Rodent Proofing Your Home – Part 1

Friday, November 19, 2010@ 4:25 PM
Author: Ken Martin

First of all, we’d like to apologize for the hiatus! We’re back and ready for action so keep the questions and comments coming – we’ll try to get back to everyone!

Ok.  You are about to begin rodent proofing your home.  I think it is important to have a target pest in mind as you begin.  The average adult mouse weighs less than an ounce, and can slip through an opening the size of a dime.  Obviously this makes mouse proofing a home a bit more difficult than rat proofing.  Norway Rats tend to burrow, and their entry points are going to more likely be found low to the ground.  Roof Rats are excellent climbers, and as such will be more apt to enter the home around the roof area. However I have seen Norway Rats in attics and Roof Rats burrow into crawl spaces, so don’t make too many assumptions.

Let’s start with the doors.  Check for gaps around the bottom and the side of the doors. If you are inside on a sunny day and can see light under the door, this should be addressed.  Installing or replacing door seal or sweeps should be all that is needed.

Next let’s look for any utility penetrations.  Water pipes, gas lines, electrical conduit, dryer vents, and cable TV wires are all common entry points. Look for gaps around these penetrations. A great product for sealing these gaps is Stuf-Fit Copper Mesh.  It can be wedged into place and it’s nearly impossible for rodents to chew through.  It doesn’t rust like steel wool, so staining is not an issue.

Now let’s inspect all foundation vents and screens.  Any broken or missing vents should be replaced.  If the screening on the foundation vents is damaged it should be replaced.  I recommend ¼ inch mesh hardware cloth. It is much sturdier than screen wire and can’t be chewed through by rats or mice. It’s easy to work with and can easily be cut with a pair of tin snips.

Mesh hardware

Mesh hardware

The vent for the clothes dryer is another potential entry point.  If it has no screening on it, replace it with a new one.

Screened dryer vent

Correctly screened dryer vent

Now check for a gap under the bottom board of the siding.  Depending on the size of the gap it can be sealed with anything from caulk to Stuf-Fit Copper Mesh.

In our next installment we’ll discuss the roof line and all of the fun you’ll have closing and sealing gaps while standing on a ladder.

2 Responses to “Rodent Proofing Your Home – Part 1”

  1. Ryan says:

    Hey Ken. This is a great article, as they are all. My name’s Ryan from Go-Forth Services in western NC. Our URL is http://www.goforthpest.com

    I had a customer with a determined Roof rat. Lucky (nice little nickname) came in through the attic of their home, which was about 110+ years old. He climbed through the wall and ate his way through the way and directly in the couch situated right in front of it. Then the little devil popped right out as the teenage boys were watching t.v. one night.
    The homeowners thought they could get rid of him on their own, but they didn’t succeed. That rat stayed with them for 3 months before they called us. Had they called us from the get-go, they wouldn’t have had so much structural damage and electrical problems. I don’t think people realize how dangerous a rodent infestation can be.
    I’m just glad we could help.
    Have a good one.
    Thanks,

    Ryan

  2. Ken Martin says:

    Thanks Ryan. It’s good to know that guys in the industry are reading the blog. I agree that customers need to be more aggressive when they first discover the rodents. I visited your site and you guys have a great website as well. Thanks for reading

    Ken

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