5 Tips for Keeping Animals Out of Your Attic

by | Apr 11, 2016 | Home Maintenance Tips, Roofing

Keeping Animals Out of Your AtticAre animals making a house out of your home? Animals like racoons and squirrels are experts at exploiting weak spots on or near your roof. If left unchecked, they can wreak havoc on wiring, plumbing, and insulation and compromise your home’s structural integrity.

To keep animals out of your attic, it’s important to regularly inspect your roof and take precautionary measures to keep animals from getting into your home:

1.     Inspect Your Attic for Signs of Animals

Before you take steps to shore up your home’s defences, it’s absolutely crucial to make sure your attic is already animal-free:

  • Listen for sounds coming from the attic. What do they sound like, and when do you hear them? Squirrels will make scurrying noises at dawn and dusk, while mice and rats will scamper around at night. Larger animals like racoons will make more distinctive thumping or rolling noises.
  • Inspect your attic for signs of infestation. You might not see any animals while you’re up there, but you can look for telltale clues like nests, droppings, chewed wires, gnawed boards, or holes to the outside. 
  • Before leaving your attic, sprinkle a little bit of flour near any holes or openings. If animals are coming and going, you’ll be able to spot their footprints.

Whether or not you see them, assume animals are present if you find any holes to the outside while inspecting your attic.

Contact an expert to perform a more thorough inspection and lay traps, plugging holes only after you’re certain the animals are gone. If you trap them inside your home, they’ll likely cause additional damage.

2.     Inspect Your Home’s Exterior

Animals are creative, wily creatures. They’ll often enter through small holes near chimney pipes or soffit vents. Larger animals like squirrels and raccoons will gnaw at weak spots, creating bigger holes in your roof to give them easy access.

While inspecting the outside of your home, be on the lookout for:

  • Holes between your roof and your wall. Remember, even the smallest holes can be an open door. Openings as small as 3.8cm in diameter give ample room for squirrels to squeeze through.
  • Gaps near your roof line. Oftentimes these can be disguised by decorative trim.
  • Loose attic vent covers. Larger animals like raccoons can easily lift them, letting them get into your attic with ease.

3.     Install or Reinforce Vent Covers and Chimney Caps

You can cover vents by fastening hardware cloth or steel screens over vent holes, securing them with staples, nails, and screws. Make sure you extend coverings about two inches beyond the hole’s edges to stop larger animals like squirrels and racoons from gnawing around the cover.

When choosing a chimney cap, look for one that will be right for your chimney. The wrong cap can reduce airflow and, in rare circumstances, lead to chimney fires.

4.     Remove Sources of Food Near Your Home

Removing the food sources that keep animals around will make your home a less inviting place for them.

  • Keep garbage bins securely closed and inside your shed or garage whenever possible. Remember, animals like skunks or raccoons have a knack for getting into places they shouldn’t – like poorly secured garbage bins.
  • If you feed your pets outside, make sure you bring their bowls inside when they’re finished eating.
  • Do not leave compost exposed. Use a heavy-duty lid to keep animals from accessing the goodies inside compost containers, and collect dropped fruits and nuts from around your yard.

5.     Trim Overhanging Branches

If you have branches that reach over your roof, you’ll want to trim them back about six feet, which is the typical jumping distance for animals like squirrels.

You can prevent animals from climbing nearby trees by placing a metal sheet around the trunk six to eight feet off the ground. Make sure you fasten the metal with springs so it won’t squeeze the trunk as the tree grows.

If you notice any problems with your roof during your inspection, work with an experienced roofer to fix flaws and keep animals out.

At Herb Lodde Roofing, our expert roofers have been providing full roof replacements and repairs for over 50 years. Contact us today to schedule a free in-home consultation!

Serving homeowners in St. CatharinesBurlington, Niagara, Hamilton, and Oakville. 

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