How Did an Animal Get into My Asheville Home?

Typical Nuisance Wildlife in Asheville

Buncombe County is home to sixty mammals. Bears, bobcats, deer, and alleged mountain lions are some of the most well-known mammals in the area. It’s rare for one of the larger mammals to become a nuisance on your property with one exception. If you do not secure your garbage, you're inviting black bears to a smörgåsbord.

Squirrels, rats, mice, bats, and raccoons are most likely to get into your home. Opossums, skunks, snakes, moles, voles, chipmunks, and armadillos can cause a nuisance in your lawn or garden.

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Popular Homes in Asheville

Not only is Buncombe County one of the fastest-growing counties in North Carolina, but it is also one of the most popular. Home prices rose by an average of 10% year over year.

For years Asheville has been a seller’s market. People flock to the area and fall in love. They either try to relocate, buy a second property, or build their dream retirement house. Airbnb and VRBO have accelerated the second home market. The recent COVID-19 Pandemic has only fueled that growth.

According to Scott Russell, owner and broker-in-charge at Free Stone Properties, "every type of home is popular" due to high demand. The most popular home styles have been Arts and Crafts, Log Cabins, and Modern Farmhouses over the last year.

Typical Entry Points in WNC Homes

  • Roof Return

    Roof returns provide an easy avenue for animals like raccoons to get into your attic. 

  • Chimney Stack

    Raccoons, birds, and squirrels can create nests in your chimney by entering uncapped chimneys. 

  • Plumbing Stack

    Squirrels can chew through cap of plumbing stack. 

  • Ridge Vent

    Squirrels and rats can chew through the ridge vent on the garage. Capping it can prevent them from getting in. 

  • Soffits

    Damage soffits or loose vinyl panels allow easy access to your home. Once inside, animals use soffits as an expressway into your attic. 

  • Fascia boards

    A fascia board is the plank of wood behind the gutter and under the roof decking. We often find construction gaps between the fascia board and roof decking. On older homes, fascia board wood rot creates weakness animals can exploit to gain entry to your home. 

  • Gable Vents

    Most gable vents have a screening installed behind them. Most homes do not have wildlife-proof screens on the gable vents. Raccoons, squirrels, and rats can break through the thin mesh. 

Arts and Crafts Home

Asheville is world-famous for the prevalence of Arts and Crafts homes. Arts and Crafts (or Craftsman) has been around since the late 19th century and is still one of the most popular styles of home.

Some of Asheville’s Arts and Crafts homes have been around for a century. Wood rot, especially on fascia boards and soffits, provides little resistance for wildlife. Gabled roofs, prominent eaves, abundant windows, covered porches, tapered columns, and natural material distinguish the style of the home. These features can also provide potential entry points for animals.

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Log Cabins

The log cabin is an icon style in the Blue Ridge Mountain. According to Scott, the Pandemic has only fueled its popularity. People want their own private retreat, and when not in use, it can be used as a vacation rental. Asheville has rustic log cabins and luxurious log home estates.

The logs are the defining feature of this home, but other natural materials are used. Animals such as rodents and raccoons can tear apart the natural materials and gain access to your home.

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Modern Farmhouse

The farmhouse is one of the most popular styles of home. Modern farmhouses combine the elegant yet simple design with modern amenities and styles. Large, wraparound porches are one of the defining features, and incorporating local, natural materials is popular in Western North Carolina.

Horizontal board and batten siding (both mainstays) are easy for critters to climb. Most farmhouses have several roof returns. Some modern farmhouses do have metal roofs which offer more protection. Depending on the material, squirrels and other rodents can still chew through it.

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Protecting Your Home in Western North Carolina from Wildlife

We recommend a visual inspection twice a year. As the seasons change, houses swell and contract which could create gaps for animals to enter.

Look for smudge marks around gable vents, soffits, fascia boards, and roof returns. Animal trail runs are a sign of animals in your yard. Your house provides food and shelter for that critter.

The surest sign of an animal in your attic is feces. If you do see feces, proceed with caution. Depending on the animal, airborne diseases could be present.

If you’re in the market for a new house, keep in mind no home inspection is technically exhaustive. Animals have a tendency to squeeze into crevices and cracks. It is possible for a home inspector to miss a pile of poop.

Regularly inspecting a vacation home is essential. If the home goes unoccupied for any amount of time, animals can enter and leave unmolested. Do not expect your guests to recognize the unusual sound of an animal in your home.