Please note we are in no way experts on this subject. There are however some links at the end of the post with more professional advice.
Over the weekend we learned we have an unexpected house guest (or possibly guests).
Yep, that’s right. A raccoon. Considering the season, it’s most likely a mother raccoon and her babies.
A couple of weeks ago I told Robert (and Twitter) that it sounded like something large scurried across the dining room. Since we didn’t hear the noise again, we (foolishly) thought that maybe it was on the roof and not actually in the attic. Later, a neighbor told us they saw a raccoon on our roof, and we felt a bit better.
Haha, suckers! (source)
A few days later the neighbor told us they saw a large raccoon climbing into our roof, and yesterday Robert and I heard it while standing in the guest room.
- Plastic or wire mesh – we used Amerimax White Snap-in Gutter Filter, which is found in the roofing section.
- Raccoon repellant – we used Critter Ridder
- Staple gun – we used our Bostich Pneumatic Stapler, but a hand held stapler would also work
- Scissors or tin snips – for cutting the mesh
By all accounts, raccoons are strong, and can cause surprising amounts of damage. They can pretty much rip through anything, so while we will be boxing the soffits in with soffit material soon, we opted for a lower cost combination of tactics for now, and when we’re sure they’re gone we’ll completely enclose the eaves.
First, we checked all our soffits for holes, and counted how many there were total (33 triangular soffits, and 19-20 rectangular openings). Then we went to Lowe’s to access our options. We decided to go with a product that is sold as a rain gutter covering. It’s vinyl mesh with a screen backing, made by Amerimax. At $2.10 for a 6″ by 36″ strip, the price was right, too.
We got home and got to work. Robert broke out the air compressor and pneumatic stapler while I started cutting the mesh to length. For our soffits the best fit was about 12 inches of mesh, or roughly one third of the strip. I also cut off the “snap in” part meant to hold it onto a rain gutter so that it laid flush to the wall.
You can see below that
our eaves need some serious repainting up close it’s not the prettiest, but it should do the job. Fortunately from the ground you can’t tell that the edges don’t meet the joists perfectly.
Since our soffit openings are triangular, Robert did his best to line the middle of the two panels up with the point of the triangle. Before stapling the mesh down, Robert sprayed Critter Ridder into the opening. It gets mixed reviews, but for $17 it was worth a try. Just a few squirts in places where the previous screen (most of which was installed from the inside of the wall, possibly when the house was built) was intact, and liberally in the areas where we knew the raccoons entered/nested close by. Spray, staple, repeat.
Also, try not to step off the ladder and twist your ankle. (No, we don’t know anyone who did that, why do you ask?)
Speaking of the raccoons entering/exiting, it’s best to leave the most popular opening uncovered until you no longer hear the raccoon(s). We may also follow another bit of advice we read and shove some wadded up newspaper in place to help gauge if they’re still coming & going.
I call the below our Raccoon Super Highway. And you can bet I basically open hand face-palmed when I realized this had been open for the past 3 years. D’oh! No idea why I trusted the former owners to have enclosed it properly. You can see we closed up the righthand side, and have left the lefthand side open for now.
I call this next one the Raccoon Super Highway Part 2. It’s basically a row of 19-20 openings over the screen porch. Fantastic, right?
The Raccoon Super Highway is located to the right of the patio below (behind the tree branch) and Raccoon Super Highway Part 2 runs the entire length of the porch.
You can also see the patio we hastily threw together for Robert’s birthday, the storm door that shattered and caused him to need stitches (damn door! I’m replacing you with barn doors, just you wait!), and our DIY adirondack chairs.
Also our semi brake drum turned fit pit, and Robert’s beer bottle collection. Keepin’ it classy.
So that’s Part 1. Part 2 involves sealing off the Raccoon Super Highway Part 2, and playing loud music in the house/attic to disrupt their sleep and encourage them to leave. If all of that fails then Part 3 will be paying someone to remove them/their nest (which should be interesting given the size of our attic craw;space), and to attempt to remove the raccoon soiled insulation.