Are Uninvited Guests Eating Your House

Home Inspector with HouseProbe Inspections LLC

      Are uninvited guests eating your home. We all know about the damage that termites can do, but there are other pests that do billions of dollars in damage to homes every year. I recently inspected a beautiful old home built around 1900. The home had ornate wood trim and most of the trim was in excellent condition. I did notice on my exterior inspection that there was a hole about the size of a baseball chewed through the underneath of one soffits. Other than that there was no other damage to the trim. I immediately thought that a squirrel had chewed through the soffit and was living in the attic. When I inspected the attic I had guessed right, but I was surprised to see that a squirrel/s had chewed 3 ceiling joists in a almost perfect U shape 2/3rds the way through the joists and the ceiling in in one 2nd floor bedroom was no longer structurally sound. They had also chewed on several other joists and even some roof rafters. I estimated the damage to be around $5000.00.

    Squirrels have constantly growing teeth and have to gnaw on wood to wear down and sharpen their teeth. Your home makes a wonderful home for squirrels too. The attic insulation makes a soft bed and will keep them warm. If allowed to move in they will do significant damage over time. There are lots of products and repellents on the market to repel squirrels and some even work (sort of). The best defense to keep squirrels out of the attic is to keep your wood trim in good painted condition and inspect the soffits and trim periodically to see if there are any signs of chew marks. Don't feed the squirrels and keep bird feeders away from the house. Trim tree branches near the house, don't make access to your home easy. If you do find you have squirrels, do not try to poison them, they may die in the attic. Make sure the squirrels are no longer in the attic and then seal all entry points and repair any damage. Be proactive to keep uninvited guests from eating your home.


David DiRienzo is a Virginia State Certified home inspector serving Richmond, Petersburg, Hopewell, Colonial Heights, Chester, Chesterfield, Henrico and all of central and southside Virginia

Comments (1)

Li Read
Sea to Sky Premier Properties (Salt Spring) - Salt Spring Island, BC
Caring expertise...knowledge for you! more example as to why that building inspection needs to be very severe, indeed!

Jan 12, 2012 05:10 AM