Building Out Bugs: Plumbing Penetrations

Author, Cassie Krejci, Ph.D.

Hello and welcome to week 7 of the TERM Barrier System blog series! This week we will be kicking off our summer blog series titled Building Out Bugs. Throughout the series, I will be highlighting areas around your home or structure that can be potential pathways for termites and other pests. Additionally, I hope to show you products that be integrated into your home or building to close off these pathways.

It’s important to note that most of the products you will see throughout this blog series are intended for new construction products, as it is difficult to install a complete pest barrier envelope after the structure is built.

One of the easiest and least expensive ways to keep insects out of your home or structure is to protect the plumbing penetrations above the slab using TERM® Sealant Barrier.

TERM® Sealant Barrier around plumbing penetrations

Plumbing and pipe penetrations can provide access to the home or structure through the miniscule openings that occur between the pipe and concrete. I like to refer to this area as a “super highway” for pest intrusion because there is little to stand in the way of a determined pest.

Plumbing penetrations

Subterranean termites will be the biggest offenders of the plumbing and pipe penetrations, though it is possible that other pests will also use it for access into the structure. While termites do not eat concrete or PVC pipes, the opening that occurs naturally, or over time because of settling, will create a pathway for termites to get into the structure. As were have discussed, termites only require 1/55th of an inch to gain access to a structure.

TERM® Sealant Barrier

The process of protecting plumbing penetrations is quite simple and may be completed by your pest management professional or construction crew.

  1. If a sleeve is present around the pipe, cut sleeve and remove, or slide up.

Removing sleeve

    2. Roughen the pipe surface using sand paper or a sanding block.

Roughen the pipe surface

    3. Clean the pipe, removing all dust and debris from the concrete and pipe.

    4. Apply adhesive primer to the pipe and concrete and allow to sit for 10 minutes.

Apply adhesive prime

    5. Dispense a ½” bead of TERM® Sealant Barrier on the pipe-concrete intersection using a caulking gun.

Apply 1/2" bead of TERM® Sealant Barrier

    6. Use a flat tool to smooth the dispensed TERM® Sealant Barrier to gain sufficient contact with both the concrete and pipe surfaces.

Smooth TERM® Sealant Barrier

You will now have a physical barrier in place to protect your structure from termite intrusion!

Structure protected from insect intrusion

TERM® Sealant Barrier is a component of the pesticide-free TERM® Barrier System which, when properly installed as part of the building envelope, acts as a barrier to almost all pests.  Because almost all pests are excluded for the life of the structure, the need for pesticide treatment should be permanently and drastically reduced.

To inquire about TERM® Sealant Barrier for your next home or building project, or for additional information on the TERM® Barrier System products, please feel free to email me at