You may not have heard of a product called BoraCare, but if you have a wood house it’s something you should know about.
The biggest threats to wood are inevitably rot and insect damage. Other than these two issues, good quality old-growth wood can last almost indefinitely. But if you fall victim to termites, rot, or both, then it may be only months before you need repairs.
BoraCare is a wood treatment that I use in my shop that not only stops rot, but also stops termites, powder post beetles, carpenter ants, and lots of other wood eating pests.
Why do I use BoraCare? Well, other than its ability to beat the bugs and rot, it is very easy to apply and non-toxic. We’re not talking about dipping your window or trim in DDT. It’s as easy as painting it on with a brush.
Below I’ll give you some of the basics for how to apply and use BoraCare yourself. Before you start using it, I would always recommend reading the manufacturer’s instructions.
How to Use BoraCare
Step 1 Remove All Paint
BoraCare can only be applied to bare wood, so the first thing you need to do is remove any paint or finish from the wood. You can read more tips on how to remove paint in my 3 part series on paint removal techniques..
Step 2 Protect Yourself
BoraCare is non-toxic, but you still need to be safe when using borates. Wear nitrile or chemical resistant gloves, safety glass or goggles, and work in a well ventilated area or use an OV respirator if you are particularly sensitive.
Step 3 Dilute
BoraCare has several different dilution ratios that can be complicated, but for nominal lumber (2×4, 2×6, etc.) you need to dilute at a 1:1 ratio. That means mix 1 cup of warm water with 1 cup of BoraCare. Proper dilution allows the treatment to be the right strength to keep insects and rot at bay. Also, don’t mix up too much solution, because you have to use any that you mix up within 24 hrs, otherwise it’s no good.
Step 3 Paint it On
You’ve got your wood, you’ve got your BoraCare diluted, and you are wearing your safety gear, right? The time is now. Grab an old paint brush and paint on the solution to every side of the wood until it’s saturated. You don’t need puddles on the surface, but the wood should be thoroughly wet with the solution.
Step 5 Let it Dry
Once your wood is treated, it’s time to wait. You need to let the BoraCare seep into every pore of the wood and dry for the next 48 hrs. Don’t let it get rained on, don’t prime, paint, or mess with it in any way for at least 48 hrs. If you cut this time short, your finish may not adhere properly. I’ll say it again. Proper drying is essential!
If you’ve finished these steps, then you’re now protected from bugs and rot. Take that, wood destroying organisms! It’s a simple step, but one that can save you a lot of time and trouble in the future.
Once the wood has dried, you can treat it like any other project. There are no special care instructions of special primers and paints you need to use. If it’s going outside, make sure you protect it by priming and painting. If you follow these instructions then you’ll have very little upkeep to do over the years.
You can find BoraCare at certain specialty pest control stores or you can buy it through my affiliate link here.
What’s been your experience with borate treatments? Tell me in the comments below.
Founder & Senior Editor
I love old houses, working with my hands, and teaching others the excitment of doing it yourself! Everything is teachable if you only give it the chance.