Woodpeckers: Winged Terrors for Old Houses

Shannon Lee

When you purchase an old house, you are quite justified in worrying about flying critters. You have bees and wasps eradicated from the structure and launch full-scale assaults against termites who seek to bore through the very structure of your home. You might even gently remove the nests of birds who thought your rain gutters would make a perfect summer getaway.

But what about the other winged creatures that can wreack havoc on your old house? Those brightly colored woodpeckers can have their way with your siding, clapboard, and trim--and they can gradually turn your old house exterior into an unsightly mess.

How to Deal with Woody's Old House Damage

Got woodpeckers? Here are six steps to take to get rid of them and repair the damage.

  1. Identify the areas where the woodpeckers have gouged holes into your wood siding, trim, or columns. Don't wait to do this! As soon as you hear the tell-tale tapping, you should take action! The sooner you exclude the woodpeckers from your old house, the faster they can find somewhere else to gather their lunch and lay their nests.
  2. If the holes are less than an inch in diameter, you can use a good wood epoxy filler to plug the holes quickly and effectively. Simply follow the directions on the package for a good result.
  3. If the holes are greater than an inch, the repair is more involved. Start by cutting a circle around the woodpecker holes to create a smooth surface for the repair. You can do this very carefully with a 2-inch hole saw.
  4. Cut plugs of wood to fit the holes. Plugs should be 1/8 of an inch smaller than the holes you have drilled into the siding. Test-fit the plug and file down any rough edges with sandpaper until the plugs fit snugly.
  5. Apply polyurethane glue to the plug and the interior of the hole. Carefully tap the plug into the hole, taking care to leave a bit of the plug above the surface of the siding.
  6. When the glue around the plug has dried, plane the protruding part of the plug until the repair is level with the original wood. Touch the spot up with a bit of paint, if necessary, to create a uniform look.

Make sure you get rid of every hole the woodpeckers have bored in your old house. Leaving even one small hole invites them to come back and create more damage!



About the Author

Shannon Dauphin is a freelance writer based near Nashville, Tennessee. Her house was built in 1901, so home repair and renovation have become her hobbies.

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