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Securing Vents Against Wildlife Entry

Prevention and Control of Wildlife Damage 1994

"...because an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

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Disclaimer 

Prevention is an imperfect discipline. Animals adapt to our methods and materials and workmanship break and decay over time.  Monitoring and maintenance are necessary in any prevention program. Acting quickly before a problem gets out of hand will save you a lot of trouble down the road.

If you are looking to mitigate a problem that is already occurring please visit the solutions links in the menu bar. If you aren't sure what the cause of the problem is then visit the animal damage identification section. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER secure a vent or hole unless you are absolutely sure the hole or vent is no longer being used.

Roof Vents

You may appreciate these openings in your roof to vent the humidity and hot air that can build up there. But in case you didn't know the wildlife appreciate these openings too. It is not uncommon for raccoons, squirrels, gray squirrels and others to rip away the mosquito netting and enter your home.

Why not prevent the problem before it occurs?

Prevent animal access to your roof and attic before you have a problem. We have screens both in Galvanized welded wire and Stainless Steel. (Not to be used on Chimneys, For chimney caps click Chimney Caps

Galvanized Screens Stainless Steel Screens
stainless steel flat vent screen over roof vent. Photo by Stephen Vantassel

Tips

  1. Choose screens that have no greater than 1/2-inch weave.
  2. Stainless steel screens are more expensive but last longer.
  3. Screens come in various sizes to fit over a wide variety of vents, including mushroom vents and flat vents.
  4. Screens will present some resistence to air flow. If air flow is a concern, install a screen significantly larger than needed to secure the vent.

Stainless Steel Screen: Manufactured Stainless Steel Screens

Easy installation (read everything before installing)

1. Mmake sure that your mosquito netting is still secure (which will prove that you don't have any animals using the vent access at that time). Warning failure to make sure that your attic is animal free before securing the vent access can result in some tremendous damage to your home.

Stop: WarningIf there is a hole in the screen and you are unsure if the hole is still being used then visit Paper Hole Test and follow the instructions found there. NEVER secure a hole unless you are swear-to-god certain that it is not being used by an animal or bee hive.

2. Measure the vent size to make sure you purchase the right one. Measure length, width and height. For those of you in snowy climates, you should ask a roofer about the potential that the screens will dam snow and ice. A snow break may need to be added to prevent the screen from being toppled by the ice/snow movement.

3. Make sure the purchased vent cover fits properly before securing it to the roof. Make sure your screws or nails are long enough to reach the roof's plywood underneath the shingles. These instructions are for asphalt shingles only. We strongly recommend that you consult with a roofer before installation. But this is how industry professionals presently install them. Use roofing cement or exterior silicon and place a nickel size bead at the point where you plan to place the screw. Do the same for the other spots. You want to use at least four screws. Washers may also be necessary to properly grab the screen. Install the screw through the bead of roofing cement etc. Once secure, cover the screw with another bead of roofing cement etc. Do the same with the other screws.

4. Check your attic every few months to make sure that you don't see any water problems. Again we recommend that you consult with a roofer before installing the device. This information is for personal information only and is not warrantied in any way.

Question of Wooden Shingled Roofs

We received one e-mail which asked: "Can roof vent screen to be used on wood shingle roof? "

We didn't know the answer to this excellent question but here are some answers we did get:

  • "I think I would avoid nails or screws and try construction adhesive made for metal/wood bonding made by liquid nail trade name."
  • "I recommend using 1/2-inch staple gun staples being careful not to split the shingle. Use clear silicone or liquid nail clear to weatherproof the staples and provide an additional bond. I do, however, prefer to repair and screen these vents from the inside.

Now we are NOT sure if either of these answers are correct. We would still strongly suggest consulting with a roofer. If anyone has an answer to this question, we would love to hear it. Just drop us an e-mail.

Gable Vents

Gable vents should be screened before you have a problem. Ideally, the screen should be placed on the outside of the vent to protect the slats and mosquito netting. (If you place the screen behind the mosquito netting, the animal can destroy your slats and the mosquito netting leaving you with a damaged home and allow insects to enter your attic).

1/4-inch wire hardware cloth is suggested as this will prevent bat entry as well.
Vinyl vent. Photo by Stephen Vantasselscreened vinyl vent. Photo by Stephen Vantassel Screening Tips
  1. Use 1/4'' hardware cloth. This will exclude bats too.
  2. Paint screen before installation to help it blend into your building.
  3. Fasten it securely.

For Diagonal Gable Vents

  1. Cut a square piece that is at least two inches longer and wider than the vent you wish to cover.
  2. Place the screen over the base of the triangle-secure with staples (BE CAREFUL ON THE LADDER!!!!)
  3. Use a black marker to draw the sides leaving at least a one inch extra.
  4. Remove screen and cut.
  5. Paint screen if you wish to help it blend in with your building.
  6. Attach screen securely.

Exhaust Vents

Vinyl screens for exhaust vents. Photo by Stephen VantasselWarning: These screens are NOT to be used on chimneys.

Warning: Screening some vents like bathroom, kitchen, dryer and other exhaust vents may be illegal in your state. We have learned that Ohio doesn't allow the screening of bathroom vents with anything but a flap valve. Make sure you check relevant codes before screening.

Keep birds out of your dryer vents and other exhaust vents with this easy to install product. Made of durable plastic, comes in white only. Don't use hardware cloth to screen dryer vents as the lint build up will reduce exhaust flow and possibly cause a fire. 

People have used these on dryer vents, however, be sure to check local regulations as dryer vent fires are a common cause of home fires.

 

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