Redwood is known as a naturally resistant wood when it comes to decay and termites. The reason is because redwood does not have as much sap as other softwood trees. There are also natural compounds in redwood that allow it to be resistant to not only termites and decay, but also to fire as well. One of these natural compounds is tannic acid and is found in the bark of the redwood tree, which is its outer layer. This protective outer layer is how the tree is able to keep away the dangers that might be looking to destroy it, such as termites. The protective layer is also why redwood trees are some of the oldest trees in the world.
There are a lot of mixed opinions about whether or not termites eat redwood. The answer is yes and no. You see if you build something out of redwood then it isn’t going to have the bark covering the wood. Remember the bark is what protects the redwood in a natural setting so if you take that bark away then you are going to leave the wood more vulnerable to termite attacks. However, if you use the heartwood of the redwood then you might be able to avoid this problem. The heartwood is the central part of the tree, which happens to be the densest part. It is so dense that even termites won’t be able to chew through it. Plus, there are still traces of tannic acid in the heartwood that stay in there even after the wood is removed from the tree. The only problem is the tannic acid seeps out of the wood as the years go by. Once this happens, the wood may be susceptible to termite infestation.
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The last alternative to ensure maximum protection is to use a type of modified redwood called pressure treated wood. This pressure system prevents your wood from decaying and it makes it impervious to insects like termites. When a piece of wood is pressurized it goes through a series of vacuum cycles where its wood preservatives get pushed deep inside the pores of the wood. This basically creates a chemical barrier that prevents the termites from being able to chew on these preservatives which they love to feast on. That is why so many people build structures such as decks and walkways out of pressurized redwood, besides the fact that redwood looks very attractive too.