Boracare vs Timbor: 6 Differences You Need to Know Now

Home and property are some of the most valuable investments you’ll make in your life, so keeping it protected from termites and other bugs who try to compromise the wood structure of your home is important.

There are many products and insecticides out there that all claim to kill pests and protect wood. But with such products and so much marketing material, it can be very difficult to know which products work well.

So today, we’re taking two of the most popular wood preservative products and putting them head to head to see their differences and which product is better for a given scenario.

While they are both borate wood treatment substances, the main difference between Boracare and Timbor is that Timbor is a powder you mix with water. It provides surface-level protection against bugs and decay fungi. This makes it ideal for use on new, fresh wood as a preventative style protection.

BoraCare is a liquid borate solution with an ethylene glycol solution additive. This means it can penetrate wood much deeper and is far better suited if you have a pre-existing infestation that needs addressing.

What is Timbor?

Timbor (or Tim-bor) is a borate-based powder that can be applied to bare wood. It acts as a fungicide and insecticide to protect the wood and prevent fungi, dry wood termites, carpenter ants, and wood boring beetles (among other things).

It uses disodium octaborate tetrahydrate, which, when applied to any bare wood surface, creates a protective envelope around the wood that bugs, pests, and fungi cannot penetrate.

It’s appropriate for large-scale commercial applications or homeowners/remodelers who want to protect their new construction.

You can very easily apply this to the surface in powder form. But it’s also water-soluble, meaning you can use it as a liquid or foam.

It’s very safe to use, odorless and non-toxic, meaning it can be used indoors without issue. Plus, it doesn’t discolor/stain the wood and does not affect nails/screws.

What is Boracare?

Boracare is also a borate salt solution. When ingested by termites, carpenter ants, beetles, or wood-destroying organisms, it removes their ability to extract nutrition from the wood, causing them to starve to death.

Unlike Timbor, which is something of a deterrent, this works as an active bait, making it extremely effective when dealing with an already-established infestation.

It comes in a liquid form and is applied directly onto the wood, unlike other pesticides which have to be applied to the soil – making it far more effective for indoor use. And because it’s a mineral salt, it doesn’t break down over time, meaning that once it’s applied, it’ll remain there forever.

Even though Boracare works excellently as an active treatment, it also makes a great preventative wood treatment for those who care about protecting their property.

Boracare is used by everyone, from professional exterminators and large construction companies down to a homeowner. It’s safe to use and easy to apply. Anyone can use it!

What are the differences between Boracare and Timbor?

While both of these products technically deal with and treat the same thing, the way they go about it is very different. So depending on your situation, one product may be more applicable to you than the other. 

Let’s look at the differences more closely to get a better idea of which product is best for you.

1. The material type

Straight out of the package, Timbor comes in a powdered form which can then be applied to the wood of a home to give it a protective layer.

However, it’s water soluble, meaning it can still be applied as a liquid if you want. But either way, it doesn’t have much penetration power and is used as surface-level protection.

This makes it ideal for new homes where the wood hasn’t already been compromised.

Boracare, on the other hand, comes in liquid form and is sprayed onto the wood. It has an active ethylene glycol ingredient, allowing it to penetrate deeper into the wood. 

This makes it great for active infestations where the bugs are already quite deep in the wood as it’s guaranteed to make its way to them.

It’s mixed in a 1:1 boracare and water solution and can then be applied using a simple hand sprayer.

2. Short-term and long-term protection

Timbor coats the surface during application and will only absorb into the wood by about ¼ of an inch. Its estimated protection duration is said to be roughly 1-2 years. So you should remain mindful that this process will need to be repeated every few years.

But fortunately, the application process is so easy, and the product is so cheap that this is not much of a problem for homeowners with free property access.

But working professionals who can’t just head back and reapply for the protection anytime they want will need a more long-term solution, which is where Boracare comes in.

It penetrates deep into the wood, and the boron sodium salt left behind is non-soluble, meaning it will remain there indefinitely. If you use Boracare, there should be no need to reapply or ‘top it off’ until there has been an active infestation.

3. Price

Timbor is a far cheaper product than Boracare. But remember that Boracare lasts much longer and can deal with pre-existing infestations.

Timbor acts purely as a preventative measure. So although it’s tempting to opt for the cheapest product, you must be mindful of the current situation.

If you are looking for a long-term, set-and-forget kind of protection, then perhaps the higher price of Boracare is worth it. 

But the low price of Timbor gives it a very low barrier to entry, so it offers fantastic value for homeowners on a budget, considering how long it lasts.

4. How it works

Even though they are both based on the same substance types – the way they work is quite different.

Timbor insecticide creates a protective layer over the wood to which it’s been applied. It essentially wards off everything from mold and wood decay fungus to bugs by disallowing them to consume the wood. You can think of this as a repellent.

Boracare, which is equally effective, works opposingly by leaving behind a mineral salt that acts as bait for the bugs to consume to kill them. 

Because this mineral salt is first applied in liquid form, which works deep into the wood, it can catch pests already inside and out of reach of Timbor.

5. Application and safety

Both of these products are very safe to use. They have very little odor and are non-toxic when consumed.

However, a respirator is recommended when using Timbor insecticide in an enclosed area to prevent any powder from being breathed in.

This is less important for Boracare, as its vapor is non-toxic.

Gloves should be worn for both as they are still fundamentally both a pesticide and herbicide.

6. Their relative strengths

Although Boracare’s active ingredient, glycol, allows it to get to those hard-to-reach places, there’s still a ton of value in how Timbor professional works, and depending on what you’re looking to treat might make a better choice.

Bora-case is considered better for anything that burrows deep into the wood because it penetrates deeply. This means dry wood termites, carpenter ants, and other wood-destroying organisms. But it still does a reasonable job with wood decay fungus and mold.

Timbor professionals are usually better for wood-boring beetles as they need to chew through the wood surface, meaning they are guaranteed to contact Timbor. It also creates a protective cover that deters both mold and decay fungi.

Boracare vs Timbor: Are they the same?

So while both of these products use the same fundamental ingredient, there is a lot of crossover in what they can do for your wood. They each have unique properties, costs, and application methods that, depending on your given scenario, might make one more appealing.

  • Timbor comes in a powdered form that can be applied to the surface of the wood. In contrast, Boracare comes as a thicker liquid which is then mixed with water and sprayed onto the surface of the wood.
  • Boracares ingredient is insoluble, meaning it will last forever and provide indefinite protection once applied. Timbor, on the other hand, only coats the surface and will only last a few years.
  • Timbor is considerably cheaper than Boracare.
  • Boracare works by penetrating deep into the wood as a liquid, leaving behind a salt that the pests will consume. Once consumed, they will no longer be able to retrieve nutrients from the wood and die. Timbor does the same thing, but it only exists on the outer layer of the wood.
  • Both products are very safe, but you should use a respirate with Timbor as you shouldn’t breathe the powder in.

Boracare is better suited to active infestations of termites or ants, whereas Timbor is better suited as a preventative measure for beetles and fungi/mold.

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