How to keep animals out of your deck

Think you have an animal living under your deck? You’re not the only one. This is a common place for wild animals to seek shelter or build a nest. In order to keep animals out of your deck, follow our guidelines below.

The Prep Work

Before you do any work closing off points of entry, make sure there aren’t any animals currently living under your deck or you might lock them in! Check for animal tracks or signs of digging, burrowing, or gnawing around your porch.

If you do indeed have some wildlife nesting, do not attempt to harm them or capture them yourself. Although animals like raccoons, skunks, and opossums are not inherently aggressive, they are unpredictable if provoked or if their young are threatened. If you can spot a litter of babies under your deck, definitely call a professional. Separating young animals from their mother can cause them to starve, so it’s best to have an animal removal specialist tackle this case so they can be safely relocated.

Encourage Animals to Vacate

There are a few ways you can attempt to “naturally” evict these wild animals. The key is to remember why they like making a home under your deck in the first place – it’s dark and quiet. To counteract this, install floodlights that shine under your porch and/or place a radio nearby that will play talk radio 24/7. Likewise, remove any human or pet food being kept outside; these scents lure them back to your home. When their sanctuary is no longer desirable, many animals will leave.
The trick is to make sure they are truly gone and then seal up entry points so they can’t return. You can try sprinkling some flour around the perimeter and then checking for tracks. If the opening is small, stuff it with newspaper. If the paper has been chewed or pushed out the next day or two, you know your guests are back. In winter this is more difficult since animals may be hibernating. If you want to be absolutely sure, you can hire an animal removal expert to inspect the area.

Sealing Entry Points Under the Deck

The best solution for keeping animals from nesting under your deck is to install a physical barrier like screening or lattice. With both methods, it’s important to entrench them deeply into the ground so that animals cannot dig underneath them.

  • If using wire mesh or hardware cloth, dig a trench around 8 to 12 inches deep near the opening. Install the material into the ground and bend the material in a 90 degree “L” shape at the bottom, with the bent end pointing outward. This prevents animals from digging underneath it. Secure the top to the outside of the structure with nails or garden staples, at least a few inches high to create a strong seal.
  • With lattice, you may have to dig a bit deeper. Bury the bottom edge about 1 or 2 feet into the ground. Make sure the soil is packed well around it so it’s secure.
  • If you’d rather not dig, you can try weighing down some hardware cloth with patio blocks, using the same ‘L” shaped bend. Just be aware that if the opening is narrow enough that the patio blocks obstruct air flow, it could trap moisture under the deck.

When In Doubt….

Remember, if you’re feeling unsure about what’s living under your porch, it’s wise to call an animal removal specialist. These people are experts and can ensure that you’ll keep animals out of your deck effectively and humanely. If you need animal removal services in Austin, call Critter Ridder! We know all about what makes these animals tick and we offer deck exclusion services designed for this exact scenario.