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Barrel tile roofs might look great, but they sure do come with their fair share of cons. Each and every one of the tiles that is meant to be protecting your home is potentially acting as a doorway for the average wild critter. Rats, bats, mice, squirrels, and more have all used spaces beneath barrel tiles on a roof to gain access to the attic. Once the smaller patches of damage are there, it’s only a matter of time before bigger animals join the party. As you can imagine, the bigger the animal, the more damage it will leave you to sort out. At the same time, a pair of breeding rats can very easily create a colony over 15,000 strong in the space of just one year. The more animals there are invading your home, the more damage you can expect to find, once again.
The ONLY way to ensure that all animals are removed from barrel tile and are unable to get back in again is to ensure that every single space has been sealed. Yes, this really does mean checking underneath every single tile that sits on your roof, making sure that each space is sealed, and any signs of wild animals are investigated and patches of damage are repaired.
It takes just the smallest scratch or nibble on the tar paper that sits beneath the barrel tiles and they’re in. If you head up into your attic and look out, you will more than likely be able to see daylight from the inside. Every patch of daylight represents a brand new hole that you will need to repair/seal. It's only when you take a closer look that you realize the extent of the problem.
Of course, if you just seal up the spaces below the barrel tiles, you won't have solved the problem. you'll need to actually remove the animals, otherwise you're just sealing them in. All that'll happen when you do that is more damage caused by the critters chewing, digging, and scratching around new areas in a bid to get out. Alternatively, the animal will die in your home and then YOU’LL need to dig and scratch around to try and find the damn thing. It won't be long before the stench of a decomposing body wafts through your home, even on the coldest of days. As you can imagine, when the sun comes up and the heat of a summer's day warms everything up, the smell will be unbearable.
The kind of removal mission you take part in will depend on the animal. Well-placed rat and mouse traps will quite easily resolve a rodent infestation as long you put plenty of them down in the right places and then check them regularly. You can't use rat or mouse traps for other animals, however. With bats, a one-way exclusion door is the best method of nuisance wildlife control. You are kicking the animals out using the one-way door, but once they're out, they must stay out. They can't get back in again UNLESS they find another hole in which they can penetrate. If you have sealed everything up, they’ll haven more holes to exploit and will, therefore, fly off and find somewhere else to roost.
You can use one-way exclusion devices to get rid of other animals too, such as squirrels. You will need to ensure the device you're using suits the size of the animal, of course. If you use a funnel as a one-way device and then build it too wide, the squirrel will have no problems getting back in. At the same time, if the funnel you create is too tight, you run the risk of injuring and killing the animal, or preventing it from getting out in the first place.
It is only once you can be sure that all nuisance wildlife has been removed from your attic and home that you then go ahead to seal up the remaining holes under your barrel tiles. There are so many things to take into consideration here too, and some issues will only be resolved by quite serious (and expensive) roof repairs and work. At the valleys of where your roof tiles meet, for example, you must seal them up whilst still taking into account the draining water situation. Can the water still drain away? Where will it drain away too? Will this cause flooding or dripping around windows or other places?
For holes that are front-facing, thin mesh wire can be affixed to keep all pests at bay. These must be monitored though, of course, as it won’t take much for a passing, determined animal to tear them off. This is even more so the case if they have not been attached effectively. Steel hex wire is one of the best materials to use in really small and awkward spots, and you may consider using some insulating foam (or similar) to help keep everything in place. You shouldn’t rely on filler materials or other softer materials alone, however. Rats can chew through almost everything. You must ensure that you have a heavy-duty, hard metal layer in there somewhere to stop the most persistent of chewers from being able to get through.
If you have a barrel tile roof and you have noticed signs of a nuisance wildlife problem, seek expert advice. This is not the kind of job you will want to get wrong. You need to remember that large colonies of nuisance wildlife will chew through wood and other materials in almost no time at all. This could seriously damage the structure of your home and roof. In turn, this could very dangerous for your entire household.
Go back to the Bat Removal page, or learn about bats in the attic with my Bats in the Attic guide.