Need to Fill Some Holes
November 26, 2007 9:46 AM   Subscribe

I need help plugging potential points of entry for mice. Problem is, I can't reach the holes

There is a 6 inch space alongside our staircase running the entire length of the stairs, between the banister and the wall, in which I suspect there are mouse holes. Lacking a photo, the space is best described as a "U" with the stairs on one side and the wall on the other. Not only can I not see whether there are holes without using a small mirror, but if there are holes, there's no way for me to get steel wool into them. I can't use the foam spray available in hardware stores because the combination of my hand and the bottle won't fit into the space.

Is there a foam spray that comes with some kind of extension tube? Any other ideas?
posted by suasponte to Home & Garden (11 answers total)
The canned sprays I've used in the past have always had a tube/straw to attach, usually about 6-8 inches long. Perhaps you could get a can like that, and attach a longer piece of plastic tubing to the can, so that you can apply it without needing to put the can in the "U" space. Something like Great Stuff might work well.
posted by entropic at 9:55 AM on November 26, 2007

In your description you don't say how long an extension tube you'd need. They do exist (first page of google search on "foam spray extension tube").

If that doesn't suffice for whatever reason, then just spray the foam down there, as close as you can get, and let it drop down. Let it fill up the entire six-inch space to a depth of about six inches. The foam will expand and the dried surface of the foam will be extremely rough, filled with bumps and valleys. You'll want to cover that. Cut a piece of wood that fits flush to both sides of the "valley", paint it an appropriately camouflaging color, and push it down into place. You may need to shave off some of the high spots in the dried foam to get it to lay flat. Use a garden hoe for that. Once the board lays flat, put some construction adhesive on the bottom and press it into place.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 10:00 AM on November 26, 2007

If you can't get the foam to work for you, maybe you could try stuffing steel wool into the gap by dropping it down and then pushing it into place with a long broom handle or a yardstick (steel wool will stop mice because they can't chew through it).
posted by amyms at 10:00 AM on November 26, 2007

Mice can get through pencil-size holes. No matter how well you think you've plugged things up, they'll find a way in. My advice is to therefore forget the holes and just trap them. Mousetraps are cheap and work very well.
posted by Camofrog at 10:02 AM on November 26, 2007

If nothing else will work, could you perhaps fit some precisely-cut lumber in the gap? You'd want to take the trouble to paint/stain it so that it wouldn't look too terrible, and the ends could be tricky (you might end up wanting to use a miter saw), but I _do_ believe that a barrier approach will be effective. Perhaps I'm just advocating thinking a bit bigger.
posted by amtho at 10:41 AM on November 26, 2007

I'm seconding the lumber idea to plug up the opening itself (NOT the holes). The 6" gap is too wide for foam, the OP can't see the holes in order to plug them, and foam is horrendously messy if it gets on the wrong things.
posted by chips ahoy at 11:02 AM on November 26, 2007

I'm also adding that I used a 2x6 piece of lumber to plug up the top of an open window frame (a 5.5" gap) to stop mice who were using the curtain as an expressway into the joist areas, and it worked extremely well.
posted by chips ahoy at 11:06 AM on November 26, 2007

Foam guns aren't all that expensive and they have provisions to add flexible tubing to extend your reach. A lot easier to use too, I love mine.
posted by Mitheral at 11:08 AM on November 26, 2007

nthing steel wool. We've had mice chew through the foam stuff before. Steel wool stops the suckers. Amyms plan sounds like a good one to me. Good Luck!
posted by pearlybob at 11:36 AM on November 26, 2007

ahh. just read and saw that you tried to get steel wool in there. Maybe try a plumbers snake or an unbent coathanger to get it where it needs to go?
posted by pearlybob at 11:40 AM on November 26, 2007

I'd like to amplify on my last post. I think traps are a good strategy depending on where you live. I live in the country, so I figure if I trap aggressively in the fall, when the mice move back inside, I'll catch them all early on and be done with them for the winter. If you live in the city, it's probably a nonstop invasion you can't get out in front of.

In my experience, you can't mouseproof your house. You just have to nip the colonizers in the bud.
posted by Camofrog at 9:02 PM on November 26, 2007

« Older She's a Jar.   |   Why WaWa? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.