Raccoons are one of the most common urban wildlife species found in Ontario, Canada. They are smart and agile creatures that have adapted well to human environments. However, they can become a nuisance when they take up residence in attics or other parts of a house. In this article, we will explore some top ways raccoons get into attics and the main ways to prevent them from doing so.
1) Roof Vents
Roof vents are an essential part of any attic ventilation system. They allow fresh air to enter and exit the attic, which helps regulate the temperature and prevent moisture buildup. Roof Vents in Ontario are made of plastic or aluminium, neither are strong enough to withstand the force of raccoons. Raccoons also view roof vents as an ideal entry point into attics. They are often attracted to the warm and dry environment of an attic, which provides an ideal place to raise their young.
Raccoons are skilled climbers and can easily climb up the side of a house to reach the roof. Once there, they will look for any weak spots around the vent and use their claws to rip off the cover. They may also use their powerful jaws to chew through the vent cover or any surrounding material that might be in their way. Sometimes not only do they remove the vent, they destroy the surrounding wood leaving a gapping hole on the roof that can cause major water damage to the inside of your home.
2) Soffit to Roof Locations
Another common entry point for raccoons is the soffit to roof location. The soffit is the underside of the eaves of a roof, while the roofline is the area where the roof meets the exterior wall of the house. Raccoons often gain access to attics by climbing up the side of a house and finding a vulnerable spot in the soffit or roofline.
Once they find a weak point, they will use their strength to push in the soffit and bend the metal and any surrounding material. They can also squeeze through small gaps or holes, as raccoons are very flexible and can fit through spaces as small as four inches in diameter.
3) Gable End Vents and Wall Vents
Wall vents and Gable End Vents are another entry point for raccoons to access attics and walls. These vents are usually located on the exterior walls of a house and are used to allow air to flow in and out of the attic. Unfortunately, they can also provide an easy way for raccoons to get inside.
Some of the vents are made from plastic and others are made from aluminum or other types of thin soft metal. None of sufficient to keep out raccoons. In the above picture someone replace the vent cover not knowing it was raccoon damage and the raccoon ripped through the screen a second time the next day.
Raccoons will often climb up the side of a house and locate the wall vent. They will then force their head between the flimsy metal and use their claws to scratch open the bug net or chew through any material in their way. Once they have gained access to the vent, they can easily climb up into the attic and make themselves at home.
4) Roof Pipes/Boots
When a raccoon climbs onto a roof, it thoroughly inspects the structure for any vulnerabilities. The pipes on the roof are particularly vulnerable to damage. The section surrounding the pipe, known as the boot, is made of thin rubber that can become brittle over time. Raccoons can easily gnaw through the rubber, tear it apart, and then chew the wood to widen the opening for entry. Using the pipe boot as an entry point is often highly destructive to a house because not only does the boot need to be replaced, but also the shingles and the plywood underneath it.
5) Construction Gaps
Finally, construction gaps are another common way for raccoons to gain access to attics. These gaps can occur anywhere in the construction of a house but are often found under the shingles at the edge of the roof and in other locations, such as where two different materials meet or where there is a gap in the siding or roofing material.
Raccoons are experts at finding these weak spots and can easily climb or squeeze their way through them or chew them to make them larger. Once inside, they can cause significant damage to the attic and other parts of the house.
Bonus location - Chimneys
Chimneys are another frequent entry point for raccoons. Although they don't usually provide access to the attic, chimneys are an attractive location for raccoons to rear their offspring. Raccoons can enter by crawling down the chimney opening or by displacing the flimsy screen at the top of certain chimneys. Once inside the chimney, they can create a den and raise their young.
Preventing Raccoons from Getting into Attics
Preventing raccoons from getting into attics is essential to avoid potential damage and health hazards. Here are some ways to prevent raccoons from accessing your attic: Seal off any and all potential entry points: Use sturdy chew-proof materials and metal to seal off any potential entry points, such as roof vents, wall vents, construction gaps, and soffit to roof locations. The material needs to be chew-proof, rust-proof, and breathable. If only some of the entry points are sealed up, the raccoons will just chew back in through another spot.
Get Professional Help
If you have a persistent raccoon problem or are unsure of how to prevent them from entering your attic, it's best to call a professional wildlife removal company like Integrity Wildlife Control. We can safely and effectively remove raccoons from your property and help prevent future infestations.
Our work comes with a Lifetime Warranty and a Guaranteed Removal. When we seal a building, our goal is to make our work cosmetically pleasing and look as though we have not been there. Some companies use cheap material that does not last and hurts the appearance and value of the home. If you need help with raccoon removal in Hamilton or the Ontario area, give us a call at (289) 272-9453 or fill out This Form and we will call you back today.