Roof Rodents

A while back, I was up in the attic and heard what sounded like a creature of some kind skittering around on the roof. Except louder. And the cats were suddenly finding the ceiling absolutely fascinating.

A few days later I was up there and there was a small hole in the ceiling/wall, with a little pile of debris on the floor under it, including a quantity of maple seeds.

I live under an elm tree.

So I gave the ceiling a whack with my hand and there was an indignant *Squeek!* and some scrabbling from one side of the room to the other.

I went out onto the roof with a powerful flashlight and took a look.

It’s kind of hard to describe, but there’s a pair of spots on my roof where the roof of the house meets the roof and the wall of a dormer in a really deep pocket; too deep for me to reach up in there easily. And when I peered into one of these, I could see the wall, the roof, and the underside of the other roof all coming together all the way to a point. But the other one, I could see that the wall did not quite get there….


So back inside the attic, I started tearing away at the wall at the inside of that spot on the outside.

This is not as hard as it sounds. The walls and ceilings of the attic were finished with beaverboard covered in wallpaper. You can easily put your hand through them. They’re crap. I basically punched my hand in and started pulling off chunks.

At one point I pulled off a piece and there was a large open space behind it. I was surprised! There are some dead spaces up there—places behind the kneewalls, mostly. But I wasn’t expecting any such thing here; certainly not at shoulder height. I enlarged the hole. I shined a flashlight in.

It was the actual room on the other side of the wall; I’d misjudged where that room would end. So now there’s a medium-sized hole in that room’s wall.

Anyway, so I tore a hole in the wall/ceiling at that spot, and a large quantity of maple seeds, dust, and general debris fell out. And I could feel a wind. Autumn was coming on, and it was a cool wind. I shut off the light and I could see a chink of sunlight down there. Again, too deep in there for me to actually easily reach, what with the pointy ends of the roofing nails sticking into the space and all. And there’s a side-branch of the rafter space down there, so I needed to fill the space down deep in there to keep them from just going that way if I block off this way.

I came back downstairs and pondered.

I bought a can of expanding urethane foam and tried to fill the hole (which is only about the size of an apple). But it wouldn’t squirt far enough up in there before sticking to the sides of the area.

Eventually I stuffed a bunch of aluminum foil down there with a stick to reach the actual hole, followed by some newspaper with foam on it, then wood scraps, until the whole thing was full enough that I could cut a piece of wood to fit over it and cover the whole egress into the rest of the inside-the-ceiling space. I pumped a bunch of foam in, put the wood on top, screwed that down, put some more foam on, and waited a few days.

No new noises.

No new seed stashes.

No cool wind.

I got a piece of white pre-finished Masonite, cut it to cover the entire messy hole, and screwed it in place. It’s ugly as home made sin, but not as ugly as the raw and ragged hole. It’s the closest I can come to an actual patch, because no one makes beaverboard any more, because it’s crap. I’d like to rip it all out and redo the whole attic. But (as mentioned) that’s a Big Project. It may happen someday.

But meanwhile it’s been more than 2 years and there are no more squirrels inside my roof.


A guy in his early 50s, living more or less alone in a 90-year-old house, trying to keep it all together.

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Posted in Roof

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