Today we’re sharing a blog post from our colleague Anita McCabe, who recently moved away from a house that had been pretty sad when she moved in. We hope you enjoy seeing the humor in a housing challenge!


Today’s post is about an adorable animal, granted, but one that poses a real danger to your house. That animal is the squirrel.

rocky
Rocket J. Squirrel. Only cute in cartoons.

I know, you’re probably asking yourself, what could a cute little furball like Rocky the Flying Squirrel do to my house? Plenty, and none of it is good. Especially at this time of year, because squirrel moms are about to give birth—to anywhere from 2 to 15 babies, depending on the breed—and are looking for somewhere to do it. That somewhere might be your attic, crawlspace, or garage.

Obviously, squirrels don’t knock on your front door, like Mary and Joseph at the inn, asking for a room in which to give birth to Jesus. They’re not that polite. They gnaw holes through eaves, fascia boards, cornices, trim, really anything that isn’t metal. Squirrels do this primarily to trim their teeth, which continue growing throughout their lives, to the proper length. Once they’ve created a hole and find a warm enclosure away from weather on the other side, they are there to stay (until you forcibly evict them).

And squirrels aren’t solitary loners. Pretty soon, all the relatives and friends are horning in on the new digs, jumping from trees planted close to the house and overhead wires onto the roof, which they use as the gateway to loose or rotted wood, gaps between the roof and fascia, siding that has sagged or pulled away from the house—any opening they can find to get to that thing to gnaw on to keep their teeth in tiptop shape. And to sleep in at night and raise their families—which, by the way, happens twice a year. Do the math: 2 x (let’s say) 9 = 18 babies, that grow up to be teeth-sharpening adults living in your house.

rock house
Below the “glowing” chimney at right, the squirrel portals. Only a few of the several holes through which the squirrels entered my house.

Inside the house, inside your attic, inside your ceiling, inside your walls, squirrels will gnaw, as I mentioned above, anything that isn’t metal. In my 215-year-old stone rowhouse in Baltimore, they ate their way through the fascia board between my house and my neighbor’s (rowhouses are joined together, but there may be differences in building heights, which was the case here) as well as the corners of my roofline (see photo), entered the attic crawlspace, feasted on the insulation and joists in my dormer, moved down into the ceiling between the third and second floors, and snacked through the insulation surrounding the electrical supply to my bathroom and hall light (see photo). I had no idea that they had done it, until the hall light suddenly stopped working. Of course, they didn’t just gnaw; they also urinated and defecated in the crawlspaces. Don’t be sad (no, really, don’t), but a couple of the squirrels died there, too.

stone house
A closer look at the hole in the cornice. 25 feet above the ground. Working on the extension ladder was intimidating, to say the least.

It cost nearly $6000, including my own sweat equity (yes, I balanced on a 32-ft extension ladder to patch the holes in the front cornice), to professionally remove the squirrels, permanently block their means of access to the house, repair the damage they did in and on my house, and repaint.

Look below at the picture of the house with the brick façade. See the holes? Those are the portals to squirrel nirvana. That damage has been there for a while, and the cost to fix it is only going to go up the longer it isn’t attended to.

Maybe you have some of these holes, and maybe some other house problems you can no longer deal with, for whatever reason. If you do, please give us a call at 512-807-8777—we can help!!

Former wires making the hallway light come on.
squirrel damage
Austin-area house with squirrel damage.