Why do squirrels chew on composite decking?

If you’ve noticed that squirrels have turned your composite decking into a chew toy, you might be wondering what’s behind this behavior. Here’s what you need to know about why squirrels are gnawing on your deck, along with some tips for discouraging them from doing so:

– Wear and tear on teeth: The primary reason that squirrels chew on composite decking is to wear down their teeth. Squirrels’ teeth never stop growing, so they need to constantly gnaw on hard objects to keep them trimmed. Composite decking happens to be a handy option for this purpose.
– Habitual behavior: Once squirrels start chewing on a surface like composite decking, they may continue doing so out of habit, even if their teeth are already short enough. This can be frustrating for homeowners who want to protect their decking from damage.
– Prevention tips: To discourage squirrels from chewing on your composite decking, you can try a few strategies. Applying a taste deterrent such as hot sauce or peppermint oil may work, as could placing physical barriers around the affected area. You could also try offering squirrels alternative materials to chew on, such as wooden blocks or logs.

While composite decking may be more resistant to damage from squirrels than some other materials, it’s not a foolproof solution. If you’re struggling to keep squirrels from wreaking havoc on your outdoor space, it may be worth considering alternative strategies like professional pest control or simply accepting that some degree of wear and tear is inevitable.

Pro Tips:
1. Understand their behavior: Squirrels have a natural instinct to chew and gnaw on objects to keep their constantly growing teeth in check. Composite decking materials, which are made from a combination of wood fibers and plastic, can provide a satisfying texture for squirrels to chew on.

2. Deter their presence: To discourage squirrels from chewing on your composite decking, consider using a natural deterrent such as peppermint oil or vinegar sprayed on or around the decking area. Also, removing any food sources, such as bird feeders or fallen fruits, can reduce the likelihood of squirrels being drawn to your outdoor space.

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3. Cover up: One way to protect your composite decking from squirrel damage is by covering it up with a durable material such as hardware cloth or chicken wire. These materials allow water and air to pass through but will prevent squirrels from accessing the decking surface.

4. Reposition bird feeders: Often, squirrels are attracted to bird feeders placed near or on composite decking. By moving the bird feeders further away from the composite decking, you can reduce the chance of squirrels becoming interested in the area.

5. Modify the decking: Although it may not be the most practical solution, some homeowners have had success by replacing their composite decking with a more squirrel-resistant material, such as concrete or brick. Alternatively, adding a protective layer to the decking surface can deter squirrels from chewing, such as adding aluminum flashing or plexiglass.

The Surprising Reason Behind Squirrel Chewing on Composite Decking

If you’re one of the many homeowners who are frustrated by the sight of squirrels chewing on your composite decking, you may be wondering why they do it. The answer might surprise you. While squirrels are often mistakenly thought to be eating away at the decking material, they are actually chewing on it to wear down their constantly-growing teeth.

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Understanding the Behavior of Squirrels and Their Teeth

Squirrels have four incisors that never stop growing. In order to keep them from becoming too long, squirrels must continuously wear them down by gnawing on hard surfaces. Composite decking, made from a blend of wood fibers and plastic polymers, provides an ideal surface for this purpose, as it is tough enough to withstand repeated chewing without being damaged.

The Limits of Traditional Pest Control Methods

If you’re frustrated by squirrels chewing on your composite decking, you may be tempted to turn to traditional pest control methods like traps or poisons. However, these methods are not always effective, and they can be dangerous to other animals and even humans. Plus, even if you manage to eliminate the squirrels from your outdoor living space, new ones may move in and start chewing on your decking again.

The Pros and Cons of Composite Deck Replacement

One option for dealing with squirrel damage to composite decking is to replace it with a new material. Composite decking is known for its durability and resistance to weather and insects, making it a popular choice among homeowners. However, composite decking replacement can be costly, and there’s no guarantee that the squirrels won’t cause damage to the new decking as well.

How Squirrel Chewing Can Affect Your Outdoor Living Space

In addition to being unsightly, squirrel damage to composite decking can have other negative effects on your outdoor living space. For example, the chewing can create splinters that can be painful to walk on, especially barefoot. The chewing can also weaken the decking over time, leading to potential safety hazards and the need for costly repairs.

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Tips for Minimizing Squirrel Damage to Your Decking

If you’re looking for ways to minimize squirrel damage to your composite decking without resorting to extreme measures, there are a few tips you can try:

  • Place squirrel-proof bird feeders away from your decking to discourage squirrels from congregating in the area
  • Use deterrent sprays or other scents that squirrels find unpleasant on or near your decking
  • Install squirrel baffles or other barriers to prevent squirrels from climbing onto your decking

Exploring Alternative Decking Materials

If you’re fed up with squirrels damaging your composite decking and don’t want to deal with the ongoing maintenance required to keep it looking good, you may want to consider alternative decking materials. There are many different types of decking materials available, including:

  • Wood
  • PVC
  • Aluminum
  • Bamboo
  • Composite materials without wood fibers

Each material has its own pros and cons, so it’s important to do your research and choose the one that best fits your needs and budget.

Maintaining Your Decking to Prevent Further Squirrel Damage

No matter what type of decking material you choose, it’s important to properly maintain it to prevent squirrel damage and other issues. Regular cleaning, sealing, and re-staining can help protect your decking from the elements and keep it looking great for years to come. And if you do notice any squirrel damage, it’s important to take care of it promptly to prevent further problems down the line.

In the end, squirrel damage to composite decking can be frustrating, but it’s not the end of the world. By understanding why squirrels chew on decking, exploring alternative materials, and taking steps to minimize damage, you can enjoy your outdoor living space without having to worry about squirrels causing damage.