Rodent Entry Points In Roofs And Attics – Part I

Learn the common rodent entry points in roofs and attics and how to prevent them

Most animals are found out in the wild, in the outdoors, but for a variety of reasons they are aggressive and fastidious in finding ways to get into houses, especially in the winter.  They search for shelter and warmth, especially around birthing (springtime for many nuisance animals, vermin, and pests) seasons and in the winter.   In addition to seeking shelter from the elements such as precipitation and low temperatures, wild animals also seek seclusion from other predatory animals.  One of the main places they get into the house is through the roof, and animals, critters and pests will literally tear things apart to get inside, they can cause significant physical damage and also carry diseases which remain and fester in their droppings.

How Animals Get Into Attics And Roofs

Today’s article is a multiple part series. In the coming spring season, in Washington DC, we will be fixing a significant amount of serious damage caused by animals and will bring photographs and tales from the field to our clients on our website.  Today we’ll talk about some of the ways animals get into our attics and our roofs of our houses.   The lesson learned and takeaway from all of our experience is that keeping a roof in good condition through seasonal maintenance and seasonal roof checkups is essential to keep animals out because once small problems start, they can get worse fast.  For example, where materials begin to separate animals can create openings that are much larger, and once the elements begin to enter freely, the extent of damage can spiral.

The picture below shows a rear roof termination, a critical area of animal entry. 

rear roof termination rodent entry points in roofs

In most row-buildings, the roof runs with slight grade from front to back. The typical roof on a row buildings are flat or low sloped roofs.  The picture below shows an example of a rowhome roof, from the rear of the roof looking towards the front. You can tell from this picture that there is a significant decline or grade in the overall slope or form of the roof so that water will shed consistently from the front of the roof to the back. This happens to be a relatively simple and straightforward layout without a rear ell and mechanical equipment on the rooftop.

rowhome roof example

Poor Quality Work Is The #1 Reason For Rodent Entry Points In Roofs

There are a variety of different quality contractors in the Washington DC area and we often see more low quality work than high quality work. Especially when we’re called to fix work done by other contractors.  The rear termination of a roof is a hotspot for shoddy work, not just because it’s a transition of materials but also because it involves multiple different types of materials and some workers are only skilled in installation of one type of building assembly or building material.  At some of these loose laid and damaged materials it’s hard to see how a rodent could fit their entire body into the opening, in something as small as cracks and crevices but some of the material separation is large enough to fit the hand of a full grown adult.  Opening that size in a roof membrane or roof termination materials can easily allow a rodent to pass in-and-out of the roof attic.

damaged roof membrane

The picture below shows the same area with a brighter exposure to see more into the inside of the attic space..

gap in roof termination high exposure rodent entry point in attic

How To Maintain A Flat Roof System – Quality Roofing Contractors

Smart proactive replacement, construction, upkeep and maintenance of low slope roof systems requires an enthusiastic interest and understanding of waterproofing principles and building science.   Here in Washington DC, historic and modern residential and commercial buildings are extremely expensive and the roof and related systems provide the shield that preserves the building. 

We encourage all of our clients, and all readers of this article and to our blog in general, to prioritize the value of quality construction and building maintenance, and develop a relationship with our company.  You can learn a lot more on our blog.  Feel free to check it out.  If you have questions about the roof and related systems of your building in Washington DC, contact us or  fill out the webform below and drop us a line.  We will be in touch if we can help.

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