How to inspect a house for rat entry holes
In order to have a home that is free of rats, you need to ensure you have a home that is free of rat holes.
Believe it or not, it takes just a small hole about 1/8 inch in diameter for a rat to break in, and if the
hole itself is much smaller than that, they will use their curved, constantly-growing front teeth to gnaw its
way in. If the rat can’t do it alone, it’ll call in fellow-rat reinforcements.
In order to make your home as rat-proof as possible, you will first need to perform an inspection. When we do this,
we use a 32-point checklist to ensure we have covered ALL spaces in your home, inside and out, noting any patches of
damage or small holes that the rats could potentially use. It’s a good excuse to finally give your home that good going-
over it so desperately needs. You should also be aware that homeowners insurance will generally not cover you for the damage
caused by a rat infestation because it is YOUR responsibility to keep them out. Just a little something that should encourage
you to give your home a good inspection ... and not just for rats.
Work in a systematic manner. Go from top to bottom, or bottom to top, but whatever you do and however you choose to do it, make
sure that you don’t forget any bits. You will need to pay particular attention to pick up on the warning signs on the outside of
your home, especially if you are looking for tiny rat holes.
You will need a few things to hand to get started with:
• Handheld mirror
• Ladder (& secondary person for safety)
• Pen & paper
• Measuring tape
• Cleanup equipment - broom, dustpan and brush, etc.
• Flour (that you will be throwing on the floor)
Your cell phone might actually come in handy for things such as the flashlight, and also for taking photos of patches of damage to ensure you
don’t forget later on. The mirror can be used to look around and behind things that might otherwise be difficult to look behind, and the
screwdrivers are for removing things such as vent and base plates. Remember, this is going to be a seriously thorough home inspection, going
right into the areas of your home that you won’t have checked out in a while.
The worst affected areas, and therefore areas you will want to particular attention to, include:
• Spaces around utility pipes
• Electric / gas meters, and around pipes
• Water pipes in and out of your home
• Entry point for communication cables
• Heating / air conditioning unit, particularly ducts and vents
• Wall and roof edges / joins
• Underneath doors
• Damaged or non-existent drain covers
• Cracks in bricks or concrete
• Tumble dryer exhaust vents
• Chimneys - where they meet the rest of the house / roof, and also at the top
For the most part, if you use the right materials and methods, fixing these holes won’t actually be overly difficult. Strong metal flashing can be
used for when the wall and roof edges are not straight / flush, and you can also use similar metal flashing for the bottoms of doors that are just a
tad too short for the doorframe. A young rat can easily slip through beneath this.
You can even use expanding foam, despite it not being resistant to the rat's sharp teeth, and this is when you use it in conjunction with something
such as copper mesh, or steel wire-wool. Stuff the holes with plenty of the metal-based material, and then fill the rest of the gaps that he rats can’t
squeeze through with the expanding foam to keep everything in place. Yes, the rats can still gnaw and chew through the expanding foam, but they will hit
a serious roadblock when they get to the wire wool / steel mesh wire.
For more rat information, visit our rat removal tips page, or for more specific how-to instructions, read the how to get rid of rats page with 6 step-by-step instructions.
If you have a problem with rats above your ceiling in your house, read my rats in the attic guide. The most important part of rat control is sealing shut entry holes into the building, but after
you've done that, you'll want to know how to kill rats humanely to complete the rat control job. If you need to hire professional help in your city, click on my directory of over
200 rat removal companies servicing 95% of the USA. we can help your with your rat problem!
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