Use Vinly Flooring For A Good Looking Floor

How to Choose Vinyl Flooring

What type of room will this be going in?

Type of Room

This is an important first step to figuring out which floor is best for your needs. Are you installing in a basement or moisture prone area, such as a kitchen or bathroom? Are you planning to use this in a business, such as a cafe, boutique or restaurant?

If so, vinyl is a perfect option as it can be installed below grade rooms and is 100% moisture proof. You will not need to worry about spills, water on shoes or damage when exposed to moisture. It is a perfect solution for nearly any room!

Traffic

Second, you will need to consider how much foot traffic the room or area will see on a regular basis. If you’re installing your vinyl in an area that will see heavy foot traffic, such as the foyer or in a cafe, you’ll want to go with a vinyl that has a higher wear layer, such as a 12 or 20 mil.. If your vinyl will be housed in a guest room or other space with minimal traffic, the wear layer and thickness are not as big of a concern.

For high traffic areas and commercial applications, you may also consider a thicker plank that is more stable, such as a WPC or SPC rigid core vinyl. A rigid core vinyl has an engineered core that will hold up to dents, high traffic and temperature fluctuations. These planks are less susceptible to movement and damage.

What is your style and decor goals?

Vinyl flooring can be found in many versatile decors. Depending on your style, you can find vinyl floors in wood, stone, cement and shabby chic looks. With advances in surface technology, vinyl can be found with beautiful textures to mimic real tile and hardwoods. Vinyl plank flooring can be found with wide planks, multi-plank designs and more traditional plank widths. Adding to the style, beveled edges or square edges are also available.

No matter what style you are looking for, you will be amazed at how vinyl can transform your home or business!\

 

How to Choose Vinyl Plank Flooring

Vinyl plank flooring is an engineered floor covering designed to mimic the look of real wood. When you’re choosing your flooring, you’ll need to consider the thickness of the vinyl, the wear layer, and the installation method. Armed with this information, you should be able to find the perfect vinyl plank flooring for your home!

Opt for a thickness of 2–3 mm (0.079–0.118 in) for low-traffic areas. If you’re covering a small area with low traffic, you can choose planks in a thickness of 2 mm (0.079 in), 2.5 mm (0.098 in), or 3 mm (0.12 in).

Select planks between 3.2–4.0 mm (0.13–0.16 in) for high-traffic areas. Most of the common areas in your home, including the living room and the kitchen, will be best suited by a high-quality plank that is either 3.2 mm (0.13 in) or 4 mm (0.16 in) thick.

Choose a thickness of 5 mm (0.20 in) or more for the highest quality. The thickest vinyl planks can be anywhere from 5 mm (0.20 in) to over 8 mm (0.31 in) thick. These planks cost the most, but they are also the most durable and usually look the most like real wood.

 

Things You Need to Know Before Buying Vinyl Flooring

Types of Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl flooring comes in 2 types—sheet flooring and tile flooring. Sheet flooring—which is laid down in sheets that are 6 or 12 feet wide—is water resistant and easy to install. Vinyl tile flooring comes in tile sizes of 9 or 12 square inches; it replicates the look of ceramic tile but is more economical. Luxury Vinyl Tile—which simulates stone or wood—comes in plank shapes, often 7″ wide by 48″ long.

Vinyl Finishes

There are 3 types of finishes for vinyl flooring, all of which provide a beautiful end result.

Vinyl no-wax finish: This is the lightest type and is great for areas with light foot traffic and minimal exposure to dirt and moisture

Urethane finish: More durable, this finish is heavier and can stand up to moderate foot traffic and is also resistant to scuffing and easy to clean

Enhanced urethane finish: This is the toughest available and can accommodate the heaviest foot traffic, is highly resistant to scratches and stains, and enjoys a lasting luster without constant care

Cost

Per square foot, vinyl flooring is one of the most economic options of flooring that you can choose. On average, you can expect to spend $2-$12 per square foot to have it installed. Luxury Vinyl Tile—or LVT to those of us in the biz—is similarly inexpensive, costing on average, $3-$14 per square foot for installation. When you compare the cost to wood, stone, or ceramic flooring, vinyl offers a significant cost savings. And if you’re handy, you can cut costs even further by installing vinyl flooring yourself. Depending on the complexity of the project, you can expect to spend $1-$2 less per square foot if you perform the installation, but of course we are always happy to install your new flooring.

Ease of Installation

Installation of vinyl flooring is typically easier than installation of other flooring materials. A floating vinyl sheet, for example, doesn’t require glue or staples. Instead, peel and stick vinyl can simply be adhered to a prepared subfloor. Vinyl flooring can also be installed over concrete, hardwood, or plywood. It can even be installed over existing vinyl; however, it isn’t recommended if you have 2 or more preexisting layers.

 

How to choose and lay vinyl flooring

Advances in technology and printing mean that vinyl flooring can now compete with other kinds of flooring, including natural materials, such as solid wood, real stone and ceramic and porcelain tiles, in terms of appearance and texture. But what makes  vinyl flooring most popular is its long lasting durability, scratch resistance and easiness to clean.

As well as being highly insulating for both heat and sound, vinyl is one of the most affordable flooring options, alongside laminate. Available in a wide range of designs, you’re sure to find a style that suits your space.

HOW MUCH VINYL FLOORING DO YOU NEED?

How much vinyl you need depends on the size of the room you are flooring, and the format of the tiles you are choosing. Measure the length and width of the room and then multiply them. For example:

If your room measures 5m by 5m, the area of your room is 25m² and you will need 25m² of vinyl flooring. Most flooring suppliers will display how many metres squared a pack of their flooring will cover. Always allow for an extra 10 per cent, just in case tiles are damaged, and so that you can replace worn tiles if you ever need to.

HOW TO FIT VINYL FLOORING

Fitting vinyl flooring depends on the type of vinyl and the skill required: if you are laying a single sheet in a large room, then one wrong cut can be an expensive mistake. Some products require adhesives for installation, while others come with a peel-off sticky backing or click together like laminate boards.

As with most flooring types, you will get a better finish if it is professionally laid, but if you are competent at DIY then you might want to have a go. Do bear in mind, though, that tiles or planks will be a lot easier to work with than a rolled out sheet of flooring.

 

A Step by Step Guide to Choosing Flooring

Choosing flooring is far more complicated than just finding the best-looking product. Several other factor—moisture, durability, costs, and more—greatly influence your decision. Follow these five steps in order to reach the flooring decision that is right for you and your home.

Choose The Best Way To Stucco Repairs

How to Repair Stucco Siding

Stucco is a very strong, durable cement-like siding material but repairs are sometimes needed for cracks and holes.

Though you’re better off leaving major stucco repairs to a mason or stucco specialist, you should be able to handle fixing most holes and cracks if you have do-it-yourself experience. The way you make these repairs will depend upon the nature of the damage, such as the size of the hole. Here we look at typical stucco repairs. For information on painting stucco, please see How to Paint Stucco.

Fixing Large Holes in Stucco

Patching large holes in stucco is a job that homeowners adept at basic home repairs can handle-though it may be difficult to create a patch that blends perfectly with the wall unless you repaint. If you are not comfortable doing this type of repair, contact a local siding contractor.

If you decide to do the job yourself:

  1. Remove loose stucco from the hole with a cold chisel and ballpeen hammer as shown at right; blow out the dust. Staple new wire mesh over any damaged mesh. Spray with water.
  2. Apply the first coat of stucco to within 1/4 inch of the surface, using a mason’s trowel or putty knife (stucco should ooze from behind the mesh). When firm, scratch with a nail. Let cure for two days.
  3. Apply the second coat over the dampened first coat to within 1/8 inch of the surface, using a mason’s trowel or putty knife, as shown below left. Smooth the stucco and let it cure for two days.
  4. over the dampened second coat with a metal float or mason’s trowel. Smooth flush with the existing surface. Texture as desired, and allow to cure for four days.
  5. Paint if necessary.

HomeTips Pro Tip: For deep holes, build up the patch with several successive layers, allowing each to dry before applying the next. Match the texture by touching it up with a float or a small brush.

Fixing Small Holes in Stucco

Here is how to repair a small hole (less than 6 inches wide):

  1. Use a stiff brush to clean out the hole. If the hole is too small for a brush, use an awl or nailset to scrape out any loose material. Then blow out the dust (wear eye protection).
  2. Apply a new patch of stucco patching compound, using a putty knife. Pack it tightly into the hole and fill almost to the surface. Allow this patch to set up until it is stiff.
  3. Apply a top coat of patching compound. Use the putty knife to blend the surface of the patch so that it matches the wall. Then allow this coat to dry.

 

The Difference Between Stucco Repair and Stucco Remediation

In the home repair industry, stucco repair and stucco remediation are two very different services.

Repairing faulty stucco siding is not at the top of anyone’s home improvement wish-list, but inaction is not a good option when it comes to moisture intrusion. As you begin to research your stucco repair options, the vocabulary of the industry can be confusing. Be sure you understand the difference between stucco repair and stucco remediation so you can discuss possible solutions with your siding contractor. In some circumstances, stucco repairs (such as re-sealing the stucco around windows, flashing and joints) may be enough to remedy stucco failures. However, when water has been penetrating the stucco over a long period of time, a full remediation may be necessary.

What is Stucco Repair?

Stucco repair refers to the practice of finding specific instances of stucco failure, fixing those specific problems, and then replacing the damaged material with more stucco. In a nutshell, stucco repair means you fix the damage, but not the underlying defect.  This is similar to treating symptoms of illness rather than curing the disease. As a less-invasive option, stucco repair may miss water damage in some areas of your home where the stucco was not removed.

What is Stucco Remediation?

The word “remediation” means “the act or process of correcting a fault or deficiency.”

As opposed to stucco repair, stucco remediation means fixing the underlying defect in the stucco construction. This process most often involves replacing your home’s entire stucco system in order to fix the root cause of the damage: a faulty installation. Stucco remediation fixes underlying defects rather than only addressing the cosmetic or functional symptoms, meaning you will not have to remediate your home twice – Especially if you replace your stucco with a better siding product, such as James Hardie Fiber Cement Siding.

 

When Do We Use Stucco?

Traditional stucco was used primarily as an aesthetic yet durable and water-resistant wall covering. It can also be used for chimneys, and architectural and sculptural additions. In some parts of the United States, especially Florida, stucco is predominantly an exterior feature in both residential and commercial construction.

How do We Apply Stucco?

Although initially applied to bare materials, it wasn’t long before a wooden lattice network, or “lath”, was introduced as the base layer to supply support to wet stucco as well as tensile strength to cured stucco. Now, modern Portland cement stucco is applied to a metal lattice or “mesh”. The mesh itself is tightly secured to the surface with nails or screws.

Stucco was applied in three layers: the scratch coat, leveling coat, and the finish coat.

The scratch coat can be applied by hand or by machine but its surface layer must have horizontal or criss-cross pattern troweled into it for added stability of the next layer. The first layer is allowed to fully cure before the second is added. The leveling coat is quite thick and with the help of many tools, is used to level out the layer of stucco to provide a smooth surface for the finish coat. This second layer should be given 7-10 days to fully cure. The finish coat carries all the aesthetic value and can be troweled smooth, hand-textured, sculpted, or sprayed – with or without added pigments.

 

Stucco repair project overview

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Timing: Less than an hour per patch
  • Warnings: Wear gloves and eye protection when mixing or chipping

Equipment you’ll need

  • Work gloves
  • Eye protection
  • Ladder
  • Mason’s chisel
  • Hammer
  • Premixed stucco or a patching compound
  • Notched trowel
  • Plaster finishing trowel
  • “Finishing” tool (e.g., whisk, sponge, piece of board)

Step 1: How to make DIY stucco

Stucco changes color over the years, so your new patch probably won’t match. But you can the new layer after installing, or buy coloring pigment to add to your mix to match the existing color. Mix small batches, add some pigment to the mix, then put it on a piece of cardboard, and allow it to dry. You will need to try different amounts of pigment until you match the color, and you will want to do it before you start your repair.

Step 2: Apply the first coat

Use a mason’s chisel and hammer to chip away any old stucco or loose material. Then use a finishing trowel to paint on the damaged area and repair cracks. This first layer is called the “scratch coat” (you’ll see why next).

Step 3: Add grooves

When the scratch coat is applied, use the notched trowel to scratch grooves into the mud. This helps future coats adhere better.

Step 4: Prepare for the brown coat

After the scratch coat sets and dries for at least 24 hours, sponge water onto the area to help the next coat adhere. This next layer is called the “brown coat” regardless of color.

Step 5: Apply the coat

Make sure you spread this layer of new stucco evenly, then “screed” (leveling with a straight edge) the mix to ensure the coat is flat and level (no texture)

Step 6: Apply the final coat

Make sure this final coat is a quarter-inch think and evenly applied.

Step 7: Texturize

For the final repair step, use a sponge to create the outer texture. If you didn’t add pigment at the beginning, paint the surface now. You may have to paint the entire side to disguise the patch.

 

Are Small Cracks in Stucco Normal?

Many people put years of hard work into their home to make it as comfortable and safe as possible! Stucco home owners are no different. Oftentimes, house hunters specifically invest in stucco homes because they know that stucco has a great reputation. So when you put lots of time, money and effort into your stucco home, seeing a crack on the surface can be frustrating. The first question you ask yourself might be, ‘are cracks in stucco normal?

Now that you know small cracks in stucco are normal, let’s find out a little more about why it happens:

  • Extreme weather – If your stucco has been recently applied, it can be vulnerable to heavy winds and rain. Too much wind can suck the moisture out of your stucco, causing it to shrink and crack, while extreme heat and rain over time can cause the stucco to deteriorate.
  • Nearby construction – Construction sites down the road, loud explosions and even a close flying plane can cause your home to shake which may give way to stucco cracks.

House settling – If you live in an older home, or a home built on loose soil, the pressure of your home sinking lower into the ground can disrupt the foundation of the house. This can cause stucco cracks, and other foundational problems.

Make Good Outdoor Electrical Lighting

Benefits of Outdoor Lighting

Today’s outdoor spaces are extensions of our homes with kitchen equipment, dining spaces, lounging areas and more. Here are a few of our favorite lighting tips to help you enjoy these spaces -day into night.

 Elevated Aesthetic

Outdoor lighting enhances the natural beauty and energy of your home. It highlights charming features, illuminates pathways and creates an alluring ambiance. As you think about outdoor lighting, consider all of the features worthy of attention. Do you have a beautiful tree in your backyard? Spotlight it. Are there attractive architectural details on your patio? Call attention to them with outdoor accent lights. Did you work hard on a gorgeous garden? Lead the way with path lights.

You can also capture the nighttime loveliness of a pool or water feature with underwater LEDs. Or use lighting as its own feature: flood lights positioned at angles to silhouette trees create depth and interest.

Increased Safety and Security

Safety is always a priority. When you’re home, evenings are prime time for outdoor entertainment so key pathways need to be well-lit. When you’re not home, outdoor lighting can help protect it.

 Safety

At night, the right outdoor lights allow you and others to move around safely in the dark. Outdoor post-mounted lanterns are perfect for driveways and stair railings. Outdoor wall lights help you identify doorways and exits and brighten entrances. Step lights and path lights illuminate stairs and walkways, while address lights make it easy for people to find your home.

Security

Outdoor lighting triggered by timers helps protect your home against intruders. They look great, too. Our outdoor wall lights are elegantly designed to enhance security without sacrificing style.

Take Your Yard to the Next Level

Enhanced Home Value

Professional outdoor and landscape lighting adds value in more ways than one. It can highlight design elements or make an area appear larger. It adds beauty and increases usability to in-demand outdoor living spaces after dark. And, of course, security is always valuable. One of the easiest, most affordable strategies to impact property value is to boost curb appeal with an entryway upgrade. A quick coat of paint, updated lights and an accent piece or two are all you need. With this information as a guide, you can complete the project with minimal time and effort.

Enjoy Your Yard

Above all else, good lighting makes every step outside even better. There’s no greater place than your own front or backyard to relax, entertain and explore. Whether your ideal evening includes a meal under the stars, a bonfire with friends or a warm welcome, when you reach the front door, a well-lit exterior sets the tone for extraordinary experiences.

 

Energy Saving Outdoor Lighting

Leaving incandescent pathway or exterior lights on all night can waste energy and money. Fortunately, today we have many options to help illuminate the outside of our homes–increasing security, visibility, and nighttime curb appeal–while still keeping our energy usage and budget in check.

Solar-powered and low-voltage systems are perfect ways to light up paths, patios, decks, and garden spaces.

 Low-voltage lighting kits

Come with a power pack, lamps, and cables. An individual fixture can typically output anywhere from 4 watts to 50 watts of illumination. To install these systems, you simply run the cables in trenches and then position lamps where you need them, inserting them into the ground on stakes. They attach to the cable with connectors, which are included in your kit.

The power pack, which often comes with a built-in timer, is plugged into a standard outdoor outlet. Low-voltage lighting usually uses halogen or LED bulbs; LED technology consumes as much as 80 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs.

Solar outdoor lights

Have photovoltaic cells that convert energy from the sun into illumination at night. These have a reputation for being a bit dimmer than low-voltage systems, but some manufacturers have claimed improved performance in recent years (there are even some who offer solar-powered security lights).

Solar garden lights

Cannot be beat for ease of use–simply stick them in the ground in a sunny location during daylight hours, and let them power up. Do note that it may take a few days for them to drink in enough sunlight and store up enough energy to achieve their maximum output. For more, see Solar Outdoor Lighting.

If a more intense illumination source is what you need–such as a spotlight or floodlight–consider fluorescent or high-intensity discharge (HID) lights. Just as with interior fluorescents, exterior fluorescent lights use considerably less energy than their incandescent counterparts and have longer life spans.

Likewise, HID lamps turn a small amount of power into a large amount of illumination. These use gases–metal halide, sodium, and mercury vapor–to radiate light. Lights equipped with sensors are another way to save energy–these power on only when you need them and turn off when you don’t.

Lights with motion detectors turn on when they sense movement. When placed where potential intruders are most likely to pass, these can greatly enhance security. You can install a new motion-sensor light fixture (see Motion-Sensor Light Switches) or add a motion detector to an existing light (lamp-base motion sensors, which simply screw into your fixture, are the easiest to install).

Daylight sensors have a photocell that detects the presence or absence of light, automatically turning your lamp on at night and off during the day. You can purchase a light fixture with a daylight sensor built in or install a sensor that will control existing lights.

Finally, outdoor lighting timers, made with a heavy-duty metal casing to protect the unit from the elements, let you program lights or other outdoor electrical appliances to turn on and off automatically. There are also units that combine sensor and timer technologies to give you the greatest flexibility in control.

 

Lighting Ideas for Outdoor Living

  • String Lights

Outdoor string lights are synonymous with party lights. Use string lights to illuminate food and drink areas, or to light an open space for dancing. They also look cool wrapped around tree trunks, deck railings or even trellises for an unexpected focal point. Add a bit of vintage flair with Edison bulb string lights or mercury ball string lights draped from a gazebo or pergola.

  • Lanterns

Outdoor lanterns add a pop of color against a greenery backdrop and are available in a variety of finishes. Mix different sizes to create a lighted centerpiece for your dining or buffet table. Group smaller lanterns on a side table next to conversation chairs for more intimate lighting, and place larger lanterns on the floor. Check out LED lanterns, too, if you’re looking for warm lighting without the heat.

Don’t feel limited to surfaces, though; outdoor lanterns are also fun to hang from shepherd’s hooks in key locations around your patio. Also, hang lanterns from tree limbs, pergolas or gazebos. Stagger the hanging height to add dimension to the space.

  • Landscape Lighting

Landscape lighting illuminates the trees, shrubs and flowerbeds you’ve been planting and grooming. Show off your hard work with path lights sprinkled throughout the garden. Floodlights and spotlights are best for trees and larger areas of your yard. Most landscape lights are available in low-voltage, solar and LED; they also come in kits with everything you need to light your outdoor space. They’re available in a variety of finishes and glass types, so you can select a style that is right your patio. For more information on landscape lighting, check out Landscape Lighting Ideas.

  • Fire Pits

Fire pits are a fun place to gather around in spring, summer, fall or winter. And the crackling sound of a fire always brings people together. Set a few Adirondack chairs around one, and you have an alternative seating area, too. A simple wood-burning fire pit is perfect for entertaining, but feel free to go fancy with a stone-design gas fire pit too. Plan to have marshmallows, chocolate bars and graham crackers tucked away – any season is a good season for s’mores.

  • Candles and Torches

Candles provide accent light with a soft glow. Arrange candles together on a dining table or side table for a more dramatic effect. Look for LED flameless candles if you have small children or pets with active tails; flameless versions provide the same effect without the safety concern.

Decorative metal or split bamboo “tiki” torches add an inexpensive decorative effect to your outdoor event. As with any open flame, avoiding overhanging eaves, trees and areas of activity where they could be knocked over.

  • Sketch Out a Plan

It’s always good to have a game plan. Think about the activities you enjoy and how you’d like to use your outdoor space. For a smaller area, create an intimate setting by grouping lanterns and candles. Add landscape lights to the patio perimeter and any pathways from the patio to the house. If your yard gets direct sunlight, try solar landscape lights; otherwise look into low-voltage or LED. Deck or stair lights also add ground lights while adding extra safety.

If you have a larger space, use lighting to define the different areas. Outdoor string lights work great draped from a pergola or gazebo and create a fun party vibe. A fire pit provides warmth on a chilly night and a secondary place to gather. Use spotlights or floodlights to illuminate trees and shrubs, and to put the finishing touches on your outdoor retreat.

 

Redefining efficiency for outdoor lighting

Improvements in the luminous efficiency of outdoor lamps might not result in energy savings or reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. The reason for this is a rebound effect: when light becomes cheaper, many users will increase illumination, and some previously unlit areas may become lit. We present three policy recommendations that work together to guarantee major energy reductions in street lighting systems. First, taking advantage of new technologies to use light only when and where it is needed. Second, defining maximum permitted illuminances for roadway lighting. Third, defining street lighting system efficiency in terms of kilowatt hours per kilometer per year. Adoption of these policies would not only save energy, but would greatly reduce the amount of light pollution produced by cities. The goal of lighting policy should be to provide the light needed for any given task while minimizing both the energy use and negative environmental side effects of the light.

 

Outdoor Track Lighting

 Outdoor track lighting is becoming a popular choice for illuminating outdoor areas like covered patios, decks, screened-in porches and backyard pergolas. While homeowners select outdoor furniture and garden plants with care, they often overlook the many design possibilities well-planned outdoor lighting can provide. Security flood lights are commonly used to light exteriors and backyard spaces without much thought to their overall negative effect on ambience.

Just as a cozy living room comes from well-controlled lighting, an inviting outdoor area should be dimly lit with pools of localized light that illuminate seating areas and highlight key visual features. Outdoor track lighting is the perfect solution for lighting outdoor areas. It beautifully highlights architecture, detailed landscapes, outdoor sculptures and more.

Flexibility and adjustability are the two most valuable aspects of outdoor track lighting; as your outdoor space evolves, the location of tables, grills, furniture and plants is bound to change, but track lighting is more than willing to adjust. Easy to install and highly customizable, outdoor track lighting allows you to build unforgettable outdoor areas that invite friends and family to a relaxing evening.

Using Pest Control To Stop Army Ants

The secret life of ants

With a queen and thousands of workers, ant colonies are often seen as a metaphor for human societies. Scientists have been studying their social behavior ever since 1882. Now, a recent study from Switzerland’s University of Lausanne gives groundbreaking insight into how these wee workers are able to organize.

“This work is beginning to reveal this whole sort of hidden network of communication,” said Iain Couzin, director of the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology. “We can really look at how [these] organisms come together and how they communicate to create this higher level society — a so-called superorganism.”

At issue is a process called trophallaxis, which is when ants exchange a social fluid (basically spit) containing nutrients and other substances. Scientists collected the spit, ran it through a mass spectrometer, and found a juvenile hormone never before seen outside of the ant’s bloodstream. They think it’s a signal that tells larvae to grow up, and that ants are using it to give their two cents on population control.

“Humans do [this] with voting and democracy. But here, we have each ant essentially deciding when they’re exchanging fluid,” said Adria LeBoeuf, an evolutionary biologist and part of the study. “Say I’m super opinionated and I think we need to make a ton more adults in this colony. I can put a ton of juvenile hormone like that in my fluid, but if I’m the only one who thinks like that, it gets defused.”

 

Resolving a Carpenter Ant Infestation

Carpenter ants may be one of the most valuable insects we have on earth. They chew up tons of wood and turn it into fine sawdust that rots, providing compost for new environmental growth. However, when they enter man-made structures they are considered a highly destructive yet common pest.

As is the case with termites, carpenter ant infestations often go unnoticed until it is a costly situation to correct. The damage caused by carpenter ants is distinct although it is often confused with termite damage. While termites feed on the cellulose found in the wood, carpenter ants excavate galleries or tunnels in decaying wood. Contrary to popular belief, carpenter ants do not actually eat the wood. Rather, they hollow it out in order to nest inside, which may result in structural damage. Also unlike termites, carpenter ants generally take years to cause significant damage.

A carpenter ant infestation within a building usually means that there is a moisture problem. For instance, these critters are often found around dishwashers, sinks, laundry areas, and bathrooms – especially where plumbing leaks. Taking care of the source of that moisture makes the structure less attractive to the ants. Carpenter ants can infest building materials such as wood or foam insulation and can occupy cavities like those found in hollow doors or window frames. It’s important to note that since they usually feed on dead foliage and other insects, the ants may be living outside yet foraging indoors for food scraps or moisture.

 

Identifying Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are exceptionally large ants with a dull back color. The worker ants can range in size up to a half-inch. Like all insects, carpenter ants have six legs and three body segments: a head, trunk (thorax), and abdomen. All six legs are connected to the trunk, which is hunchback-shaped.

Its body is covered with a tough, shell-like exoskeleton. Their elbowed antennae are used for communication, smell, touch, and taste. Carpenter ants have strong jaws with pinchers, which enable them to chew on wood. The larger workers can deliver a painful bite, but they don’t carry a poison sack or stinger.

Because of their size, people who don’t know pests well may get carpenter ants and termites confused. There are 3 ways to spot a difference between a winged carpenter ant and a winged termite:

Waist – A carpenter ant has a thin, narrow waist. A termite has a broad waist.

Antennae – As with all ant species, winged carpenter ants have jointed, elbowed antennae. Winged termites have straight antennae.

Wings – Carpenter ants have two pairs of membranous wings with the front ones being larger than the hind ones. So, a winged ant will have front and hind wings of different lengths. In contrast, termites have front and hind wings of equal length.

 

HOW TO IDENTIFY AN ANT INFESTATION

Think you have an ant infestation problem in Boston Area? If you are seeing ants where you don’t want them, then you do have an ant infestation problem. Ants live in colonies and rarely travel alone, so where there are a few, there are likely more nearby. There are several kinds of ants common in Boston Area, from Pavement and Sugar Ants to Pharaoh and Fire Ants. All ants share the same basic body structure as pictured to the left. Ants will enter your home looking for food, and they can be quite a nuisance. Some species are able to cause or intensify structure damage rapidly.

WHY YOU MIGHT HAVE ANTS

Steps for dealing with carpenter ants

Each ant species has unique characteristics that may affect how you approach this, but there are some very common methods you can deploy on your own. When dealing with ants, it’s best to take a moment to understand what they are and what they’re up to before trying to control or eradicate them.

Because of the sawdust, let’s assume that you have carpenter ants. “Carpenter ants are usually seen in homes in the spring. If you see carpenter ants indoors during winter, that means there is a nest inside your home,’’ according to a report by the University of Minnesota Extension and University of Wisconsin. Carpenter ants live in colonies, which can range in size from hundreds to millions depending on the species. Carpenter ants — which eat meat, sweets, and dead insects — establish their colonies in galleries excavated from damp or damaged wood. Carpenter ants do not eat wood as termites do, but instead remove it and deposit the debris outside of their nests in small piles.

Carpenter ants are black or red and black and range from 3/16 to ½ inch in length, according to the report. Another indication of carpenter ant infestation will be the debris they produce from tunneling in the wood. Rough wood shavings mixed with parts of dead ants from the colony indicate carpenter ant-nesting activity.

I’ve seen nests in difficult-to-access spaces behind walls, cabinets, and appliances; behind window and door frames; and beneath floors and concrete slabs. That said, when dealing with an ant nest that is unknown or inaccessible, it’s best to hire a professional.

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