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Gnawing Damage Around Your Roofline?

By Chris Williams on June 29, 2014.

Gnawing Damage on Roof Question

My husband just noticed that there are a couple of chewed-looking areas on the wood near the corners of our roof. The wood is gnawed in a circular shape, sort of like a mouse hole. Would mice be around the roofline? We’ve lived in Salem for 15 years and never had this problem before.—D.D., Salem, NH

Answer

Not mice, but another rodent. If you have squirrels in your yard, I bet they’re responsible. It’s bad enough when squirrels end up nesting in your attic, but it’s also a problem when squirrels try unsuccessfully to get into your attic, leaving a mess for you to repair. Squirrels often make more than one attempt to create an opening; they don’t give up easily.

Squirrels are notorious gnawers. They chew a lot and will chew through almost anything. If you have squirrels on your property, you’ve no doubt seen the evidence when they chew through plastic garbage can lids. They will chew on wood siding, louvers, soffits, wooden stairs, wooden outdoor furniture, porch railings, outdoor sheds, and electrical wires (very bad!). Sometimes they chew just to sharpen their incisors; sometimes they chew trying to create an opening that will let them into a space that would make a good nest site.

Squirrels usually enter homes at a high point, your roofline. They look for wood that is already soft from moisture or rot, or that is weakened or damaged. If squirrels can find an edge to work from, they can eventually gnaw a hole that they can fit through, usually 1.5 to 3 inches wide. They prefer unpainted wood which is why soffits (usually unpainted on the backside) work just fine. Other common entry points are around attic vents, dormer corners, edges of fascia boards, knot holes, or the openings where utility lines enter your house.

Squirrels will gnaw to get into the attic

Squirrel Exclusion – Let the Pros Do It

There are steps you can take to try to keep squirrels from chewing on your home. An obvious first step is to trim back any tree branches that are touching your roof. Trim them to 5-6 feet away from the roof, a squirrel’s jumping distance. If squirrels are gnawing in a particular place, taste repellents might deter them. It all depends on how badly they want to create that hole. In our opinion, the only thing that works reliably is professional squirrel exclusion, or squirrel-proofing. Exclusion involves reinforcing corners and weak areas, screening or sealing openings that squirrels could use, installing chimney caps, replacing rotting wood, etc.

Give Colonial a call today. We have almost 30 years of experience protecting buildings from squirrels. Our squirrel exclusion program uses top quality materials, it’s permanent, and it’s guaranteed. If that squirrel is already in your attic, we’re licensed for squirrel removal, too!

Here’s a tip from the pros: Don’t ever start sealing openings into your attic unless you are very sure there are no squirrels, and especially no squirrel young, inside. See “Baby Squirrels in the Attic!

Photo credit: infomatique / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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