We’ve been making preparations for the siding. We designed our building to be as pest-proof as possible. That includes keeping the attic off limits to birds, bats, and bugs. This was a challenge since our attic is fully ventilated.
To allow for air flow, we left a gap along the entire long sides of the building where the roof meets the top of the walls. We had to come up with a way to keep pests out without completely sealing it, so we ordered some wire mesh.
The mesh is galvanized steel with a black plastic coating. Birds and critters shouldn’t be able to break through it as easily as a screen door. The gaps in the mesh are about 0.10 inch, allowing only the tiny harmless bugs in.
The gable ends of the building will not have a gap under the roof. Instead, we are installing louvers on the North and South faces of the attic for additional ventilation. They are framed like a window and came with a mesh backing.
The space where the wall meets the roof will be completely sealed on these sides of the building, but we still put up mesh! It will be months before we install the metal soffit panels that cover the underside of the roof, and we didn’t want to take our chances with critters inhabiting our attic in the meantime.
Sam and I hopped in the bucket truck to install the mesh. Unrolling the mesh and stapling it up was a simple process but definitely a two person job. Luckily we got the mesh up before any birds or wasps made their nests for the season.
The longer sides of the building were more involved. That part won’t be covered up by panels, so we wanted the mesh to be concealed and out of the way when we install the siding.
We began by cutting a 1 ft x 100 ft strip from the 4 ft wide roll of mesh. Our friends, Zach and Vicky, were in town to help us! The rolls are heavy and required all four of us to cut them. Sam used an electric “nibbler” while I held the tape measure and our friends unrolled and re-rolled the mesh.
Once we had our 100 ft long strip, Sam, Zach, and Vicky went up in the scissor lift to install it. They worked together to staple the giant mesh piece along the length of the building.
You can’t really see the mesh in these photos since it’s behind the overhang, but look at that teamwork!
We were concerned that our friends might not return if we didn’t provide more entertainment than wire mesh, so we took them to a winery event and the local rodeo!
Later, we had some new pest problems that we weren’t expecting. Carpenter ants got into the building and started tunneling in some foam.
This was not what we wanted to see when we were getting ready to insulate the whole building with spray foam. We called our local exterminator and had the inside of the walls treated with a pesticide. The spray foam and drywall will seal it in, helping the pesticide last a few years.
But our pest problems still weren’t over! Some squirrels and mice got in through our makeshift doors! After wasting time chasing the squirrels out several times a day, we doctored up our doors, successfully keeping the squirrels out for good. However, the mice were not deterred by this. In fact, word must have spread that we had a mouse hotel. We bought (and made) a few traps and caught over 15 mice in two weeks!
The mouse population faded, but we continued to hear rodent-like noises when we camped out. It could have been the wind rattling the plastic, but we were still uneasy about the situation so…
We got a box of cats!
We picked up two kittens from the Kreps family down the road. Their mother is a certified mouse hunter, and we’re hoping that the kittens will follow in her pawprints.
Meet Buster Catfield!
Buster is a little rascal and loves attention.
And meet Smokey!
Smokey is very shy and skiddish but follows Buster everywhere (even the litter box).
The cats also happen to love mesh! Not only do they like sleeping on top of their mesh carrier but they entertain themselves for hours with it.