Under a deck is the perfect den for an animal. To keep animals from under your deck you will need to prevent them from burrowing under the skirting.
The most effective way to keep animals from under your deck is skirting and buried ½ wire mesh or hardware cloth around the deck below the skirting.
Stopping animals from crawling and digging under the deck.
Together they make accessing the underside of your deck impossible.
Enough chit chat let’s get to fixing the problem of keeping animals out from under your deck.
Before Closing in the Underside of the Deck, Ensure No Animals
Trapping an animal under the deck is a death sentence. With no way to escape. The animal will starve to death under your deck.
Bad for the animal but also you.
With the dead corpse giving your deck an unpleasant smell. Not to mention attracting insects.
There are a number of ways to get rid of animals out from under a deck. From soap to hot sauce.
The key is to know what is under your deck to know how to repel them.
I am not going to go into advice on how to get rid of the creature.
A quick Google search or call a professional pest control once you know what is under your deck will give you plenty of ideas.
Common Animal that Live Under Decks
At lost of what is living under your deck, here is a shortlist of possible residences under your deck residence.
- Feral cats.
- Rats (various species)
Feral cats, almost universal found in most cities, is one of the most common.
I don’t live near a wild area, but I looked out my back window to see a skunk floating across my backyard the other day. Funny thing, the motion sensor light went on. The skunk ignored it and continued to poke around my yard. I guess not all are afraid of sudden lights.
Ensure the Animal Is Out from Under Your Deck
Before closing in the underside of the deck, do a quick check that no animal is still under there.
Animals hide under decks for warmth and comfort.
Remove these, and the animal will scurry away.
Shining a bright light under the deck will allow you to see if anyone is still under the deck at the same time scaring them away.
Just make sure that there is a way to escape. A cornered, frighten animal under the deck is not a good thing.
Spraying water under the deck will also help to scare the animal away. Few of us appreciate an unexpected shower from a garden hose.
Stopping Animals for Going Under Your Deck.
Now that you know that nothing is under your deck, for now. Let’s make it permanent.
Removing all pest access.
There are 2 ways animals are getting under your deck.
- Above Ground
- Below Ground
Depending on the creature.
Let’s start with the easiest, above-ground access.
Stopping Animals with the Right Deck Skirting.
Deck skirting is the easiest way to stop animals from living under your deck. But there are many different types of skirting options.
The important part in keeping animals out is the size of holes. The smaller, the better.
Cats and skunks may be able to squeeze through a hole as small as 3″ (75mm). Most lattice is small enough but do a quick check.
Yes, Ventilation is important for under a deck, but so is keeping animals out. For smaller rodents like squirrels, even smaller holes are required. A red squirrel can squeeze through a hole as small as a golf ball (1 5/8″ or 43 mm).
Which is a good reference.
Grab a golf ball.
Call the kids and play a little game.
Get the golf ball under the deck.
Any holes they find that you can get the ball through will need to be closed to stop rodents.
If you are only worried about larger animals like Skunks or Possums. Same game but with a baseball.
Now with the skirting, all secured. Now for the hard work.
Stopping Animals from Digging Under the Skirting.
For animals that dig, skirting is not enough. You will need something that will stop them from digging.
How a moat around your deck, infested with hungry crocodiles?
If have a better solution. Wire mesh buried in a trench around the deck under the skirting. Stopping any digging under the deck and skirting.
Like I said earlier, 1/4 – ½ (6-12mm) wire meshed, or hardware cloth is the trick.
- Dig a trench around the deck, 2′ deep and 1′ wide.
- Fold the wire into an L shape. 2′ by 1′.
- Place the wire in the trench, with the longer section just under the skirting.
- Attach the wire using small garden staples or nails. Every few inches to prevent animals from opening up a hole.
- Bury the wire. Compacting every few inches to keep the wire in place and minimize settling after.
Now with the wire securely in place and no place for animals to get under the deck you can dress up the area around your deck again.
Bonus tip. Don’t get lazy on burying the wire. Wire buried to shallow will allow animals to dig under, making all your work useless. Take the time now to dig a full 2′ and not have to worry about it again.
Set it and forget.
The fold is critical to prevent a persistent animal from digging underneath. Often returning over a few nights to try again. Hitting wire will stop them from trying more.
Making Under the Deck Less Welcoming for Animals
Often overlooked, but making the space under the deck less comfortable will help animals move on.
Who wants to go through all the work of hauling nesting material under a deck, if they can just walk over to another deck with soft ground and vegetation close by.
Before closing the underside of the deck with skirting. Covering the ground with landscape fabric and gravel will make it less comfortable and welcoming.
Who wants to sleep on a bed of rocks?
A nice bed of rocks will prevent vegetation from growing under the deck and encourage animals to find another place to live.