One of the major entry areas for rats is via the roof. A roof is built to be light and airy, it is not built to the same kind of heavy duty specifications as a foundation or the structural support members that rest on it.
If a rat can get to your roof, chances are it can get in. Almost all roofs have gaps in them.
Common areas for gaps include:
Areas where different roof angles meet. This can be dormers, out croppings, additions, and changes in roof angles, among others. At the point where these areas meet together, there are often small openings in the framing. Rats only need a gap of half an inch, it’s not unusual for these areas to have gaps of 4 inches or more. These gaps usually occur in areas that are hard for the homeowner to see.
The fascia (the backing board behind your gutter) where it meets the sheathing (the wood beneath your roof surface) is another problem area for many homes – but only if you have boxed in eaves. If you can see rafters under your eaves, you’re probably OK.
Gaps between slats. Sometimes roofs are built with slats that run horizontal across the roof. Roofing materiel is then later added on top of these slats. The gaps between these slats is notorious for allowing rat access.
Another frequent culprit are roof vents, especially the small square looking vents that fit close to the roof. The underside of these vents are often screened with super light fiberglass screen that rats can chew through in seconds.
Even if your roof doesn’t have any gaps currently, it’s only a matter of minutes for them to make one in many roof types.
How do you keep rats out of your roof? You can hire a professional to inspect and install flashing or heavy duty hardware cloth where necessary. This may solve the problem for a while. This is especially useful if you currently have a rodent infestation. But the long term solution should always include making your roof difficult, if not impossible to get to.
This will involve:
Cutting back all vegetation so that none of it comes within 3 feet of your roof. Plan your pruning carefully so that you don’t have to do it every few months, if you’re like me, you’ll forget about it at some point and the vegetation will grow back. (If you need to remove a tree check with your local city or county first, some of them frown on cutting down trees.)
Making sure you don’t store items around your home that rats can use to climb up on to your roof. Nothing should come within 3 feet of the eave, gutter, or roof.
Why 3 feet? Rats can jump more than 3 feet, but they don’t like to. They are vulnerable to airborne predators and it is almost impossible to change your trajectory in flight. A sharp eyed hawk or a cat on the prowl would make quick work of rats that regularly had to jump 3 feet or more.
This might mean you need to trim or alter fences, gates, trellises and other landscape features around your home.
Finally, if you live in an area where rats are common, or if you’ve had rats, ask your utility providers to bury the cables that bring you your phone and or cable. It is quite common for rats and squirrels to use these as access points.
If you would like to schedule an inspection of your roof system, or your entire home- Give Safeguard a call, we’re here to help.
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