Repairing an intruder’s damage

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Northern Flicker, Photo by USFWS

Woodpecker, sapsucker, flicker.  Whatever the name, this bird’s damage to wooden structures is prevalent throughout my neighborhood in Colorado.  The Colorado Parks and Wildlife website states, “During the early spring, woodpeckers hammer to attract mates, to establish and/or defend a territory, to excavate nesting or roosting sites, and to search for insects.”

At least five times over the years, the northern flicker has attacked my home and caused damage.  Making a nearly perfect round hole through the cedar siding and sheathing.  These holes have been patched with pieces of wood.  However, one recent patch did not hold.  A flicker broke it out and built a nest in my attic.  This time I attempted to repair the intruder’s entry hole myself.

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Attic entry, Photo by slc

To access the attic, I propped my metal six-foot ladder below the opening in my bedroom closet.  I lifted the rectangular pass through and set it aside on the insulation and ceiling joists.  I reached up through the opening to pull the string which lit the attic light.  Now, I had to get myself up the ladder, step off the top rung (not recommended) and pull myself up through the attic opening.  The six-foot ladder is about two feet short of making that exercise a little easier and safer.  However, my eight-foot ladder is up at my cabin property.  Now, I was perched up on the side of the attic opening.  Taking a deep breath, I carefully hoisted myself to my feet and slowly walked across the ceiling joists as if they were a balance beam.  I knew if my foot slipped I would possibly be repairing a hole in the ceiling below in addition to the flicker hole.  My anxiety grew with each step as above my head were nails protruding through the roof sheathing like a bed of nails.

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Attic, Photo by slc

The roof sloped down near the opening I was in search of repairing.  It was in a tight spot; close to the metal fireplace chimney flue.  My thought was how was I going to repair the intruder’s hole when I could hardly reach it?  I crouched down and crawled into the tight spot.  While checking the repair my right forearm slipped off of the ceiling joist I was balanced on.  I went back across the balance beam floor and down the ladder to gather the tools I would need for the repair and to check out my injured forearm.

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Injury to forearm, Photo by slc

I cleaned off the blood and headed back up in the attic.  Back at the repair site, I apply Peel and Seal Aluminum (“A super reinforced aluminum surface and rubberized asphalt adhesive”) which I cut for the opening.  It would not stick.  Now, for Plan B: put some adhesive on the back of the patch.  Back down the ladder I went.

Third time up the ladder and into the attic, I squeezed out the Loctite Stik’N Seal Outdoor Adhesive, let it set a minute and placed the aluminum over the hole.  Using a small paint roller to help secure the material, it stuck!  Next to the newly patched hole, I noticed two older patches which were not tightly sealed and were leaking air.  So, I decided to also seal those holes completely with my Plan B.  Back down the ladder I went.

I cut two more aluminum patches and headed back up to the attic while also using a small flashlight to help me see without using my phone app.  I put the flashlight down and applied adhesive to the aluminum backing.  After waiting a minute I reached over the flashlight to place the patch on the second hole and when I did I bumped the flashlight.  It rolled down the opening next to the fireplace chimney flue.  As it fell rattling down to the first floor.  What a bummer.  I had just put new batteries in the flashlight and now I could not clearly see what I was doing with the third patch.  Somehow, I made it work and got the heck out of that attic.

The flicker holes are patched.  I hope they hold and I pray the intruders stay away from my home.

Note:  Without adequate light due to losing my flashlight, I was unable to take any photos of the actual patches.

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