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Home Siding Repair – Squirrel damage to the Chimney

Posted by diynovice on August 7, 2008

Some squirrels got into my chimney sometime in the early spring, and apparently had a family.  They were getting into the chimney through a small gap at the top of the chimney.  Now, I would like to think that the wife squirrel got annoyed having to climb up the chimney to the hole, and then climb down into the chimney, so she nagged her husband squirrel to make a new entrance.  So, now, I have a hole in the side of my chimney.

[When I discovered the hole, I didn’t have much time to fix it, so, in trying to figure out a quick fix, I squared the hole out and I forgot to take a picture (there was rain coming!)]

 

Since this is a two-story house, estimates for repair were well over $500, and that was to just cover the hole up and paint it.  So, if you have good insurance, or you just hate the world, this may help you fix your problem.

 

Time: 14 hours
Cost: $100
(add another $50 to rent a ladder.)
Difficulty: 5 out of 5
Tools required: Drill, screwdriver, jig saw, hammer, paint brush, tape measure
Material Info: Masonite siding is a cheap siding used on many homes.  But, it can be hard to find.  Home Depot and Lowes do not carry it.  I found that 84 Lumber carries it, and sells it in 32 foot lengths.

Tips:
 – If you don’t have a 30 foot ladder lying around, you can rent them for about $50 a day from Home Depot or Lowes.
 – When climbing on the roof, follow the peaks or valleys.  If you can’t follow a peak or valley, try crab walking around.  This way, you can use your butt as a break.
 – Wear a long sleeve shirt, pants, and gloves!  The shingles will tear your hands up if you do not wear gloves.  If you start sliding, the clothing will provide better friction than your skin to help you stop.  Plus, it will minimize cuts from any slide.
 – Wear a good pair of shoes.  I found that my basketball shoes gripped the best.
 – Be aware of the amount of wear that you are causing to the shingles in the work area.

 

1. Make sure the squirrels are out, and cover up the holes.  The hole at the top was a ventilation hole, so, it was covered with chicken wire.  The hole in the side of the chimney was temporarily covered with a piece of wood, and caulk was placed around it.

 

 

2. The siding was removed to assess the damage to the wood.  The squirrels chewed through the plywood, and about halfway through the 2×4 support.  The other five 2×4 supports had scratch marks, but were not significantly damaged.

 

 

3. The wood was not in the best condition, therefore, all of the siding, on the damaged side, was removed and the rotten part of the plywood cut out.  The very top piece of siding was not removed because that would have required taking apart the whole top of the chimney, which, frankly, was too much work.

 

 

4. The damage to the 2×4 support was repaired by adding a 1×4 to the back side and using multiple screws to secure it in.

 

5. I was surprised to find a lot of hay in the chimney.  I am not sure if it is supposed to be there.  I can’t imagine animals bringing in that much material in less than 10 years.  It could be in there to absorb any moisture so that it does not get into the house.  So, I removed about half of it, to get rid of the fur and fecal matter.

 

6. A 1×1 piece of wood was then screwed into the side of the 2×4 support that ran up the middle of the side.

 

 

7. A piece of plywood was cut to fit the cut-out using a jigsaw and screwed in.  An approximate rectangle was first cut.  Then, back on the roof, different areas were cut to make a good fit.  The gap was sealed using liquid nails.

 

 

8. The new pieces of Masonite Siding were then cut.  The old pieces were used as templates, which reduced the amount of measuring.  The new siding was then painted using 2 coats of exterior paint.

 

 

9. The far corner trim was assembled before I went back on the roof, to help with installation.

 

 

10. The siding was then nailed into place along the side where the trim will cover it.  The siding is supposed to be installed from the bottom up, but, since I did not remove the top piece of siding, I had to install it from the top down.

[Also, starting from the bottom would have been very difficult due to the awkwardness of working on a second story roof, 5 feet from the edge.]

 

 

11. The trim was then added.

 

 

12. Every single crack/gap/void on the whole chimney was then sealed with an external caulk.  A fresh coat of paint was added, making the chimney look good as new!

 

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