Preserving wood in Concrete


Hiya All, Definitely not a fine woodworking question but I thought the intelligence of the Wreck might have some suggestions.
I'm about to embark on building an adobe wall outside my house (clay bricks basically). I intend to put in a gate and in order to hang this thing, I will be putting prolly 3"x8" rough cut cedar or pine into the ground against the wall ends to create the frame. I plan to set these in concrete around 24" deep. I'll then fasten the wood to the wall but can't rely on the adobe to provide a whole lot of support (hence, sinking the frame into the ground). I've got termites in this area and I'm worried about the wood rotting out as well.
I will be using an asphaltum in the morter and was wondering if just dipping the ends of the boards into this stuff would provide me the protection I need. Not too worried about the termites as the wood will be encased in concrete. Would this work or is there a better way?
Thanks much, cc
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James "Cubby" Culbertson wrote:

Once upon a time the above was basic practice; however, things change.
Think you will find that pouring concrete around a wooden post that is maybe 24" down in the ground won't solve your problem.
Suggest you consider the following;
Pour a concrete cylinder that is below the frost line and rises above grade level at least 8" that contains about 4, 1/2"-13 standard anchor bolts (The bottom of the bolt has a right angle bend, the other is threaded).
A commercial form for this is known as a "Sona tube".
It is basically a paper tube that is coated so it doesn't stick to the cured concrete.
Any decent electrical contractor who installs parking lot lighting can give you a source.
Form a steel plate in the shape of a "U" that gets bolted to the anchor bolts below and has a flap on each side of the post that allows thru bolting.
You may be able to find a commercial item but if you don't, NBD.
Any machine shop with a press brake and a welder can easily make them.
What I have described is almost standard construction here in SoCal.
HTH
Lew
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Thanks Lew, I was really hoping to prevent anything sticking up above ground other than the wood. I may have to think about this a bit more. Cheers, cc

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Lew is right about ow it's done now and if I were building a deck it's the only way I'd go. For your application I wouldn't hesitate to go with the concrete-in-a-hole method. It was used 20 yrs ago on my deck and it's still standing tall with no signs of rot. With your application it should be no problem at all although, like Les said, go below frost - and 30" would be my minimum. With regard to the termites, treated lumber is termite resistant and the ugly greenish color will weather away. If you don't want to wait that long, it appears that Penofin (type it into a search engine) has a product that only requires you to wait 30 days for a cureing time before application. The stuff sounds imressive but you'll have to get it online unless you live near one on of the very few dealers - comes from Australia. Heck, there's bound to be another product that does the same thing and id avalable at one of the box stores. Good luck!

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surrounding wood in concrete does not protect from termites. either a crack might let them in, or they get in from above the concrete. water or landscaping might push some dirt over the concrete and let termites get to the wood! and once dirt washes up to the wood if termites dont get to it, I've seen many post rot out of the concrete. keep the dirt clear.dont cover it on purpose
where I work here in Texas when a post or any wood is set in the ground and attached to the house or touching our company will cancel the home owners warrenty for their termite contract.
be careful!! keep the area clear and the ground and post treated both for termite and rot.

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Thanks Larry, Yeah, the termites are pretty prolific here too (NM). I've actually decided to mount the post to the wall above the ground. After all the trouble of mounting, layout, etc...I just decided to heck with it and will put some gringo blocks in the adobe and mount to them. The gate will be pretty small so it shouldn't need much support.
On a side note, I've noticed the termites don't mess with the treated lumber. I have a few cutoffs of regular doug fir and some treated stuff out in the yard. Went to clean them up the other day and the termites were all over the doug fir but didn't tough the treated stuff.
I've been reading about a new chem (actually not that new) called Termidor that supposedly works very well against the critters. Might have to inquire about that one of these days. Cheers, cc

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Jim...
Termidor and Premise are the two top professional termiticides on the market today. Both work on what's called a "non-repellent" basis. I happen to prefer Premise (by Bayer) and think it's safer to use with kids and pets around. Termites live in a colony 20-25 feet underground and commute to your house 24/7 to forage (get food/bring it back). A typical colony could be 300,000 to 3,000,000. Think of a 55-gallon drum full of squirming rice and you'd have a small colony. As they pass thru the treated soil, they get some residue of these products on their bodies, and termites socially preen themselves and inadvertently the checmical gets into their systems. The excess food (cellulose) they bring back from your house is reguritated in a food store to feed larvae, pupae, queen & king... plus any underdeveloped termite. So tainted food is shared with the colony. These chemicals act like time-release drugs, and it can take 15 to 45 days to eliminate the colony... but they usually all die.
I inspect houses, and in addition to wood, termites eat the paper on sheetrock, yellow pages, books, cardboard, newspaper, some ceiling tiles, homosote board, masonite, and just about anything with a cellulose base. PT wood is untasty when new, but if you lie it on the ground the chemical will eventually leach out and the termites will infest the wood. And to throw a rock in the gears... Carpenter Ants do not eat wood... but they can cause almost identical sorts of damage as they hollow out wood to build sub-colony nests in houses.
Both are officially called WDI's (Wood Destroying Insects) in our nationally spec'd reports. Two other WDIs are Carpenter Bees and Powder Post Beetles. If you sink the wood into the concrete, you're not helping the wood, and that's why the PT warranty is voided if the wood is placed on/in the ground and not on a raised sonotube or cement foundation.
Termidor and Premise are not available to the general public AFAIK. You have to have a specific termite license to buy/use it here in New England.
Termite 101 is over...
James "Cubby" Culbertson wrote:

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Wow, thanks for the lesson!
You're right that they eat anything with cellulose. I first noticed their presence when I noticed an expansion joint had been all but destroyed by them.
I hadn't heard of Premise before. I may look into that as I do have the pets and us to worry about! I've had the outside treated before. The guy hits em with some form of Borax but not sure of the trade name. He says it repells them and keeps the house safe. Hmmm, not too sure of that one.
I've had carpenter ants before. Thankfully they don't eat the wood, they spit it out and it's pretty easy to discover them early on with all the little piles of sawdust around!
I would think that someone that sold "Pre-treated Lumber" specifically for termites would make a fortune. Cheers, cc

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I've had the outside treated before. The guy

it
borax and any borate product works only when it stays dry. it will last a while when it gets wet but it will leech out fast.
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yea just what he said!! great job I dont belive I could write it up any better.to sum it up so well so shortly. I use Premise myself. C'ya larry

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