It's a roof, not a raccoon pantry -- help!
November 5, 2011 2:51 PM   Subscribe

Professionals have failed! Help me raccoon-proof my rubber roof.

I have a funky "inside corner" that is covered with rubber roofing material where a low rubber roof meets a wall going up. Raccoons like to dig through the rubber roof to the little cavity behind and hide treasures inside. Twice now, roofers have come, cleaned it out, and patched it, but the raccoons are persistent. (They also like ripping off my shingles, as you can see.)

At this point I'm open to anything -- electrified spikes, 6 layers of alternating chicken wire and rubber, whatever. Is there a "usual" solution to this? Documents like the "Rodent Exclusion Manual" from the US National Park Service are coming up empty.
posted by range to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
Hire another roofer, one who suggests using metal (flashing, or stronger) without you having to ask about it.
posted by rhizome at 3:00 PM on November 5, 2011

Yeah, metal flashing—possibly something moldable, like lead—should keep them from digging there. But if they are anything like the squirrels I've dealt with, they might try to bypass the flashing and damage the surrounding area before giving up.
posted by Knappster at 3:09 PM on November 5, 2011

Concrete plus fibre thin shell roofing
posted by hortense at 4:04 PM on November 5, 2011

The solution for me was raccoon traps and a friend who worked in raccoon rescue. I am not joking.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 4:20 PM on November 5, 2011

If you're willing to kill them, a live trap and a water barrel will do the job.
posted by Bruce H. at 6:20 PM on November 5, 2011

Raccoons have nothing better to do than whatever it is that they want to do. I once had a multi-year battle with entire families of the beasts.

They have an access route to your roof. Find it, shield it with metal, and spray the metal periodically with Pam or some other non-toxic lube. They WILL give up, but they have good spatial sense. You have to be more persistent than they are.

I had them come in through cat doors on a very elevated deck. The deck posts, incidentally, were already covered with sheet metal which I lubricated, so they just went to a nearby tree and dropped onto the deck. I NAILED plywood over the doors. They yanked it off. I hinged the plywood, and used a carabiner to secure a flap lock, and that worked for a while. (They were coming inside my house to eat cat food.) They then moved to a lower floor, came in though closed cat doors (the kind with slide-in interior closure) and walked up the inside stairway to my kitchen. I had to put pins in place to keep things closed.

Again, they have nothing better to do. They'll worry something until it yields or the sun comes up.

I should also mention, they carry a nasty parasite that will kill you, plus they do get rabies. They have bad breath. They will let you pet them. I used to stand next to a cage I made to trap them holding a string securing the door and when they walked into the cage, I'd let the door loose. Damnedest thing you ever saw. Dumb, but persistent.

Here is my late wife encouraging their bad habits. ( My years as a hillbilly had many adventures. ) Do not do this. She did not die from raccoon bites, but she might have if she kept this up.

I should also mention that shooting them in the face will only stop their raids for a while, and only from that one victim. The survivors will plot and achieve revenge. Do not be tempted to blast away this problem, as it is ineffective and will result in roof damage and many new friends at the local precinct house.
posted by FauxScot at 6:21 PM on November 5, 2011

You might try spraying the area with Tabasco Sauce or Texas Pete's. You will have to do it about every other day for several weeks or until they figure out that they just don't want to find out that it doesn't get better. Saturate the areas where they like to chew. It works with several critters back here in Tennessee and it might work for you.
posted by Old Geezer at 6:50 PM on November 5, 2011

Despite what FauxScot claims, I've found killing the entire brood with traps works pretty good. It takes time, and you'll have multiple coon bodies to dispose of (trash bag, dumpster, repeat), but none of the ones I've seen killed with a trap have ever returned to cause problems.

As I noted, you'll need to kill all of them. However, there aren't a limitless supply in your neighborhood - there's probably one family.
posted by IAmBroom at 12:52 AM on November 6, 2011

The above plus - Have-a-Hart traps, peanut butter bait, and take them 10 miles away.
posted by theora55 at 12:03 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

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