Pest proof filler for crawlspaces?
April 1, 2024 7:33 AM   Subscribe

I have looked and looked and cannot find a solution to our problem. We have a foundation with a footprint that is smaller than the house on two sides (cantilevered). The landscaping around the house comes up higher than the cantilevered sections, leaving trapped crawlspaces under each. Because of this, we get pest problems from time to time. Is there a service that will blow pest-proof filler into these areas?

I have installed 1/4" hardware cloth around the outside of the house, which has mostly handled the mouse situation, but insects still find their way into the basement. Also, there are enough mice caught in traps to make me think there are still ingress points. The way the landscaping has been done around the house makes it nearly impossible to get into the crawlspaces to deal with it directly (and there isn't much vertical room in there to move around). The best solution, if it exists, would be to dig open up an access hole and completely fill the space with some kind of foam or other pest-proof barrier.

Does such a thing exist? Thanks!
posted by Don_K to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Maybe you should just remove the plants there and replace them with gravel that extends out a little beyond the cantilevered house. I know I've read that plantings right up against the house are an invitation to various problems including termites, but I'm no expert.
posted by mareli at 8:58 AM on April 1

Get recommendations for a trusted pest control company in your area and request they do an assessment. Then you'll better understand what you are facing. Sometimes it's worth getting experts to do the big or difficult jobs, then you can maintain it on your own afterwards.
posted by mightshould at 10:39 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: There are no plants near the house. It is a fringe of 2"-sized rock.

A trusted pest control company was the one who recommended the hardware cloth surround. I doubt I could find one willing to dig under the cantilevers and crawl in to look for ingress points. A scorched-Earth method would be to hire a skid-steer operator to dig out those areas, but we would lose our landscaping, and the accessibility isn't great. We live in the Rocky Mountain foothills, so digging in general is quite difficult, even with machinery. That's why I'm asking about a method that wouldn't require actually getting into the crawlspaces.
posted by Don_K at 10:52 AM on April 1

Are you calling the areas under the cantilevered structure crawlspaces or the area under the home and enclosed by the footing the crawlspace? Do you not have access to the under-the-house crawl? Pest companies absolutely will send people into a crawl space to place traps and review the space. But you cannot fill the under floor crawl with any type of material that will prevent creature ingress.
posted by amanda at 10:58 AM on April 1

Response by poster: The area under the cantilevered sections of the house are the crawlspaces. The main part under most of the house is a basement. The crawlspaces are filled with dirt nearly to the underside of the house and would not be easy to get into without major work digging the crawlspace floor dirt down far enough to wriggle in. I was hoping there would be some sort of blown in insulation (like they use in attics) containing bits of steel wool or other pest-repellant (this sort of thing), but suitable for crawlspaces. Everything I find like this is not intended to be used in a potentially damp environment, so attics and walls only. I have the feeling that I am out of luck!
posted by Don_K at 12:37 PM on April 1

Best answer: I think you need a landscaper to pull that dirt out. There should be a minimum of 6" between the ground and the underside of the cantilevered sections of house. Ideally more than that. You are right that it could be an area where pests are getting in because the dirt allows them closer access to the underside of the cantilevered portion and the rim joist of the house. If that cantilevered portion is sided in plywood, it may have been eaten away both by weather and bugs and/or chewing animals like mice/rats - you could look to screw on something underneath that is a little more impervious to critters - maybe Hardi has something? A landscaper will know how to be careful of your existing plantings and move dirt away. You can put down heavy duty landscape fabric over material meant to deter burrowing animals like moles and voles. Again, a landscaper could help with this probably. Then rocks then diatomaceous earth. But first, dig it out, then have a pest company come take a look at the underside and see if they have any recommendations, then put things back in a way that deters and prevents this build up from happening again!
posted by amanda at 9:08 AM on April 2

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