Building Out Bugs: Bath Traps

Author, Cassie Krejci, Ph.D.

Hello and welcome to week 8 of the TERM Barrier System blog series! This week we will be continuing our summer blog series titled Building Out Bugs by highlighting a way you may block pests in bath traps and slab leave-outs.

In our last Building Out Bugs post, we talked about plumbing penetrations and the ease of protecting the structure with TERM® Sealant Barrier. After sealing plumbing penetrations, you would next want to look at your bath trap areas and leave-outs in the slab. These are sections of the slab that are left unfilled with concrete so that plumbing penetrations may be manipulated and so that the structure may drain in the event of any future leaks.

 TERM® Sealant Barrier

Bath traps and leave-outs can easily provide access to the home or structure.

Think about it:  Leave-outs can be as large as 2’ x 2’ and scattered around the footprint of a home or structure. What is in place to stop a subterranean (i.e. tunnels below ground) termite from coming into the home if given the opportunity?

TERM™ Bath Trap Screen Barrier

I will be honest; before starting with Polyguard, I had little knowledge of the building industry. As I investigated areas of the building envelope that we could improve, in terms of termite and pest exclusion, I was first surprised by the bath trap. As I walked out on the job site, I see this:

Bath Traps

A bath trap formed with a cardboard box.

Subterranean termites consume cellulose for nutrition and cellulose is the main compound of trees, paper, and cardboard, among other derived materials. Essentially, leaving the cardboard box in place after the bath trap is formed is like setting up a deer feeder for subterranean termites. If you build it, they will come.

Stories aside, we at Polyguard recognized the need for a bath trap solution that would keep termites and other pests out of the home or structure. After much research, we developed the TERM® All-Pest Bath Trap Barrier. When integrated into the building envelope, this barrier allows the structure to drain as it is intended to, while excluding the pests from this critical entry point.

The TERM® All-Pest Bath Trap Barrier is a combination of materials and installation is simple.

  1. Any wood or cellulose forms should be removed from the inside of the bath trap. The bath trap should be cleaned of any concrete debris, and any dirt on the walls of the trap removed.Vertical portion of pipe penetration should be clean and dry.  Any protective sleeve on the pipe should be removed. Use sandpaper or other abrasive to roughen the surface of the pipe.

Bath Traps

  1. Pour TERM Particle Barrier into the bath trap until the top of the particles are even with the top of the slab.

Bath Traps

  1. Cut the stainless-steel wire mesh to size so that it extends completely over the bath trap and 2” beyond onto the horizontal concrete surface on each side of the mesh.Cut an “X” shaped opening in the wire mesh where the pipe penetration is to come through.  This opening should be placed so that the wire mesh maintains the 2” overlap onto the concrete perimeter.

Bath Traps

  1. Spray apply TERM 343 Spray Adhesive or brush apply Polyguard 650 LT Liquid Adhesive. Adhesive should extend 4” from each edge of the bath trap cavity.

Bath Traps

  1. When the adhesive/primer is tacky, place the wire mesh over the bath trap. Install the mesh over the penetration pipe and extend the wire mesh 2” onto the horizontal perimeter of the slab.

Bath Traps

  1. Cut four strips of TERM Flashing Barrier. The length of each strip should be 2” longer than the side of the wire mesh which that strip is to seal.Seal the wire mesh to the slab with TERM Flashing Barrier by peeling away the paper release liner, exposing the adhesive, and installing the flashing 2” over the wire mesh, and 2” onto the concrete perimeter outside of the mesh.  Flashing should extend a minimum 1” past each end of the wire mesh being sealed.Roll the flashing, applying pressure so that good adhesion is created between the concrete and flashing, and between the flashing and the wire mesh. When finished, there should be no gaps anywhere around the perimeter.

Bath Traps

  1. Apply TERM Sealant Barrier with caulking gun or trowel to seal all gaps where the pipe comes through the wire mesh. Any gaps should be covered with a minimum 3/8” coating of sealant.

Bath Traps

All the materials for the TERM All-Pest Bath Trap Barrier are shipped in an easy-to-use kit. After these steps have been completed, you will now have an all-pest bath trap barrier in place. These materials allow the bath trap to drain as it is intended to, while still blocking the intrusion of unwanted pests.

Bath Traps

It’s important to note that the TERM® All-Pest Bath Trap Barrier is intended for new construction products, but may be an option for existing structures dependent on the ability to access the area.

The TERM® All-Pest Bath Trap 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 the TERM® All-Pest Bath Trap 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