Here in Ontario, winter will be with us for several more weeks. Even by the official end of the season, temperatures will likely remain between a cool (and damp) three to eight degrees.
These chilly climes happen to collide with ‘baby season’ for raccoons, squirrels and other native wildlife. This means mothers will be seeking out a safe refuge from the cold for their young, and our homes often perfectly fit the bill.
While raccoons are the first culprit that springs to mind when one thinks of four-legged invaders, Ontario is home to an array of other critters that can easily find their way through the smallest crevices and into our roofs, including bats and squirrels. You can often note them by the sounds they make.
- Squirrels make chattering, gnawing, and scratching sounds — especially during the day.
- Bats squeak, flutter and click during the daytime, early evenings, and early mornings.
- Pigeons, starlings, and even geese will flutter, chirp, and bang.
- Mice and rats can be heard chewing and scratching in the evenings.
You’ll also be able to identify raccoons by noise. If you hear hissing, scratching, rustling, or screeching during the evenings, raccoons are most likely the culprit.
Not only is the noise from such critters unwelcome, but they can also cause extensive damage. Here’s how animals — like squirrels and birds — can cause destruction and how you can prevent raccoon damage to roof areas with some preventive measures.
Ways in Which Wildlife Can Cause Damage
While it’s not an animal’s intent to cause damage to your property, the destruction in their wake can be both costly and detrimental to your home’s integrity. Some of the telltale signs of roof animal damage and roofing issues to look out for are:
Most culprits of roof animal damage (barring birds) will cause chewed wiring. This can be incredibly dangerous because it can potentially cause an electrical fire.
Squirrel roof damage may look like peeled-off or chewed-on shingles, holes in the roof soffit or fascia, and/or damaged gutters. Squirrels are ferocious gnawers; not only will they aggressively chew through electrical cables, but they can also chew through metal pipes that run through the attic. This can be especially damaging if the pipe is in use and carries water.
Raccoon roof damage may look like new or agitated holes and gaps in the roof, soffit, and/or siding. Raccoons can even create holes the size of a basketball! These openings will leave the area exposed to snow and rain, which can lead to potential roof leaks with consequential water damage, wood rot, leaks to lower floors (damaging ceilings), and a potential fire if electricals are dripped on.
Disrupted or chewed insulation in your attic can have a detrimental effect on your energy bills and may lead to the growth of mould due to poor ventilation.
Food or Poop
Discovering poop in your attic is never a good sign. Animal feces carry bacteria, and because of this, your health may be jeopardized. Another indicator of animals in your roof is abandoned food, such as peanut shells or seed casings.
Damp Patches on Ceilings
Damp patches on the ceilings of the level below the attic are sometimes caused by one of the issues mentioned above: holes in the roof allowing the outside elements in, or chewed water pipes. But they may also be a sign of prolonged animal inhabitation. Over time, an accumulation of animal waste may seep through to the floors below.
In addition to the disruption that animals bring to our homes, they can also cause damage to our personal health by bringing in tics, fleas, and mites. Further, some people might have allergies brought on by wildlife being in proximity, and others may experience sleepless nights due to the noise, which may cause undue stress and anxiety.
Preventative Measures That You Can Take to Keep Wildlife out of Your Home
There are a few preventative steps that you can take around both houses and places of business.
Check Your Roof and Attic
Check your roof and your attic (if possible) for holes or gaps. Remember your fascia and soffit. Both are essential to a properly functioning roof, so any damage needs to be repaired quickly. If you’re unsure where or what to look for, consider connecting with roofing professionals. We know the key areas of the roof that animals often take advantage of.
Cap Vents and Chimneys
In addition to gaining access through the roof, animals may also enter our homes through our vent systems. Vents are generally found in the kitchen for the stove, as an extractor for the tumble dryer and on roofs. Because of their purpose (removing hot, damp air from a home), they're particularly appealing to wildlife seeking sanctuary on a cold day.
One way to keep critters out is by installing wire mesh covers on the ends of vents. Vents still allow air to escape, so they can serve their intended purpose while keeping animals out.
In addition to entering through vents, some animals can also use chimneys as an entry point, which could be another source of squirrel, bird or raccoon damage to roof areas. Capping chimneys is one way to avoid this potential hazard. We recommend connecting with a professional to do this for you.
Prune Nearby Trees
Keep trees that are close to the house well-trimmed. Squirrels are especially agile climbers and leapers. By removing jumping-off points, you may be reducing the potential for squirrels to gain entry, which may result in squirrel damage to roof areas.
Remove Food Sources
One way to minimize the chance of raccoon damage to roof areas is by keeping the exteriors of your home (or business) free of garbage and debris, thus removing a food source and potential climbing apparatus.
Consult with the Professionals
If you’re battling squirrel roof damage, raccoon roof damage or roof problems from another member of our native wildlife, repairing your home’s roof is crucial to ensure further destruction isn’t done and your guests don’t invite even more guests. Once wildlife has hunkered down in your home, it can be incredibly difficult and expensive to get them to leave.
If your home or business has experienced raccoon or squirrel damage to roof elements like the shingles, soffits, fascia or gutters, connect with us. Whether you need an emergency roof repair — where we guarantee that the problem will be solved efficiently before it progresses — or help with preventative measures, we’re equipped to help repair any damage that animals may have caused to your roof. We are also ready to help implement pre-emptive steps to eliminate future animal visits as well.