Items of Interest

So You Think Racoons Are Cute?

So You Think Racoons Are Cute?

It turns out that these cute little critters can have a devastating impact on a structure if allowed to.

Recently we were called by a good customer who believed that racoons had possibly infiltrated the area under the house where the insulated floor joists are.  There was a smell in the house and the owners had found a hole in the rigid insulation attached to the bottom of the joists where if was obvious that some animal activity had occured.

Everyone at that point thought that it would be a fairly simple matter to get the racoons out and then patch up the bit of damage that had been done.  At my first inspection, we found another hole in a completely different area of the crawlspace.  Our first thought was to lightly cover the holes that we found with plastic so that if they were still there they would have to disturb or knock out the plastic and we would know that they were there and would need to be captured before we could repair the damage.

We couldn’t detect any activity so decided to go ahead and open up the affected area.  But before we did, I decided to have a further look inside one of the holes with a remote video camera and thats when I first realized that this may be far more complex than anyone had thought up until that point.  The hole that I was looking into led into a boxed in duct run that crossed the entire length of the house.  The minute I dropped the first bottom panel off of that duct run and a half eaten baby goose fell out, I knew we were in trouble.  Not only had they been dragging dead things up inside the floor framing, but that duct run served as a conduit that crossed the entire building and allowed access to every single joist space.

Dead goose had been dragged up inside of the duct run.


After opening up the duct run and joist spaces, all the insulation in the front two thirds of the house was found to be useless and had to be replaced.







These racoons had found the absolutey perfect home.  The main meeting area had been on top of the large main duct that crossed the house(very nice and warm in the winter) and they had used every joist space as part of their living areas.


Typical Joist Space

The floor framing was divided into three sections with the front(that included the duct run) and middle sections being almost totally devasted with regards to the insulation damage and waste and smell.  The front section was rehabiltated first with removal and disposal of all insulation and then a spray application of an odour counteractant to all surfaces including the underside of subflooring, joist sides and bottoms and all sides of the ductwork.  New insulation was installed and after the existing rigid insulation was re-installed, the wire mesh was used.  This was  also wrapped around the entire duct structure and then up into the inside of each joist space at the point where the middle section of the house started.  This was done to prevent any infiltration of the front section of the house after it had been rebuilt and during re-construction of the other sections.  It also serves the purpose of isolating areas of the structure so that in the unlikely event of another infiltration, access will be limited to single, small sections of the joist areas.



Please note: This blog story is not finished so check back again soon for the latest update.


About the Author:

Greg Oberlein is the owner of Build-Tech, located in the Niagara region of Ontario, Canada. Greg has been re-building and restoring structures since 1985. He is a graduate of the "Construction Engineering Technology" program at Niagara College as well as Air Conditioning and Refrigeration at George Brown College. Build-Tech has been in business and providing extraordinary building services since 1998.

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