If you have ever dealt with a rodent infestation in your home, you know that these pests can cause extensive damage in a short period of time. Rodents pose a number of risks to your health and safety as well as to your property’s integrity and value. From disease and allergies to ruined thermal insulation and electrical fires, these seemingly harmless critters can quickly wreak havoc on your home.
The attic is one of the most common areas for rodent infestations. This is because there tend to be many small entry points and ample crawl space for rodents. These animals can live in this area of the home relatively unnoticed, and the environment often suits them well. One of the biggest reasons that rodents like the attic is because the surface area is often filled with insulation. Rodents like a warm, soft environment for nesting – so you can see why thermal insulation suits them.
Does Rodent Resistant Insulation Exist?
Rodents and insulation do not have a good history. For as long as people have been insulating their homes, rodents have been infiltrating the same spaces and using the insulation as a place to live. Because of this, many companies have attempted to capitalize on the issue by marketing insulation products as ‘rodent proof’ or ‘rodent resistant’. Some of these attic rodent proofing methods have included utilizing “rodent resistant” foam insulation and polyester insulation.
But the fact is, no such insulation exists to successfully gauge rodent control. If these animals have access to insulation and want to destroy it, they are going to do just that, even if it’s made of foam. Many of the products that are advertised as ‘rodent resistant’ do not actually cover rodent damage under warranty, and some even have disclaimers about rodent damage on their websites or on the product label.
One specific type of cellulose insulation that was marketed as “rodent-proof” was Tap Insulation which contains trace amounts of boric acid. However, the fact of the matter is that there is not enough of the acid to have any effect on a rodent issue and even if there was a substantial amount within the insulation, the rodent would have to ingest it.
So, if you are insulating your attic for the first time, replacing old or damaged insulation, or you have a new rodent problem in your attic that you want to get under control, how can you achieve that without access to rodent proof insulation? The answer is simple: If you want to be sure that rodents cannot damage your attic insulation, you have to keep them out of it in the first place. There are several best practices that professionals in the attic insulation industry use to ensure your insulation lives a long and rodent-free life.
Why is Attic Insulation so Prone to Rodent Damage?
Why is there all this fuss about rodents and attic insulation in the first place? Surely, rats and mice have better things to do besides shredding up your home’s insulation. While it may seem like an unnecessary form of destruction, rodents have their reasons for damaging your home’s insulation – and they are not likely to simply stop doing it on their own accord.
Rats and mice that live in the wild make nests out of anything soft and fluffy that they can find. Non-rigid materials like leaves, tree bark, and grasses are all common items that these rodents use to build nests for themselves and their young. The nests help the rodents stay out-of-sight of predators, and they provide the rodents with heat insulation from cold temperatures.
When rodents infest your attic, they have already ‘hit the jackpot’, so to speak. Presumably, your attic is dry and relatively protected from the elements that would otherwise bring in moisture. Still, the rodents will be looking to nest for extra protection and warmth. This is where your precious attic insulation comes in.
Rodents damage insulation in two main ways: They either rip it up into tiny shreds and carry it away to build nests, or they nest directly in the insulation. Both scenarios produce similar results: insulation that is torn and damaged, with an R-value that has been compromised.
If you have such undesired pests using your attic as habitat, the damage to your insulation will only be part of your worries – rodents can cause house fires, induce allergic reactions, and carry deadly diseases. Keeping them out of your attic altogether is the best way to protect yourself and your home’s insulation.
How Can You Protect Your Attic Insulation from Rodents?
If you want to protect your attic insulation from rodents, you will have to keep them out of your home altogether. Doing so requires a combination of making your home a less appealing environment for the pests, and sealing every possible entry point. Here are some ways you can protect your existing insulation from rodents and pests.
Locate All Possible Access Points And Seal Off Small Holes
Sealing off every possible rodent entry point may sound simple, but rodents can enter your home through a hole or gap that is 1/4 of an inch in diameter. Search for cracks and holes between the roof and eaves of your home, parts where utility wires and piping enter the home and in the siding. You can use wire mesh to seal cracks and openings around drain pipes or wall cracks. Place wire mesh over the opening or cracks and apply fast-drying concrete to hold it in place. Make sure the mesh openings are smaller than 1/4 inches. Now that you have this information, how confident are you that your home is rodent proof or that you won’t experience a rat problem in the future?
Make Your Home an Ideal Habitat for Humans, Not Rodents
While the true ‘rodent-proofing’ of your home happens when you seal all gaps and cracks through which the pests can enter, it is still a best practice to make your home a less appealing environment for rats and mice to inhabit in the first place.
Make Food Inaccessible
If you have rodents in the attic, one of the ways to stop them is to remove their food sources. Rodents are attracted to places where they have access to food and a surface to nest. To make your home less attractive to rodents, make sure that all garbage cans are covered, all pet food containers are sealed, and all food is inaccessible to rodents.
Secure and Seal Possible Nesting Materials
Additionally, try to avoid keeping items like newspapers or clothes in areas such as the attic – where rodents would be encouraged to use them to make nests. If you must store such items in rodent-prone areas of the home, at least put them in sealed containers made of thick plastic.
Set Up Rodent Baiting Stations
In addition, setting up snap traps, glue boards, and bait stations for better rat control. Check on the traps frequently to remove any trapped rodents. Never use rat poison in your attic. The rodents can die inside your walls and home insulation. They can decay and leave a strong odor that’s very hard to remove. You will need insulation removal services as dead mice can become a health hazard. Dead rats often leave live ticks that can cause diseases like Lyme disease.
Rodent-Proof Your Home
Making your home a less hospitable environment for rodents is a good start, but to truly keep rodents out of your attic insulation and other areas, it is imperative to hire a professional company for the job. Attic insulation alone can cost tens of thousands of dollars depending on the size of your space and what kind of insulation is used, so protecting this investment is important and well worth the cost.
When you hire a team of professionals to protect your home from rats and mice, they will first perform a thorough inspection to determine exactly where the pests are gaining access to your house. Once they have assessed your home and determined possible points of entry, they will help you come up with a plan for future rat control. The cost of rodent-proofing your home depends on how many breaches there are in your home’s exterior, how large they are, and how easy they are to access. Additionally, the overall size of your space may factor into the cost.
The best rodent control specialists use a combination of wire mesh and construction-grade sealant to keep the unwarranted pets out. Some DIY’ers and companies looking to cut costs might use what they think is rodent resistant spray foam insulation to fill gaps and cracks. While spray foam insulation is great for sealing off these areas and may be a temporary solution for keeping rats and mice out of residential buildings, the material is not rodent-proof.
Professionals such as the rodent proofing team from Attic Construction will use only high-grade materials to keep the pests out. This initial investment can save you thousands of dollars down the line in rodent cleanup and mechanical repair costs. As is the case with most areas of home construction and improvement, it is certainly best to invest slightly more in high-quality materials and craftsmanship when it comes to rodent prevention than it is to skimp on the job and pay the price later.
A Note About New Attic Insulation
You might be reading this article because you are considering replacing your attic insulation or you are adding insulation to a newly constructed attic. If this is the case, you need to consider rodent activity as a potential major threat to your new insulation. Unfortunately, no insulation exists that is truly rodent resistant, even in the form of cellulose.
The good news is that many companies, such as Attic Construction, specialize not only in attic insulation installation but also offer rodent proofing services. but also offer rodent proofing services. If you are adding new attic insulation to your home, you must first make sure that no rodents are present, and then entirely rodent-proof the space before putting the insulation in. Though it is a large investment, the benefits of rodent proofing your attic are vast and very worth the cost.
If you skip this crucial step, you are doing the equivalent of laying down thousands of dollars of unprotected cash in a space that is prone to rodent activity. Like insulation, cash bills are prime material for rat and mice nests – and nothing is going to stop these rodents from destroying your investment once they have access to it.
If you want rodent resistant insulation, you need a rodent resistant home. Contact Attic Construction today to find out how we can help you get the rodents out and keep them out!
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Written By Joseph Sheiner
Joseph Sheiner is a construction industry professional with over 15 years of experience. He began his career in the insulation industry in 2012, and co-founded Attic Construction Inc in 2013. As CEO of the company, Joe oversees all operations and is in charge of training and product knowledge.
Under Joe’s leadership, Attic Construction has become the largest leading Attic Restoration Company in San Diego, Orange County and Phoenix. He has personally performed and supervised insulation work in over 7000 homes. He is certified by Owens Corning as a CEE (Certified Energy Expert) and is a licensed contractor by the CSLB.
Most recently, Joe has helped expand Attic Construction to two additional locations – Orange County and Phoenix. He is currently working on expanding to additional locations in the near future.
Great work! Our attic went from totally disgusting to pristine. They are courteous and professional and clean up after themselves.
-Karen L. Santee, CA
Andrew was very informative and helpful during the whole process. Excellent communication and his team did a great job. He came on Sunday and the work was done and completed by Tuesday. Highly recommend to anyone who is looking for a fair prices and great service.
– Joey E. San Diego, CA