Decks are great, but there is one problem that you will quickly experience with them, and that is animals. Decks can hugely increase the resale value of your home, and take your backyard to the next level, but they are also hugely attractive to animals.
From skunks to raccoons to chipmunks, the hollow bottom of your decking makes the perfect home for these furry creatures, and a great place to hide from predators.
While the thought can be cute at first, these creatures can quickly become a nuisance. They can damage your decking with their sharp teeth and claws, and they can also cause a stink in your backyard.
So, even though they are cute, it is best to take precautions to prevent these animals from getting beneath your deck. In this guide, we’ll be taking a look at what you can put under your deck to keep animals out, and the best methods for this.
What can I put under my Deck to Keep Animals Out?
If your deck becomes an attraction for furry creatures, there are lots of things that you can use to block access. You might expect this to be a difficult job, but it usually isn’t.
The hardest part of the job is ensuring that you do not trap any animals beneath your deck when you are in the process of blocking it. This is why most people choose to block up access to their deck when they first get their deck built.
But, if you don’t do this, it isn’t the end of the world because you can pest proof your deck once it has been built. Let’s take a look at the best ways to block your deck so that animals cannot get beneath it.
Patio Block Method
When it comes to blocking the area beneath your decking, you have two real options. These options either include digging, or no digging. If you don’t want to dig, then the patio block method is the one for you.
This method involves using patio blocks to cover the openings in your deck so that animals will not be able to access it.
To do this, you will need to begin by covering the space (where there are openings) on your deck with hardware cloth. In the next method that we will look at, you will bury the edges of this material. But, for this method, you simply need to weigh the edges down with patio blocks.
Before you do this, ensure that the edges of the material are sloped downward, this will ensure that water cannot build up on the material. Do this on all the edges and this will prevent creatures from getting beneath your deck.
Open Your Deck Up
But this patio block is not suitable for all decking, especially if you find that there is a lot of moisture beneath your desk. Even though you are blocking access to the deck for animals, you still need to let air into this area.
In which case, you should attempt to block animals from accessing beneath your deck by simply opening it up as much as possible.
The animals that we mentioned earlier will only be attracted to dark and enclosed areas, so simply open up as much of your deck as possible. Do this by removing panels, walls, etc. until your deck is a light and airy space, and animals will no longer be an issue.
Trench and Screen Method
If the previous methods that we have looked at don’t work, then you might have to dig in order to stop animals from getting beneath your deck. If you are wary of digging, then you might want to consider trying the other methods that we outlined above first.
To do this, you first need to dig a trench of about 12 inches in depth around the opening of your deck. From there, you can then install mesh or hardware cloth along the area that you want to cover.
Ensure that you bend the mesh outwardly into an ‘L’ shape and bury it into the trench. You can then fill in the trench with dirt, and bury the mesh so that it forms a solid screen around the outside of your deck.
But ensure that the bottom of the mesh/cloth is as deep as possible to ensure that creatures cannot dig up the screen.
Once this is done, simply secure the top of the screen into your decking using nails or screws. Give the screen a tug to ensure that it is completely secure, then your job is done.
If you are concerned about any animals that are already beneath the deck becoming trapped, you could install a one way door, but the decision is entirely yours.
However, before you do anything, it is very important to check for any creatures that are already living beneath your deck. To do this, it is best to wait a couple of days before you do any work.
Sprinkle flour or soil beneath your deck and watch for any footprints if you aren’t certain. If after a couple of days you do not see any movements in the flour/soil, then there is likely no animals beneath the deck, and you are good to go.
If you know that you have animals living beneath your deck, and need to evict them, the best place to start is by encouraging them out. Remove any foliage surrounding your decking, and try to make it as light as possible beneath there.
As we have said, the creatures that live beneath the decks make these areas their home because they like dark and damp areas. So, if you want to evict your unwanted tenants, simply make the space light and airy, then they will quickly move on.
So, there you have it. In this guide, we have given you 3 different methods that you can use to keep animals out from beneath your decking. So, if you have unwanted tenants living beneath your deck, follow this guide to evict them and make your decking pest proof.