Can Rodents Get Past Your Gutter Guards?

By Amy DeYoung

Gutter guards are caps that screw or snap on the top of your house’s gutters to prevent debris from clogging them up. While they help prevent leaves and debris from filling your gutters, they also have a variety of pest control uses. So, yes, gutter guards can help prevent rodents and pests from entering your gutters. However, gutter guards are not a cure-all for rodent prevention or even a faultless option for gutter protection.

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How Do Gutter Guards Protect Against Rodents?

Gutter guard systems are usually made of gutter mesh and PVC, vinyl, stainless steel, copper, or aluminum. They’re snapped or screwed on the top of your gutters. When installed, gutter guard mesh blocks birds, debris, leaves, and pests from entering your home through the roof. However, this method is not foolproof because there are still several ways around the gutter screens.

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While the mesh is usually strong enough that a bird or rodent cannot tear through it, there are still ways that rodents can enter your home via the roof. Gutter covers have holes in the elbows and downspouts of the gutters to allow water to exit. Rodents and other pests can use these narrow entrances to climb into the gutter and access your attic and walls. Gutters are typically under the ventilation area of the eaves, which gives rodents a way to climb up and under the edge of your roofline into the attic or walls of your home if they find a way around the mesh.

In short, gutter guard protection against rodents limits the number of access points since most parts of the gutters are protected by mesh. However, persistent pests can still find their way into your home via the gutters if they climb through the downspout or elbow, where the mesh is not installed.

Additional Rodent Control

As a result, we recommend using multiple pest prevention tactics to prevent rodents and pests from entering your home through the gutters.

For example, we recommend scheduling regular rodent control and pest control consultations to check your home for new entry points periodically. Rodenticides, pesticides, and rodent traps may be applied or installed to deter rodents from breaking into your home. You’ll also want to clean your rooftop regularly so nesting materials aren’t readily available and trim back surrounding foliage which can serve as a bridge from trees to your home.

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Gutter Guard Problems

Gutter guards are not without their faults. In addition to not being impeccable pest control devices, gutter guards can put your rain gutters at risk during freezing temperatures. If ice begins to build during the winter, gutter guards may delay ice melting, resulting in extra weight on your gutters. If the weight builds enough, your gutter or gutter attachments could snap. Shingles may also snap off, leading to roof leaks and water damage in your home.

Gutter guards are not 100% effective at keeping small debris, like pine needles or seeds, from slipping into your gutters. As a result, you’ll still need to clean your gutters and rooftop. If you don’t keep up with the gutter cleaning, your leaf guards could become a liability and result in rooftop damage.

Closing Thoughts

If a pest control company’s only solution to rodent infestations is to install gutter guards, we recommend looking elsewhere for pest control services. A preventative approach to pest control should tackle the rodent problem from several angles, such as using aluminum gutter guards to exclude vermin from access points and minimize nesting, combined with trapping, rodenticide, or other pest management tactics. Relying on only one solution for your rodent control is doomed to fail because most rodents are persistent about coming inside, especially during uncomfortable weather conditions that limit their food options.

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