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Roofing Question

How do I keep a determined squirrel out of my attic?

A squirrel ripped shingles at the edges of the roof, entered my attic, and made a nest where babies were born before I noticed. I had the roof renovated. However, the mother squirrel since ate through a plastic vent and an aluminum vent to get back in. What can we do?

Keeping a determined squirrel out of your attic can be a challenge, to say the least, but can be done with a little work. Keep in mind that once the critters are in your home, dealing with the mess they can make may be the least of your problems - they can also create fire hazards by chewing through exposed electrical wiring.

It's unusual for a squirrel to chew through aluminum, but it's a fairly soft metal so if they're determined the material may succumb to their sharp teeth. However, I can just about guarantee that even the sharpest squirrel teeth aren't going to chew through heavy gauge hardware cloth. The material, available at many hardware and home improvement stores, is actually a metal mesh that allows air flow. That makes it an ideal choice as a squirrel deterrent when installed behind the vents in your attic. When you install the cloth, extend it several inches beyond the vent opening edges in all directions to prevent the squirrels from chewing around it.

Most squirrels aren't going to give up just because one entry point has been blocked so inspect the rest of your roof system after installing the hardware cloth. Other favorite avenues of entry for critters and birds are rotten fascia boards and soffits, chimneys without caps, and gaps at the siding. Squirrels don't need much of an opening to get in and most birds need even less, so close up any hole larger than about two inches. But while you're at it, from an energy efficiency standpoint, you may want to go ahead and close every hold you find.

Another issue to consider is that squirrels will rarely climb up the side of a home - especially if the exterior siding is vinyl, fiber cement, or brick veneer. Instead, they will climb nearby trees and then jump over to the roof surface. A typical squirrel can jump from 6 to 8 feet so if there are any tree branches that close to your roof, trimming them back may help solve your problem.

If there are trees growing within 6 to 8 feet of your home that extend up near the roof, installing metal around the trunk may also act as a deterrent. The sheet metal should be about two feet wide and wrap all the way around the trunk. It can be attached with metal wiring wrapped around the tree, but the wires should be adjusted several times a year or be connected by springs to allow tree growth.

One last note - be careful not to trap the squirrel in your attic with your deterrents. If you suspect that this is the case, or that there may still be a nest of babies in the space, a trained wildlife specialist should be called in to set live traps.

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Roofing vs. Reroofing

Roofing vs. Reroofing

If you come to find out that your roof has been damaged and needs to be fixed then there are two main approaches you can take. You can either decide to make a roof repair or replace the entire roof. Roof repairs will generally save you time and money, but in most cases a new roof is the best option. As a general rule of thumb, if the existing roof on is only one layer and there are no problems with the roof deck, a new roof is not necessary.

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