Does wood decking attract rats?

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Of all the possible places for rats to set up home, underneath properly wood decking is one of the most inhospitable of places. This is because a sterile area is created before construction using a weed-suppressing sheet held in place with a layer of gravel.

The gap left between wood decking boards helps to drain the surface and does not make for a dry, secure home for rats. A small pea, let alone sufficient food to feed a single rat, could not find its way through this gap.

As with the underside of garden sheds, precautions should also be taken to prevent leaves and other windblown litter accumulating under the wood decking by using boards or close-mesh wire netting. If you compost your waste food then it is best to use an enclosed or covered composter rather than an open heap which does tend to attract vermin.

The TDCA exists to set standards for the materials and practices used in wood decking construction. You should have no qualms whatsoever about rats moving in if the TDCA guidelines on wood deck construction and aftercare are followed.

Here is further guidance on how you can prevent rats in your garden:

  • Ensure that drainage is in good repair, that drains are not broken and that inspection chambers are in good condition
  • When feeding birds, use a bird table or a hanging net. Clear away any food that falls to the ground
  • Don’t leave food for foxes or other wildlife lying around on the ground in your garden
  • Ensure that dog and cat food is not left unattended. Remove bowls for cleaning as soon as possible
  • Clean away any spillages of food from rabbits, guinea pigs and birds straight away
  • Do not put meat into compost bins
  • Ensure that rats cannot gain access to outside sheds and buildings
  • Do not allow rubbish to build-up in your garden, including items such as old furniture and old mattresses
  • Do not allow vegetation to grow under low level wood decking and avoid the build-up of leaves in these areas. Follow the guidance of the Timber Decking and Cladding Association