How to repair rat damage and clean up their mess?
Since rats are rodents, their incisors are constantly growing. Because of this, they need to chew to keep them from becoming overgrown. They will chew through plastic, clothing, paper bags, weak wood and drywall. They also have a liking for wiring. Chewed wires are a serious fire hazard, so this should be one of the first things to be checked for and repaired if a rat infestation is discovered.
There are several other things to consider:
- How bad is the damage?
- Should you call a structural engineer?
- Do you have insurance?
- Has your home insulation been damaged?
Let us look at the most important first. Depending on how quickly the infestation was spotted, the damage caused may be minor and only require simple fixes. Cracks and holes can be repaired easily with good quality plaster or cement.
If any wiring has been damaged, you will need to consult an electrician. Since rats can easily get between walls, there may be more damaged cabling that you cannot see. An electrician will be able to locate any problems and replace the faulty wiring.
If you find that the infestation was large and there is considerable property damage, you may need to consult a surveyor or structural engineer. They will be able to determine if there has been any structural damage to the property such as supporting walls or the roof. If the rats managed to get into the wall cavities and damage your home insulation, this will also need to be removed and placed.
Some home insurance policies will cover damage due to pest infestations, even if it is only partially covered. It is a good idea to contact your insurer and confirm what coverage, if any, is included in your policy. This will also lessen the financial burden of any repairs you may need to pay for. Speak to your neighbors to see if they too have suffered any damage. You may have handy neighbors who are happy to help you with your home repairs, which may also save you money. You will also most likely have elderly neighbors who are struggling with repairs or not even aware that they have a rat infestation.
If you live in a rental property, you must inform the landlord, as it is their responsibility to organize and pay for repairs, although you should check your renter’s agreement. There may be a clause that states you are partially responsible for funding such repairs.
Once you have had your property inspected and repaired, you will need to keep an eye on things to ensure a repeat infestation does not occur. No doubt some rats will have moved away early on when you began to disturb them, but the temptation may draw them back in. You will need to keep on top of outdoor areas to prevent the rats from returning.
Your local council or state service will have free advice regarding pest infestations and preventative techniques, so it is also a good idea to speak to them. They may be able to advise you of where to find support or the best companies to call to survey and repair damage.