Can mice and rats chew through stainless steel mesh?
Mice and rats. We know how bothersome they both can be, and seeing either unexpectedly can easily cause a bit of commotion.
Mice and rats cannot chew through stainless steel mesh. Stainless steel mesh with a hole diameter of 1mm or less will keep mice and rats from chewing through it as it will be difficult for the rodents to get their teeth around the mesh as long as the mesh quality is good.
In most cases, mice and rats won’t be able to chew through stainless steel mesh. Their teeth are strong, and they’ve been known to chew through countless items and cause many unexpected problems in the home. Why is it that mice and rats can’t chew through steel mesh?
Why mice and rats can can’t chew through stainless steel mesh
If you’re using a strong type of stainless steel mesh with minimal gaps in between each piece of steel like the BBRXX 304 Stainless Steel Woven Wire Rodent Proof Mesh, then rats and mice will have a challenging time making their way past any area where you lay this type of mesh down.
This is mostly because of two critical things.
First, is, of course, the strength of the material.
Stainless steel is often referred to as a universal tool for many applications because of its versatility and strength. There are two types of stainless steel:
Stainless steel 304 and stainless steel 316.
Stainless steel 316 tends to be the more powerful of the two due to its advanced corrosion-resisting properties. It also tends to be very expensive due to these properties.
It’s much more prominent in the commercial world for its resistance to corrosion, where you need things to last and is more difficult to quickly source (you generally have to go through a manufacturer and order in bulk to get reasonable prices on 316)
Stainless steel 304 is what we’re aiming for to deter rats and mice, especially in the home.
Stainless steel 304 is the more commonly found steel due to its extreme versatility and long life while being extremely rust and corrosive resistant due to its inexpensive nature and high source availability.
Even if your stainless steel 304 wire mesh did start to weaken, it wouldn’t deteriorate for quite some time unless it was left in extreme weather conditions.
Regardless, stainless steel 304 wire mesh will keep mice and rats out so long as the mesh is less than 1mm apart per wire.
This is primarily because having the wire mesh that closes together will make it EXTREMELY difficult for the mice/rats to get their teeth around it, making it very tough for them to try to get by.
Couple that with the fact that stainless steel mesh is already a solid material, and neither mice nor rats should be able to make their way by quite easily
If you have a serious mouse or rat problem, contact our nationwide network of pest control professionals. We’ll connect you to an exterminator near you in seconds. Finding a pro through our free service helps keeps the lights on at Pest Pointers. Thank you, bunches!
How to determine if you need to use stainless steel mesh for mice and rats
Now that we know just why stainless steel mesh will keep these rodents out, we need to actually determine if you need to use it.
Let’s say you have a small gap or crack in the foundation or siding of your home that could be a possible entry point to a rat or mouse (FYI – you should probably get that problem fixed as it’s a sign of settlement, but stay with me here.)
You’ve determined that this is a possible entry point for rats or mice, as they have a clear path to your building’s inside structure. To keep the rats at bay until you’re able to find a more permanent solution, you may want to use would be stainless steel mesh, as it’s quite simple to install.
Rats and mice have the ability to chew through softer objects with each, such as drywall, wood, and improperly finished concrete.
Essentially, these rodents will have a much more difficult time getting past any object that is harder than their teeth, which is another reason why stainless steel mesh works so well.
How you can use stainless steel mesh to keep rats and mice out
Unless you’re a professional or you’re having a professional install the stainless steel mesh for you, you’re going to need a special tool to actually cut and shape the mesh – a stainless steel wire cutter.
This Muzata Stainless Steel Wire Rope Aircraft Bicycle Cable Cutter should do the trick for you quite well. If you get the first stainless steel product we mentioned in the first section, you’ll more than definitely need a wire cutter as it comes in a roll that absolutely will need to be shaped to where you need it.
If you’re looking for a smaller size of stainless steel mesh that’s easier to handle at first, then you can look into this 4-pack of Stainless Steel Woven Wire Mesh from Valchoose. However, these smaller sizes are better if you’re trying to keep rats out of a definable area, such as a vent, or drain.
If you’re trying to keep rats and mice out of a gap or hole on the outside of your home, you’ll need to use heavy-duty screws or staples to attach the stainless steel mesh to your home. The type of screw, nail, or adhesive you use will ultimately depend on your home’s kind of material.
Once you have all of your materials, you’ll want to place the stainless steel about 8-12 inches into the ground and have the deepest tip of the metal pointing outwards towards you at a 90-degree angle. This will make digging past the barrier quite tricky.
Next, cut and form the wire mesh to the shape of the gap you’re attempting to cover and use your fastener of choice to attach it to the side of your building.
Of course, if you’re not experienced in this type of DIY or don’t have the necessary tools to perform an install on the outside of your home, you should contact a professional who should be able to install the mesh quite quickly.
What you should do to prevent a rodent infestation
If you have an infestation in a building or place like your shed, we wrote another guide here that goes extremely in-depth on the matter.
The main thing you’re doing right now by being on this article is being preventative. You’re aiming to close ANY and all holes that are on your property because you’re looking at using steel mesh as a barrier.
That’s step one.
Eliminate any and ALL access points where a mouse or rat could possibly enter your home. Look for holes in your siding, gaps in your foundation, all of the places where you would think to install the steel mesh.
Step two is next.
With rodents, you need to keep things clean. Your garbage – make sure that lid is air-tight. Your compost bin? Keep that as far away from your living quarters as possible. Empty cans near your recycling bin? Clean it up!
Any place where rodents may have access to a food source on your property, get rid of it, and they’ll be that much less likely to want to visit your home. Why would they search your property if there is no clear and visible meal?
Well, there is still one reason they might, and that’s shelter.
Thankfully, you’ve done an excellent job investigating whether or not you should use steel mesh to keep mice and rats (and other rodents, of course, out.)
But, we want to keep them off your property altogether and not just keep them out of your home.
Here comes step three.
Remove debris on your yard and keep your grass trim; eliminate any hiding spots where a mouse or rat could possibly take shelter. For instance, a woodpile is a prime place for rats and mice to live in, as it provides them protection from the elements.
Tallgrass also gives them cover from predators when moving about, so if you can keep your grass trim and neat, rodents will be more likely to stay out of that area.
That’s a wrap!
Well, I genuinely hope you don’t have a rat or mice infestation. I’ve been there before; it isn’t fun. Some rats had made it up from the basement into our apartment’s heating system and traveled up two floors to our home. Not fun.
Another story, though, for another time. Happy rat and mouse repelling!
Zack is a Nature & Wildlife specialist based in Upstate, NY, and is the founder of his Tree Journey and Pest Pointers brands. He has a vast experience with nature while living and growing up on 50+ acres of fields, woodlands, and a freshwater bass pond. Zack has encountered many pest situations over the years and has spent his time maintaining and planting over 35 species of trees since his youth with his family on their property.
Download My Free E-Book!
Take a look at my guide on Pest Proofing Your Home In Under a Day! I get into the nitty-gritty on the most common types of pests you’ll see on your property including BOTH insects and wildlife, along with the specific signs to look for regarding any pest you have questions about.