYROFOAM. Wow, I never thought I’d see “happily” and “safely” in the same sentence with “styrofoam”.


For more information on GUTEX wood fiberboard insulation, see here or contact us.


To read the other posts in our Question of the Week series, click here.


**Please note that in republishing our question of the week, we sometimes edit the text of the original question and response in order to provide additional clarity to the issue.**


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