Some animals will chew through almost anything to gain access to your attic.

How to Make a Cover for Your Roof Vent to Keep Out Pests

by Steve Curry

Depending on the area in which you live, there are literally dozens of different insects, birds, and small animals relentlessly seeking refuge in your attic or roof cavity by way of cracks in the decking, soffits or through the most obvious holes on the rooftop: the roof vents. Although they are covered and flashed for rain deflection and drainage issues, there still lies a direct hole and pipe of varying diameter just beneath the cover, and from there, the entry options for a determined intruder get nothing but better. Blocking pests at the rooftop -- before they can enter a vent -- is imperative, and can be accomplished with just a few basic tools and materials.

Pattern Cutout and Assembly

Measure the top plane of the entire vent assembly. Mark this rectangle on the center of a large piece of vent screen, using a marker. Measure downward to the rooftop at all four corners to determine the height. Transfer the lines for the height in all four directions from all four corners of the original rectangle -- this will make eight lines, plus an edge line for each of these tabs. Add an additional 1 1/2 inches to each of the lines to fold into a flange for attaching the assembly to the roof.

Cut the triangle-shaped excess screen off of the four corners, using the tin snips. Trim the flange edges to length. Alternatively, for a vertical vent -- such as an attic vent -- measure the entire rectangle behind the frame molding, and then cut it to size, using tin snips. Place the molding over the new screen.

Fold the screen 90 degrees, using a board or a step as a straightedge guide. Fold along each edge of the original rectangle, and then fold the last 1 1/2 inches out flat to the same orientation as the rectangle so it seats flat onto the roof. Cut off small pieces of bailing wire and use them as twist ties along the edges that now meet to box the assembly in solidly. Use as many as is necessary to create a tight seam that will be impossible for pests to enter.

Attaching the Assembly

Fit the screen assembly evenly over the vent, keeping the same small gap on all sides. Hammer one wire staple into each corner of the flange to secure the assembly to the roof decking.

Hammer staples evenly into the flange, alternating sides to keep from distorting the box shape as it is pulled in tightly.

Cover each staple generously with asphalt roofing cement to keep water from leaching into the decking material. Alternatively, if the vent was a vertical attic vent, caulk around the entire outside perimeter of the molding frame with exterior-grade caulking.

Items you will need

  • Ladder
  • Measuring tape
  • Black permanent marker
  • Tin snips
  • Hammer
  • Heavy wire staples
  • Bailing wire
  • Roll of 8 mesh, 27-gauge galvanized vent screen
  • Asphalt roofing cement


  • Over-cut all dimensions by about 1/8 inch to ensure a loose fit. This assembly is meant to completely cover the entire roof vent without actually touching it.
  • If your pest problem involves insect infestation, add a sheet of galvanized soffit vent bug screen with a much smaller aperture to the inside of the heavier one. The strong one will still be necessary to insure larger rodents don't pave the way for the insects by chewing up the finer screen.
  • If airflow volume or pressure is an issue with the particular opening, check with appliance manufacturers, permitting office, etc., to ensure the finer screen doesn't stifle the airflow to the point of dysfunction.


  • Do not cover a rooftop dryer vent with any type of mesh or screen. The cover can collect lint and restrict airflow from the vent, possibly creating a serious fire hazard.
  • Whenever working on rooftops, adequately tie yourself off with lanyards and a safety harness to an available ridge-installed eye hook.

About the Author

Hailing from Seattle, Steve Curry has been writing articles on a wide range of carpentry, residential remodeling and construction topics since 2008. He was a Journeyman Carpenter and a General Contractor/ business owner for nine years before this, holding an Associate of Applied Science degree in engineering from Peninsula College.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/ Images