Using Metal Mesh to Keep Pests out of Your Attic

Attic space
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  • 01 of 04

    Ventilation Holes in Eaves are the Entry Points

    Unprotected Ventilation Holes in Eaves
    Unprotected Ventilation Holes in Eaves. © Lee Wallender; Licensed to

    It is said that small rodents, including mice and rats, can fit through a hole the size of a nickel. Obviously, they'll be able to fit through unprotected ventilation holes in your eaves. Many homeowners are not even aware that such holes exist. These holes are essential for attic ventilation, so you can't just slap wood over the top of them. In fact, even wood may not repel rats, mice, and birds--many of which can easily chew through wood. The answer is to cover the holes with flexible...MORE metal mesh called hardware cloth. This will keep out pests without restricting airflow through the vent holes. 

    Supplies Needed

    Buy Direct - Ace Hardware Cloth, 1/8" x 1/8" weave

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  • 02 of 04

    How to Cover Attic Ventilation Holes: Step 1

    Closeup of Hardware Cloth
    Closeup of Hardware Cloth. © Lee Wallender; Licensed to

    Set up an extension ladder to reach the ventilation holes along the eaves. Inspect the holes with a flashlight to make sure they are clear of nest material or other obstructions. If necessary, clean out the holes to ensure proper airflow. 

    Measure the area to determine how much hardware cloth you'll need. The cloth should extend at least 1" beyond the holes. 

    Purchase galvanized hardware cloth with a grid (mesh) size of 1/8" or 1/4". Hardware cloth also comes in 1/2" mesh, but...MORE that is too large for barring rodents. Do not purchase chicken wire (sometimes called poultry netting), which has thin wire and large openings. 

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  • 03 of 04

    How to Cover Attic Ventilation Holes: Step 2

    Cut the hardware cloth to size, using aviation snips or standard tin snips. Whenever possible, cut closely along the side of a wire to prevent having edges with sharp protruding ends. Wear gloves to protect your hands from the sharp metal.

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  • 04 of 04

    How to Cover Attic Ventilation Holes: Step 3

    Install Hardware Cloth on Ventilation Holes
    Install Hardware Cloth on Ventilation Holes. © Lee Wallender; Licensed to

    Place the cut piece of hardware cloth over the ventilation holes and secure it with roofing nails. Drive a nail every 2" to 3" along the edges, ensuring the cloth lies flat to the wood surface.