If you work hard to keep your home and lawn in working order, naturally, you want to make sure it stays that way. To do so, it’s important to understand how the safety of your home can be threatened by weather, the elements, and even our outdoor neighbors. This leaves many homeowners asking, “can squirrels damage your home’s roof and soffit?”
Squirrels can cause damage to your home’s roof and soffit by chewing siding, breaking shingles, and leaving your home vulnerable to water damage and leaking. In some cases, they can even do serious damage to wiring. It’s important to protect your home through squirrel repellents.
By understanding exactly how squirrels cause damage to your roof and soffit, you can go forward better equipped to prevent long-term damage. Read on to find out more about squirrels and your home!
What Kind of Damage Can Squirrels Do To Roofs and Soffits
Though there are a few exceptions, squirrels’ chewing can generally cause two major kinds of damage to your home: water damage and broken electrical wires.
While humans’ teeth generally grow to a set size and stop, the teeth of a squirrel never stop growing. Their diets largely consist of nuts, seeds, and hard fruits, all of which are incredibly hard on their teeth.
Their ever-growing teeth allow them what they need to keep their jaws strong despite all this regular grinding.
Still, as a result of this strange adaptation, squirrels have a near-constant impulse to chew. This could apply to nuts, sticks, or in some cases, your home!
Through this reckless nibbling, squirrels are known to bite away at rafters, siding, and shingles, opening the opportunity for leaks within your home.
In the most extreme cases, squirrels can even access electrical wiring that runs through the roofing. This isn’t just a minor inconvenience; it can be a major safety hazard.
Split wires can lead to electrical failure or even open sparks. In attics often filled with dry wood, insulation, boxes, and bare beams, this tiny problem can easily grow to the level of a major fire hazard.
The damage doesn’t stop there; even outside of their habitual chewing, squirrels can become an issue to your home in other ways.
Do Squirrels Damage Gutters Too
Though squirrels have a strong reputation for chewing through wood, they don’t frequently chew through metal with the same veracity.
This means that, when it comes to direct damage, your gutters are mostly safe. Still, there are other ways in which the presence of squirrels can disrupt the functionality of your gutters.
In addition to having an instinctive need to grind down their teeth, squirrels also have a drive to hide their treasures. Frequently, your gutter can become one of their favorite places to store nuts, sticks, and other goodies.
This may sound fine in theory, but once those heavy spring rains fall, these stockpiles can create blockages, leading water to pour where you least want.
Morbidly, squirrels can also cause a drainage problem in another way: by dying in the gutters.
If you’ve ever had or known anyone who has a pet rodent, you likely know about their joy of tunneling. Many hamster or rat cages come equipped with tunnels for exactly this purpose.
Squirrels are no different from other rodents in this way. Their adoration of tunneling drives them to travel your gutters, almost as a game.
Unfortunately, it’s also easy for them to become stuck this way. Once trapped in a gutter, a squirrel is likely to eventually starve to death before it can wiggle itself free, becoming an unfortunate, disgusting clog in your drainage system.
How to Keep Squirrels Off The Roof and Soffits
When it comes to keeping away pesky squirrels, you have a number of options to choose from.
One option would be to use a plastic, spikey netting. While relatively harmless, these spikes make gaining access to delicate areas of your roof uncomfortable enough to make squirrels seek other sources for their chewing needs.
The downside of using such spikey materials is that, unless you choose to cover your entire roof, squirrels will likely be able to jump over such tools with ease. Covering the entire surface of your roof may prove expensive and unsightly.
Another option is to take advantage of squirrel repellent. Repellents such as these depend on strongly scented materials to aggravate squirrels into leaving a certain area.
They are non-toxic, so you don’t have to feel guilty adding a few of these to your neighborhood or roof.
Another simple way to keep squirrels away is through the same tool humans have used to deter birds for generations: a scarecrow.
Through a model of one of the squirrel’s natural predators– owls are great for this– you can encourage your neighborhood squirrels to chew elsewhere.
Outside of these measures, it’s also a good idea to maintain your yard by trimming excess tree branches, making your home less welcoming to these furry friends.
What if Squirrels Get in Your Attic
The first sign that squirrels have made their way into your attic will likely be scratching sounds through your ceiling and walls.
At the first possible opportunity, you should make an effort to catch these squirrels, release them elsewhere, and protect your attic against future invasions.
If you’ve spotted squirrels or suspect you may have a problem, you have several options:
- Call your local wildlife control or pest exterminator
- Study your home for their original entry points
- Stuff steel wool into possible openings
- Toss mothballs into your attic as a deterrent
- Invest in squirrel or rodent repellant
Whether or not you believe they’ve already accessed your wires, it’s imperative that you understand the possibility that, if given the chance, they eventually will.
When it comes to squirrel damage, it’s better to make the effort in advance, rather than trying to recover from damage after it’s already happened.
Squirrels may be cute, but they can also be pests. They steal bird food, chew through local trees, and, in the worst cases, cause major damage to your home. In order to prevent these furry rodents from making themselves at home in your roof, you should keep tree branches trimmed and make early efforts to ensure your home’s safety from these otherwise adorable animals.