How To Stop Rats From Climbing up Downspouts

by Derrick | Last Updated: February 28, 2022

Rats are unpleasant creatures that aren’t meant to exist alongside humans. Not only do rats carry harmful diseases, but they also damage property. So, how can you stop rats from climbing up downspouts? 

Here are 5 tips on how to stop rats from climbing up downspouts:

  1. Install chicken wire at the base of your downspouts.
  2. Install hardware cloth around the base of the downspout. 
  3. Trim tree branches that come within 6–8 feet of your roof. 
  4. Remove rodent attractions from near your home.  
  5. Fill spaces in the soffit, fascia, and vents. 

By reading the whole article, you’ll learn some practical ways to keep rats out of your gutters, and subsequently, your home. If you’ve noticed rats around your downspouts, these tips will come in handy. 

1. Install Chicken Wire at the Base of Your Downspouts

Rats and other vermin belong outside – minus the ones people choose to keep as pets. But, if you prefer that rats keep their distance from you and your property, then let’s talk about how to keep them outside. 

One way that rats and mice enter homes is through your roof. These stealthy critters can climb in through your gutters and downspouts and access small openings near your roof.  

One recommended way to fix this problem is by securing your downspouts using chicken wire. However, you can also purchase wire gutter screens from places like Home Depot if you prefer.

The wire is good, though, because it’s not something these whiskered pests can chew through quickly like vinyl guards.  

You’ll need a ladder, metal clips, or an electric drill and wire plant ties to secure the chicken wire.  

You can place the chicken wire over the openings of the downspouts and secure it with metal clips. Alternatively, you could fix it in place by drilling holes in the perimeter of the downspout and attaching it with wire plant ties.    

2. Install Hardware Cloth Around the Base of the Downspout

Rats are good at finding crafty ways into your home. Similar to chicken wire, hardware cloth has a solid reputation for blocking rodents from climbing up downspouts.  

Hardware cloth is a wire mesh with wire woven or welded in a grid pattern. You can get it in multiple materials like galvanized steel, stainless steel, and bare steel. 

Hardware cloth is available at most hardware stores like Ace Hardware, Lowes, or Home Depot. Even Walmart is a carrier.  

There is hardware cloth solely used for gutters, which is the preferred type for this project. You can cut the mesh to the appropriate size to fit your downspout interior and use an adhesive to secure it in place.  

Make sure to let the adhesive dry completely before putting it to the test. You may even want to consider using both chicken wire and hardware cloth to secure your downspouts.

To learn how to attach hardware cloth to your downspout, check out this article from Do It Yourself.     

3. Trim Tree Branches That Come Within 6–8 Feet of Your Roof

Rats are clever creeping critters who can use just about anything to get into your home. Did you know that some rats can even jump long distances? 

It’s true. Some rats have been known to jump nearly 8 feet (2.43 meter) onto a roof from a nearby tree. For this reason, it’s essential to keep all vegetation near your home well pruned and trim tree branches down so that they don’t make an easy extension to your roof.  

If a rat can climb up your downspout, you bet it can climb trees. So keep your tree branches trimmed by using pole handles, pruning shears, and a pruning saw.

Make sure that you’re careful when trimming tree branches that overhang your home, though. It seems easy initially, but it can be a challenging task.   

If you’re new to cutting tree branches, check out this step-by-step guide from Wood Hungry for details.   

4. Remove Rodent Attractions From Near Your Home

What’s one thing most rodents and other stray pests have in common? That’s right; they are attracted to your garbage.

If you can make your home unappealing to these whiskery fiends, you’ll hopefully have fewer issues with critters like rats sneaking into your home.  

I always make sure to keep my garbage secure in enclosed spaces until it’s pick-up day to discourage rats and other stray animals from getting too close to my home.  

You can use bungee cords to keep your garbage bin secured down. It will also help prevent animals like raccoons from ransacking your garbage.   

Try not to overfill your garbage bins either. If they’re too full to close, they could encourage unwelcome visits from your neighborhood rodents.  

5. Fill Spaces in Your Soffit, Fascia, and Vents

Silicone is an excellent product for filling gaps in your soffit, fascia, and vents. Soffit is the material between your roof’s eaves. Fascia is the spot where the gutters are placed on the wall.

If there are spaces in these areas of your roof, you could unknowingly be letting rats into your house. And not just rats, wasps and other rodents could also be getting inside.

To seal these areas, fill the gaps using silicone caulk. To do this, you should inspect the inside and outside of the house around the rafters above the soffit area.  

When you notice gaps, slowly run a continuous bead of caulk down along the space. Then, smooth the bead with your finger. You can then apply more caulk to the gap until it’s filled.  

You can repeat this process inside your attic around the soffit location. First, you should wait to ensure the sealant is fully dry, then re-inspect the area to confirm you have sealed all gaps.        

Key Takeaways

Rats aren’t suitable for our health or our homes. So to prevent them from creeping into your home, make sure your roof, gutters, and downspouts aren’t vulnerable. 

Create downspout guards with chicken wire or hardware cloth, seal gaps with silicone caulk, and do what you can to prevent attracting pests into your home.