Decks and Porches

The gap under your shed, deck, and porch is highly attractive to animals seeking a dry, dark place to take up residence. Wildlife that have been known to live under sheds, decks, and porches include:

  • chipmunks
  • feral cats
  • opossums
  • otters
  • raccoons
  • rats (various species)
  • skunks
  • woodchucks

Strategies to prevent animal entry

Step 1: Make sure nothing is living under your deck, porch or shed. Never secure an opening until you are certain that animals are no longer it.

Step 2: If the deck, shed, or porch is not being used by wildlife, you can prevent them from starting by using one of the following methods.

Trench Screening

  • Contact your local Dig Safe, Digger’s Hotline, etc. company before you start digging.
  • Use quality 1/4- or 1/2- inch hardware cloth. Galvanized is best. Paint the mesh if you are concerned about the appearance or else cover with lattice after installation.
  • Use a large enough piece to extend from the shed/porch/deck wall to 3 to 4 inches below the ground and then out in a perpendicular fashion at least 12 inches from the vertical line. See diagram.
1/2 inch wire mesh secured to the base of a shed and buried several inches under ground with a 90 degree angle to prevent animals from accessing under the shed.  Screws with fender washers are used to secure the mesh to the structure.
1/2 inch wire mesh secured to the base of a shed and buried several inches under ground with a 90 degree angle to prevent animals from accessing under the shed. Screws with fender washers are used to secure the mesh to the structure.
Diagram showing installation of mesh apron to prevent animals from entering under porch, deck, or shed.
Diagram showing installation of mesh apron to prevent animals from entering under porch, deck, or shed.

Patio blocks may prevent an animal from digging around the foundation of a building.
Patio blocks may prevent an animal from digging around the foundation of a building.

Patio Blocks (No-dig method)

  • Use 1/4- or 1/2-inch hardware cloth to fill any gap between the shed/porch/deck wall and the ground. Add 2″ to this measurement.
  • Before installing the mesh, be sure the ground slopes slightly away from the structure so that water flows away from the structure.
  • Obtain patio blocks sized 8″ x 16″ x 1″.
  • Install the mesh and lay the patio blocks with the narrow end against the vertical and horizontal portion of the mesh. Check again that you have a downward slope away from the structure.
  • Caution: this method may severely restrict airflow under your deck, porch, or shed, which may cause moisture problems. Consult a contractor prior to using the patio block method.

Open Method

  • Wildlife tend to not live under decks, sheds, and porches when crawl space areas are open and let in a lot of light. If your deck, shed, or porch is high enough off the ground, you may be able to discourage animals from living there by simply removing any walls, lattice, or shrubs that make the crawl space area feel cozy.