Repair Woodpecker Damage

Here I will show you exactly what to do to repair woodpecker damage.

Woodpeckers can cause quite a bit of damage. Hopefully you are able to get a quality woodpecker deterrent up in enough time to prevent them from doing too much harm.

I do not recommend that you perform any repairs until you get rid of the woodpeckers for good. Otherwise you will drive yourself crazy repairing holes just to have more spring up right next to or on top of them. Many people, including myself have made this mistake before. The thought is that filling the holes will frustrate the birds into moving elsewhere. However, they are very resilient and will just peck through whatever material you used to plug the hole or simply go right next to it.

Below I will show you how to repair the two most common types of housing material that woodpeckers like to target: cedar siding and stucco. In addition, I will show you how to repair any damage done to living trees. Repairing woodpecker damage doesn’t have to be a difficult task. Use these tips to help you do it quickly and easily.

If you have any questions, concerns, or comments, please feel free to leave them below or contact me directly.

How to Repair Woodpecker Damage – Cedar Siding:

Repairing small holes in cedar siding is fairly simple:

  1. Fill the cavity with spray foam insulation. This ensures a tight seal to block outside air from infiltrating your home. This particular spray foam is a minimal expanding product which won’t expand like most spray foams that leave a big mess all over the side of your house. However, keep a close eye on the foam so that it does not spill over onto unwanted areas. Only spray enough to fill the inside of the cavity, we do not want it to be even with the surface of the siding.
  2. Once the spray foam has hardened, use this wood filler to seal the hole. Work it in with your hands to get it absolutely even with the cedar siding. If it comes out past the surface of the siding, it can be sanded down later for a smooth finish.
  3. Paint the wood filler patch. Feather it out as much as possible and you’ll never even know it’s there!

Here is an example of how to shape wood filler if you’re unfamiliar. This individual uses a DAP Wood Filler which is also a suitable product, but I tend to prefer the Bondo Wood Filler much more.

Repairing large holes in cedar siding is a little more involved:

  1. Use a hole saw to make a perfectly circular hole over the existing hole. If the hole happens to be very large, cut the cavity into a square.
  2. Just as with the small holes above, fill the cavity with spray foam insulation to get a tight, weatherproof seal. Make sure that you leave about an inch of depth so that we have room to fit our patch. Note: It is critical that the foam sealant is filling the cavity, otherwise you risk the patch falling into the hole. If this patch is being fitted into an uninsulated structure, insert 2 screws inside the hole to prevent the patch from falling (seen in video below).
  3. Cut a circular or square piece of plywood (depending on the hole made in step 1) which is about the same depth as your siding. We want the patch to be slightly smaller than the hole cut in the siding so that we can fit it in place.
  4. Use this wood filler around the edges of both, the patch and hole, and fit the patch into place.
  5. Sand down any excess wood filler and paint the patch. Feather the paint out for a seamless finish!

Here is someone doing the patch a little different than myself but it is also a very effective way to fill a large woodpecker hole. However, I would advise insulating the cavity if the repair is being done on your home.

How to Repair Woodpecker Damage – Stucco:

Repairing both small and large holes in stucco uses the same process:

  1. As with cedar siding, use spray foam insulation to fill the entire cavity. Remove any excess foam that protrudes past the stucco’s surface. We want to leave some depth in there to fill with our stucco patch.
  2. Apply the stucco patch to the hole and let harden. We don’t want this layer to be too thick as it will take a long time to harden. Once dry, make sure that the patch is flush with the surface of the house. This material has a tendency to contract and may require a second application.
  3. Apply paint to the patch and feather out to make it look as unnoticeable as possible. You’ll be the only one that knows the patch even exists!

Here is how you apply a proper stucco patch:

How to Repair Woodpecker Tree Damage:

  1. Inspect the tree for any insect infestation. It’s possible that the woodpecker is only attacking a dead part of the tree. If this is the case, call a local arborist to see if the tree can be saved.
  2. Immediately hang a woodpecker deterrent to prevent any further damage. It will be moot to repair any damage if the woodpeckers continue to attack the tree. I recommend hanging long streams of bird repellent tape. Make sure the tape extends down the trunk to the affected area. You could also put a long nail directly above the area and hang some bird repellent discs.
  3. Wash the tree’s wounds with soap and water. Then use a proper tree fungicide to protect the tree from disease.
  4. If the holes are small, they can be left alone to heal. If they are large, affix a hardware cloth patch directly over the affected area. This mesh can be affixed using either nails or staples.
  5. Periodically inspect the area until it is fully healed. Spray with additional fungicide from time to time to protect the tree.
  6. Remove the patch once the tree is fully healed.

I hope these tips have helped you repair woodpecker damage done to your home and desirable trees!

If you haven’t done so already, choose the best woodpecker deterrent that suits your needs. I’ll show you some of my favorites!

Please feel free to leave comments below!

16 thoughts on “Repair Woodpecker Damage”

  1. I just cut 1 cm strips of alu foil and tacked them onto my cedar siding, hoping it will keep the pesky woodpeckers at bay.

  2. Woodpecker damage to styrofoam exterior. Recommendations. ( I filled the hole with steel wool and then put in stucco patch but think I should have done some research first. Duh.

    • It would be best if you experimented with one of these Woodpecker Deterrents so that you do not have to make any further repairs!

  3. I absolutely love this fix… I feel smarter knowing now, but dummer for not already knowing on my own… I can fix smany spots that need patching believe it or not, but this will work for Drywall even. No tape, no mesh, only a lil round piece of matching thickness Drywall and some spackle, plus 3,or lite form. K suppose if a guy wanted to 2 coat it quickly and be done then durabond or easysand would help

    • I’m glad this helped you repair the woodpecker damage!

  4. It was actually quite good that you gave the steps that need to be followed in case we ever want to repair the woodpecker damage ourselves, especially the part where you mentioned the use of spray foams. The problem is that I am not very confident of my DIY skills, so now that I found a large hole on the siding of my house, the first thing that came into mind was having someone to repair it. The woodpecker family has been dropping by our place for quite a while now, and they have done a lot of damage. Thank you for the tips. I’ll keep them in mind.

    • Just be mindful of the fact that you should get rid of the woodpeckers prior to performing any repairs. If you repair the existing woodpecker holes without addressing the underlying woodpecker problem, you are just asking for more frustration.

  5. I just discovered a woodpecker is hollowing out my maple where a branch was cut off years ago and had sealed. . The hollow is at least 6 ihches wide and now probably a foot deep. How do I repair this ?

    • Please see the instructions for repairing woodpecker tree damage above.

  6. Hello, I just purchased a beautiful cedar home in July. I am currently experiencing woodpecker problems. I am not noticing many holes in the shape of a line, similar to what I *think* means pecking for bugs, but rather multiple circular holes about an inch to an inch and a half in diameter (about 6 total around my home). I just hung shiny deterrents today (they just came from Amazon). Do you know if a) they are nesting or b) looking or bugs based on my above description? Also, how long should I wait to fill the holes with a clear caulk (the house is stained cedar, and I am unsure if I will be able to color match) if they are, indeed, nesting? Until I don’t hear them anymore or is there a seasonal period typical? Thank you so much for any and all advice! This is a great, clear website that I am very glad to have found! I did not realize that woodpeckers were a problem until I moved this year…

    • Based on your description, I’d say they are most likely nesting. They don’t typically excavate holes that size when they’re looking for bugs and when they do, they are normally in close proximity to one another.

      There’s no set time to wait before filling the holes but I’d certainly make sure that the woodpeckers have left the area for a while before attempting to fix them. The last thing you want is to fill the holes just to find fresh ones later.

      Woodpeckers are typically most active in the Fall and Spring so this is one of their most active times of year. Chances are, the old homeowners dealt with the same seasonal woodpecker activity. You can also try to ask them what, if anything, they did to help keep these birds away.

      You’re doing the right thing by using reflective materials to scare woodpeckers away. If you want to kick it up a notch, implement an electronic woodpecker repellent for additional insurance (especially at night)!

      I hope this information is helpful to you. Please let me know if there’s anything else I can do to help.

  7. I’m torn between plugging the hole/damage done to the fascia, and replacing the entire section. The hole is about a month old (I was waiting until I knew for sure the woodpecker was gone), and it’s been raining and I’m worried about wood rot. Is this a valid concern? What is your opinion?

    • Wood rot is most certainly a valid concern. Any wood exposed to the elements will inevitably rot and break down. With that being said, if the hole is only a month old, I doubt there would be any material rot/decay unless there’s been torrential rain every day. It’s unlikely that the entire section of fascia would need replacing.

      My advice is to inspect the hole and remove any sections of rot if present. Then go ahead and follow the instructions on this page for repairing woodpecker damage.

      It is paramount that you address this issue soon to prevent any possible structural damage to your home or other potential issues with mold.

      You were wise to wait until the woodpecker was gone before repairing the hole. Was a woodpecker deterrent used to get rid of it? If not, I would certainly advise implementing a woodpecker deterrent to prevent any further damage to your home.

      If you have any more questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to ask!

  8. This is a really cool website and will be goldmine to anyone trying to repair the damage left behind by a woodpecker.

    I really like your first piece of advice, which was to wait until you have gotten rid of the bid. I can see that being a really uphill battle if you fix your house with out getting rid of the problem. These are all really practical a good ideas. I’ll have to keep it in mind in case I ever encounter this pesky little bird.


    • You’re absolutely right about it being an uphill battle if you don’t address the woodpecker problem first. Using a good woodpecker deterrent will ensure that your repair efforts don’t go to waste!

      Repairing woodpecker damage is easy once you get rid of the woodpeckers for good! Thanks for the comment!


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