Rooftop Rascals: 3 Ways Raccoons Get Into Your Attic—And How To Stop Them

Raccoons are the ultimate animal success story. Once found only in woodland areas, they now make their homes in suburbs and cities. They often find their way into the crawlspaces and attics of human habitations. After settling in, they destroy insulation, produce families, and work their way down into wall voids and other hidden spaces.

Blame It On the Weather

Roofs are especially vulnerable to raccoons because they take so much abuse from the weather. Storm damage, weak spots created by winter ice dams, and rotted fascia boards all give those clever rascals a chance to tear their way through to the nice, dry space indoors.

Repair storm damage as soon as possible. Inspect your roof at least once a year and after storms with hail or high winds. Keep the gutters clear; when leaves and debris collect into piles, they can hold moisture against the fascia board that forms the edge of the roof. Even worse, mice will occasionally nest in clogged gutters—attracting more raccoons, who like to raid the nests.

Alley Oop!

Raccoons are excellent climbers, able to use even the slightest toehold. Evergreens and shrubs that are allowed to grow too high give easy access to the gutter. An adult raccoon can weigh as little as 6 lbs, so even a spindly bush can offer access. Trellises and tree branches are even more convenient.

Slow down raccoons by leaving several feet between the gutter and any plantings. Keep trellises away from balconies or ledges. And trim overhanging branches, even if they don't seem strong enough to support an animal.

You See a Vent. They See a Doorway.

Vents are an essential part of every roof. Without proper air circulation, condensation forms in the attic, causing mold and wood rot. Raccoons can break through these vents. If your house has dormers or other architectural features, the places where these join the roof can be vulnerable to damage. Any weak spot is an opportunity for animals to enter.

Check for loose flashing or damaged siding on dormers. Look for signs of scratches or other damage on vents. Don't forget to check the vent at the peak of the roof. If raccoons are a problem in your neighborhood, consider having raccoon-proof vents installed by a professional company, like Homestreet Roofing Inc. These are protected by wire mesh that lets the house breathe, but stops sharp claws.

Wild animals have learned that humans build really nice places to live. That doesn't mean you have to put up with their presence in your home. With a little vigilance and regular maintenance, you can avoid having to put up with the pitter patter of little feet in your home.