Wood Protection and Biocides

Borate treated wood is on the rise as a safe and long-lasting method to protect homes from wood destroying organisms. There are several types of borate wood preservatives used to treat solid wood, engineered wood composites and other interior building products like studs, plywood, joists and rafters.

Borate treated wood has been used successfully for more than 50 years in New Zealand, for a decade in Hawaii – specifically to combat the voracious and highly destructive Formosan subterranean termite – and increasingly throughout the mainland United States. Borates prevent fungal decay and are deadly to termites, carpenter ants and roaches – but safe for people, pets and the environment. Borates interfere with termites’ metabolic pathways when ingested through feeding or grooming, effectively killing them. Surviving termites avoid the protected wood products.

Biocidal applications outside of wood protection include use as a fungicide and preservative in paints and coatings (in can and dry film), as a fungicide in polymers and rubber, and as a biocide for plastic and rubber.


Borates create an affordable, durable, safe treatment system to protect wood homes from termites and decay.
Borates in a wide range of applications contribute to energy-efficient building practices that are safe for people, pets and the planet. Borax products are formulated for optimal efficacy in different applications.

Protecting Your Investment

Boron compounds offer some of the most effective and versatile wood preservative systems available today. They combine the properties of broad-spectrum efficacy and low acute mammalian toxicity. Oxides of boron, the active ingredients in boron systems, are ubiquitous within the environment, are essential plant micronutrients and are added regularly to agricultural land as fertilizers.

Protecting Wood Naturally

One of the most important functions boron serves is to keep the world green. All plants – from fields of cotton to groves of Douglas fir – depend on trace amounts of boron to thrive. Although boron is essential for plants, and nutritionally important for humans, it also works to control insects and fungi that attack wood. Treating solid wood and engineered wood products with borates – from framing lumber and telephone poles to furniture and wood-plastic composite decking – provides safe, affordable, long-lasting protection against wood-destroying pests. Borate-treated wood products include:

  • Lumber and Plywood
  • Oriented Strand Board
  • Siding
  • Engineered Wood
  • Wood Plastic Composites (WPC)
  • Millwork, Windows and Doors
  • Furniture
  • Telephone Poles
  • Railroad Crossties
  • Log Homes


Director, Market Development, Biocides and Agriculture

Mark Manning

Mark has worked for Rio Tinto Borates since 1990. For the first 20 years of his career, Mark held the position of Global Manager of Preservation Technology. Six years ago, he was appointed the Director of Market Development for Biocides and Agriculture. He holds a PhD in Inorganic Chemistry from the University of California, Los Angeles.