If you’ve got a house with wood somewhere in or on it congratulations, you are in the fight of your life to keep things like rot, termites, beetles, carpenter ants and about a thousand other wood destroying organisms from destroying your home.
But there is hope! I’ve posted a lot of information about how to fight off these buggers (especially termites) in multiple ways on this site. Today, I want to chat about the difference between two of the biggest players in the world of preventing wood damage, BoraCare vs Timbor, so you can pick which one is best for you. Let’s put these two products head to head and see which one comes out victorious.
BoraCare vs Timbor
Both of these products are forms of borate which is about as toxic as sodium chloride (table salt). No you shouldn’t be sprinkling either of these on your dinner plate, but borates are some of the safest pest and rot control products on the market, especially when you consider all the dangerous chemicals typically found in pressure treated wood or other termite treatments.
Timbor is a relatively inexpensive borate in powder form that can be applied dry or diluted in water and sprayed or brushed onto wood. This product is typically used only as a preventative treatment on new construction because it creates a protective envelope around any wood that it is applied to.
Often builders will dust it into wall cavities so that any bugs wandering around in your walls will come into contact and quickly go to bug heaven.
Timbor works by interrupting the metabolism of termites and other wood destroying bugs. Termites are exposed to the termiticide from the wood they eat and by coming in contact with other infected termites. Because of the delayed reaction of the poison, it can be transmitted to other members of a colony resulting in a chain reaction that eradicates the entire nest.
If applied wet, Timbor needs at least 48 hrs. dry time before the wood can be primed or painted. It also needs to be applied to bare wood. If the wood is sealed or painted then the coating must be removed for the treatment to be effective.
- Can be applied dry if needed
- Good preventative treatment
- Low price
- Only protects exterior portion of wood
- Can be washed away
- Preventative only for rot, does not stop existing rot
How to Buy
Timbor is available at Amazon and from most pest control stores in 1.5 lbs. bags and 25 lbs. buckets. At the time of this writing the average cost is about $18 per 1.5 lbs bag which makes 1 gallon when diluted with water.
BoraCare is a liquid borate that has an additive, a glycol solution, which allows the product to penetrate through the entire piece of wood. This is particularly useful being that, unlike Timbor, every bit of the wood is protected rather than just the exterior envelope.
This whole wood protection means that even where nail penetrations occur, the wood is still protected against rot or termites.
BoraCare also cannot be washed away due to its unique formulation. It provides permanent protection once applied to bare wood. Depending on the dilution you use BoraCare also has the added benefit of working as a remediation tool for existing infestations of insects or rot. For preventative using a 5:1 dilution with water is effective, but for remediation of an existing problem then a 1:1 mixture can be used.
BoraCare cannot applied dry like Timbor, as it comes in a concentrated liquid form (it has a syrupy consistency) that is diluted with water. Once mixed it can be brushed on, but I have found that using a pump sprayer is most effective. Just remember to clean out the sprayer and flush it throughly between applications because dried BoraCare will completely clog up the spray tips making them unusable if left to dry without cleaning.
Just like Timbor, BoraCare needs at least 48 hrs. dry time before wood can be primed or painted. It also needs to be applied to bare wood. If the wood is sealed or painted then the coating must be removed for the treatment to be effective. Follow the dilution directions because wood of differing thicknesses may require different dilutions.
- Full penetration of wood protecting throughout
- Works as both preventative and remediation treatment
- Can’t be washed away
- Longer lasting prevention (up to 30 years)
- Cannot be applied dry
- More expensive
How to Buy
BoraCare is available in our shop and from most pest control stores in 1 gallon concentrate form which yields about 5 gallons of preventative form or 2 gallons in a strength strong enough to remediate an existing infestation.
What do you think in the BoraCare vs. Timbor battle? I’ve used both of these products many times. I feel like even with the higher cost of BoraCare the extra benefits really are worth every penny. I sleep better at night knowing that once it’s applied BoraCare won’t ever wash off, will protect every bit of the wood rather than just the outside, and I also have the flexibility to kill existing rot or termites by changing what dilution I use.
When you do the math the costs are actually about the same for both products when it comes to prevention. Consider the following:
- BoraCare: 1 gallon of concentrate at $90 diluted at the 4:1 preventative level is $18 per gallon
- Timbor: 1.5 lbs. bag diluted to 1 gallon is $18 per gallon.
Other than the fact that you need to buy more of the BoraCare the price per gallon is exactly the same. Not bad, right?
Whether you’re building new, remodeling of just want to protect your existing house, applying one of these borate products in your house is a great way to keep it protected from both wood rot and and termites so you really can’t go wrong other than not applying BoraCare vs. Timbor.
Founder & Editor-in-Chief
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.