Home Is Where the Borate Is

:: Monday, February 25, 2019 :: Posted By Frank Wawrzos

Borate keeps you warm, and saves on household bills. It prevents timber and lumber from becoming home to insects and fungus. Tiles on the floor and walls are glazed with it and electrical cables are fireproofed with it.

Boron is very much at home in your home.

Framed and covered

Wood frames and “engineered wood” panels and sheeting like oriented strand board or medium-density fiberboard are often borate-treated. Bugs and fungus don’t like it at all, and this stops them from sharing your home. Also, at sufficient borate levels, these wood composites have fire protection too. Learn more.

Proof against time and the elements

As a clay tile or slate alternative, textile fiberglass roof shingles offer low weight, long life, fracture resistance and high durability. Learn more.

Stay cool (and warm)

Up to 15 centimeters of borosilicate insulation fiberglass or borate-fireproofed cellulosic insulation is a barrier to the movement of heat—keeping you warm in winter and cool in summer to save energy and fuel bills. Learn more.

Take a bath

Tubs and shower trays are typically made of fiberglass, while others are steel, coated with borate-containing porcelain enamel. If the water for your bath or shower is stored in a roof tank, it is often molded from textile fiberglass reinforced resin. And, hot water heaters can be enamel-lined as well.

Tiled for hygiene and appearance

Borate-glazed ceramic tiles for kitchen and washroom floors and walls are good-looking, easy to keep clean, ad scratch resistant. Learn more.

Wired for safety

Lights, gadgets, heaters, cooking stoves, washers all need their electricity. It’s carried safely around the house by plastic-insulated cables, often incorporating a fire resistant zinc borate.

Wall story

In timber-framed houses, internal walls and ceilings are usually gypsum boarded. A handful of Optibor® boric acid in the mixture makes the boards stronger and more rigid (so allowing them to be thinner and lighter), and help the paper surface stick on strongly.

Paste it up

Wallpaper adheres to wallboard with a starch of PVA based adhesive containing borates, which make it easier to apply and less liable to attack from fungi. Learn more.

Sealed against the weather

Some paints for exterior use are now being formulated with Neobor® borax pentahydrate—to act as a self-protecting wood preservative and to resist staining.


Traffic noise interrupting your conversation? Not with walls incorporating fiberglass insulation—as good acoustically as thermally.


Hard-wearing carpets have a high nylon content. Borates are a key component in its manufacture. Learn more.

In the garden

Even if you have a way with plants, they won’t grow as they should without a trace of boron essential micronutrient fertilizer, incorporated in many garden center products. Learn more.

Logged on

Getting back to nature in that traditional log cabin? Make sure natural fungi and termites don’t’ get to close by having the timbers treated with Tim-bor® Industrial.




U.S. Borax, part of Rio Tinto, is a global leader in the supply and science of borates—naturally-occurring minerals containing boron and other elements. We are 1,000 people serving 650 customers with more than 1,800 delivery locations globally. We supply around 30% of the world’s need for refined borates from our world-class mine in Boron, California, about 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles.  Learn more about Rio Tinto.

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