Does mouse proofing work?
Mouse proofing is considered the most effective long-term solution against mice. If you are not aware of how mouse proofing looks, you can check a few pictures here. Here at Inoculand Ltd., we define mouse proofing as the process where all gaps and access points that could be eventually used by mice to come into the property are sealed.
How does mouse proofing work?
One of the most important things is to make sure that there aren’t mice stuck inside the property when the mouse proofing is carried out. This is why we always advise you to carry out a round of treatment first to deplete the population of mice living inside and around your home. Otherwise, if you block gaps and other access points and mice are left inside, they can eventually nest in your house, and this is the last thing we are looking for.
From there, mouse proofing is little more than exclusion work. You have the living space that you enjoy and where you keep your belongings. And then, there are the utility cupboards and the void spaces underneath the floorboards and within the walls. The trick is to make the boundary between the two 100% tight as if you would be living inside a glass bottle.
Since we cannot always be sure what gap the mice will be able to use, we need to block everything up. The challenges are that we cannot see through the kitchen units and at the back of the bathtub. So, there are two methods to solve that problem. You can remove the units and whatever feature to see if there are any gaps at the back. Or you can seal whatever the eye can see; basically, carry out the mouse proofing at living space level.
How removing kitchen units can allow sealing the gaps at wall level
This is possibly the best way to ensure that mice cannot get into your home. But the downside is that it is a very expensive approach best suited for homeowners doing a full refurbishment, such as getting a new kitchen or bathroom. The idea is to remove all the kitchen units, the bathtubs, the sinks, whatever is in the way, and hence, expose all the floors and walls so we can see the holes and gaps there may be around the pipework at floor and wall level.
The best way to go about it would be to tile the floor entirely and possibly fit ceramic or wood skirting boards all around. Then, seal around the pipes and electric wires tightly with sand and cement/grout. Once all is sealed, then the kitchen can go in. If it sounds simple enough, I witness time and time again this opportunity being missed and us having to step in afterward to carry out the mouse proofing on a brand-new kitchen.
I recall three instances where the builder had attempted to seal all openings and failed. The first example was because of his use of drywalls. In one area, the plasterboards were not flushed, and that gap was enough for mice to get in. Luckily enough, I was barely able to reach it and filled it up with wire wool and sealant. But in principle, plasterboards are easily gnawn through, and a more resilient material would be better suited for mouse proofing.
A second example was an almost perfect job. A tiled concrete floor flushed with a tiled concrete wall. However, in one area, the builder had left one perfectly round opening to allow the pipework through. Ideally, that opening should have been well identified and plugged with wire wool and sealant so it could be easily removed should there be any need for maintenance or running new pipes through. Sadly, the house manager did not know about that opening, and before we stumbled on it eventually, we had already completed most of the proofing using composite metal plates. In retrospect, what a waste for the client who could have saved thousands.
A third example involves the use of expanding foam. And this is possibly the saddest of all. Mice can chew through the expanding foam as easily as a knife cuts through butter. You almost better do nothing rather than use expanding foam. They had paid the builder to do it, and later they ended up having to pay us to put it right.
How a Pest Control technician would carry out mice exclusion work
Over the years, we had a few colleagues that were coming from other companies that offered a mouse proofing service. And there was possibly nothing fundamentally wrong about their approach, but for one thing. They would assume that all the gaps are at the floor and skirting board level. And sometimes, it would be so. They would push some putty against the skirting boards and around pipes, and that would be the end of it.
But as the clients would complain about mice activity again, we would have to take it from scratch and redo it our way. To some extent, the technicians are the ones that assess what method is going to work best in any given situation. But eventually, they all very soon prefer carrying the proofing at living space level rather than at wall level. The reasons are plain to see; you can do a better job when you can reach and check it easily.
The downside is that carrying out mouse proofing at the living space level the way we do is not always the most beautiful thing. Most of it is outside of the line of sight, at the back of the kitchen units, or the back of the washing machine. Most clients actually do not mind since you cannot see it, but others would argue that it is a clumsy patchwork of boards, wire wool, and sealant. In most cases, the look of it can be improved by cutting the boards and timber in square angles; we can and should clean the excess sealant whenever possible. But in practice, it all comes down to time and money. To keep the quote affordable, we pay more attention to what is in the first line of sight and keep what is at the back more practical and functional.
Mouse proofing is not decorating. In a few instances, we had wealthy clients that arranged for more bespoke solutions to be implemented afterward. In most cases, it was having our proofing painted over. In one case, it was the kitchen fitter returning and covering our timber with the laminated tape of the kitchen’s original colour. Two other clients resorted to removing the wire wool and sealant and replace them with wood paste. So, whatever the issue, there are ways around it to make things look better.
Is proofing really worth it?
Mouse proofing is the long-term solution that you are looking for if you want mice not to come back again. Bear in mind that poison will deplete the stock of mice. But more mice will keep on coming, and eventually, the bait will be finished. From there, the mice will start building up again.
In reality, mouse proofing appeals to two types of clients. On the one hand, we have clients who would rather not have them at all. They may suffer from mouse phobia or be concerned for the safety of their family. So, for their peace of mind, they will do all they can to ensure their home offers good living conditions. The other type of clients normally suffers a high level of mice activity because of the surrounding situation. They are reinfested once or twice a year and are simply fed up with it. Sometimes they know their problem is linked to next-door property, but they are powerless. So, they want the proofing to protect themselves from mice and because it will be cheaper than repeated rounds of treatments.
Mouse proofing does not always manage to keep them out entirely forever. Often we have clients returning to us saying that mice have returned. As and when it happens, we can go back, replenish the treatment, and look for the new holes that were created. Sometimes what we also find is our mouse proofing has been removed by plumbers replacing some appliances. Whatever is the case, we normally bring the proofing back to standards, and the client can go back to normal.
“Proofing is worth it because it is a long-term solution that will bring you peace of mind”
What kind of materials are used in mouse proofing
To carry out mouse proofing with a one-year guarantee, we use solid materials, such as timber, sealant, metal, composite materials, hardboard, wire wool, wire mesh, sand, and cement. If there is something you should avoid, in any case, it is expanding foam, since rodents can chew through it, which means this solution will not last too much. So please, do not hesitate contacting us if you need further advice on the subject.