Rat-Proof Roof


It’s quite the tongue-twister title, but having a rat-proof roof is absolutely essential for having a rat-proof home. Rats are keen climbers, jump pretty well, and will most definitely use tree branches and twigs to climb higher and gain access if they think they have a good enough reason to.

For your information, a good enough reason would be one of the following:

There is a gap, crevice, hole, or space that is about 3/8 of an inch wide that allows entry.

There is damage in the areas that the rat can chew* to make big enough to squeeze through.

There is a cozy place* to nest up inside the building.

There is a source of food or fresh water hidden inside.

The rat can sense a flow of air. It will investigate.

The rat just feels like taking a closer look to see what’s going on.

*Materials that rats can chew through include: plastic, vinyl, some soft metals, drywall, concrete, house bricks (with enough time), wood, ceramics, and more.

*Cozy means sheltered from predators, dry from rain, warm from cold temperatures, protected from wind, and not too far away from a source of food and fresh water.

Rats are naturally inquisitive animals and it generally works in their favor. They’ll find food along the way, earning them the ‘scavenger’ title, and set up homes as they go. Working all together in a large group, rats are incredibly social creatures and do not handle the situation well when they are removed from a familiar group, especially if they are solitary after that.

Rats will go climbing trees to hop onto attics just to have a look around. They’ll be looking for shelter, food or water, mostly, but they will have a look just because they can. And they probably can, too. As we’ve already mentioned, they can fit through the smallest of gaps with ease and what they can’t fit through, they’ll chew until they can fit through.

5 Steps to a Rat-Proof Roof

There are five steps that you MUST take when attempting to rat-proof your roof, and these take all of the above reasons and concerns into consideration.

Read On

1 — Have traps in the attic, even when you don’t have rodents.

If no one ever goes up in the attic, and no other animals (such as, pets) can’t get access, we definitely recommend having traps in the attic for rats, even when you don’t think you have a rat problem. There are pros and cons alike, of course; the latter including needing to check them every now and again, and occasionally forgetting that they are up there at all, potentially leaving dead rodents in traps to attract insects and other pests.

The traps shouldn’t have any bait in them. You could also consider not ‘setting’ the traps too. This sounds like an absolutely pointless exercise, but having “trap-shy” rats is not fun. They have either already been trapped themselves, or have witnessed another rat being trapped, and will avoid the contraptions entirely. By having unset/unbaited/both rat traps, they are completely at ease with the traps you’ll be using when you finally discover them.

2 — Inspect your home regularly.

There are certain times of the year during which your home is probably going to be targeted by wild critters, including rats, over others. Spring is a really busy time for the entire world, with new plants growing, animals mating, babies being born, etc. Rats don’t keep to breeding seasons, but instead breed all year long.

Winter is another time of year in which animals will flock to your humble abode. There is no food on the outside — plants have died, various animals will have migrated or hibernated, there are no insects … Food is scarce. That’s why wild critters then encroach on humane territories, looking for food and shelter from sometimes freezing and very difficult conditions. If they did not do this, they would die.

Inspect your home twice a year. Hire someone to do it for you if you’d rather not do it yourself. Inspect both the inside and the outside of the building, giving the entire structure a good once-over, not just focusing on those area that one website told you to focus on. Rats, although occasionally predictable in terms of nesting spots, are entirely unpredictable creatures. You’re going to find them in the strangest of place around your home. Perhaps even places that you didn’t even knew existed before.

3 — Remove food sources.

Sadly, this is one part of the rat-proof roof journey that requires you to venture slightly further afield. You will want to remove ALL food sources on your property. All the while you have food that rats can access, they’ll access it. They’ll just keep breaking in. If you remove those food sources or make them harder to reach, there’s a chance that the rats will move on. They won’t have a choice if you use trapping or exclusion methods to hurry the job along. (We recommend conventional rat traps in case you were wondering.)

Food sources are in the most obvious (and overlooked) areas, such as:

  • BBQ’s that have not been cleaned after that great garden party you had
  • Cat and dog bowls filled with food left on the ground or porch outside
  • Chicken feed left out or not swept up when the chickens are returned to their safe coops
  • Garbage bags left out of dumpsters or cans
  • Fruit and vegetable patches or plants/trees
  • Bird feeders, especially the seeds and nuts that fall to the ground
  • Insects that hang around your compost heap, plus everything you throw in the heap

In fact, when it comes to rats, everything is a source of food. That’s why they are called scavengers. The removal of every single food source is paramount to keeping not just rats out, but other pests too.

4 — Make sure that all biological material has been removed.

This can actually be the hardest part of the journey because much of the biological (and hazardous) material that rats leave behind can’t be seen by the naked eye. Urine and feces are a biological hazard that you CAN see and, therefore, remove, but you must. Make sure that you are scrubbing the entire area that rats have been present, with strong, biological cleaners that are designed to break down the enzymes.

Urine contains communication pheromones which WILL attract other rats if not cleared away.

Decaying rat carcasses will encourage infestations of flies, other insects, and maggots, and can also attract natural rat predators and scavengers.

All biological material left by rats has the potential to spread disease, and there are a number of them that you will need to worry about — leptospirosis, salmonellosis, Tularemia, rabies (rare), bubonic plague (rare but still quite prominent in underdeveloped countries), and others.

5 — Seal the roof to prevent invaders.

Even if the rats manage to get onto the roof, you can make damn sure they aren’t able to get inside your home. This will involve a sealing process that needs to be meticulous, each and every hole stuffed or filled with a hardy material that rats can’t chomp through. Cracks will need to be filled. Broken tiles will need to be replaced, and roof vinyl/material might need to be replaced too.

The aim of the game is to stop the rats being able to get inside your building at all, and if you make sure that every hole has been sealed with a material that is durable able to withstand rodent attacks, they’ll soon give up and prey on a home that has a much weaker defense system.

In turn, that homeowner will learn that they need to rat-proof their roof, too, and if enough homeowners take part in this process, entire neighborhoods could be safe from rats.