Fortifying Your house, top to bottom.

I am often asked whether I can keep the animals from coming back, and the answer is YES!

Although I can’t possibly detail every possible fortification that houses may need, I will cover the most common.  Starting high, and going low.

The CHIMNEY… A lot of homes have chimneys that for whatever reason do not have a proper screened cap.  A chimney cap should serve four purposes.. 1. protect the flue from rain.  2. protect the crown from water damage.  3. Prevent embers from flying around the neighborhood 4. Keep birds, bats, raccoons, and squirrels from coming down.  Chimney swifts (a species of bird in the Swallow family) and Raccoons are the two most frequent animals to nest in uncapped chimney flues, but a lot of other birds, squirrels, and bats often come down and can’t get back out leaving them trapped in the firebox.  The most unusual one I’ve pulled out was a Mallard duck.  Your chimney should have a cap made of stainless steel that will be strong enough for the strongest winds, and won’t corrode from the extreme temperature changes it will experience.

The ROOF. While I am not a roofer, I do make minor repairs, and often have to recommend roofers for a full replacement.  Particularly in regards to bats, Cedar shake, Tile, and Metal roofs simply cannot be batproofed.  I recommend a good quality 30-50 year asphalt composition roof.

ROOF VENTS.  These are the vents at the top of your roof peak that allow hot air to escape. These come in two types.  Hooded AKA turtle vents, and Ridge vents.  If you have plastic or vinyl as the material on either one, it will be problematic for bats and rodents both and will need to be upgraded.  With hooded vents, I use steel roof vents reinforced with steel (in addtion to the factory aluminum) wire mesh screening.  In the case of ridge vents, the best product on the market is Cobra roof exhaust vent.  It conforms to any roof and is chew and claw resistant.

Gable Vents. Similar to roof vents these are to allow hot air to escape the attic.  Mostly an issue for birds and bats, these vents which can be found at the ends of roof peaks are often done with light duty aluminum screening which can be pecked or clawed out giving access to the attic. These need to be reinforced with steel wire mesh.

Dormer Corners. Common anywhere two roof lines come together is a little corner that goes deep under the eave of the upper roof line.  Hard to get at, these corners often were never properly flashed and secured by the original builders, and this is my most common access point for squirrels, but I also have Rats, Mice, Birds, Raccoons, and Opossums using these corners to get into attics.  Sealing these corners can be tricky and depending on how the house was built, I may use wood, sheet metal, steel mesh and foam, or even mortar to seal them up.

Eave Vents. Some people call these bird blockers.  They are the vents under your eaves between the truss beams that allow cool shade air to enter the attic. Once again, these are often made of aluminum screening which is easy for birds to peck out, and rodents to rip through.  Probably my single most common attic exclusion is to reinforce these with Steel wire mesh.

Siding exhaust vents. The flapped vents for your dryer, bathroom fan, oven fan, microwave fan, stove fan, often have no screen on them and are a favorite nesting place for starlings if high on the siding, and an easy place for rodents to get in if low to the ground.  I install factory built screened covers over these vents that are easy to remove for cleaning lint out of the dryer duct.

Garage Doors. Mostly a problem on older wooden overhead doors is sagging as they age leaving rodent access points at the corners of the door.  Depending on the style of door I may need to trim the bottom of the door to fit properly again, or build up the concrete to match the door.

Crawlspace Vents. Another common access that needs work on almost all houses, the crawlspace vents are designed to allow ground moisture to escape your crawlspace so that it won’t condense on your floor joists and cause mold and rot.  Unfortunately, the quality of most factory vents is terrible and will be an access point for ground creatures like Rats, Mice, Opossums, Raccoons, and Otters at some point.  Especially if the cable or phone company damages them by running wires through the screen.  There are many different styles of these vents, but regardless, I reinforce them with heavy duty steel screening anchored into the foundation wall.

Crawlspace door. If your home has an external crawlspace access, many times the builders put a rain cover over the opening, but neglected installing a pest door on the foundation wall.  The well cover may be able to keep rain out of the crawlspace, but it won’t keep vermin out.  For that, you need a door built like any other door on the house.  Vertically installed inside a frame on the foundation wall.  I build at least 3 of these a week.  All with pressure treated wood and steel latches guaranteed to last.

Foundation Pipes. Every house has a septic/sewer drain line, and a cold water intake line inside the foundation that has to penetrate to the outside. Sometimes these lines are drilled through the foundation wall, and sometimes they are dug under it.  Either way, they often leave room for tunneling creatures to follow these plumbing fixtures into the crawlspace.  These are common access points for Rats in particular.  I usually need to dig out loose material and fill these tunnels with concrete or mortar to seal them up.

Obviously, this is not a complete list of everything that could be an access point for animals to infest a house, but does cover the most common places.

To have me come out and inspect your home or office to see what needs to be reinforced to keep the critters out, call me today at 360-508-8115!