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What Kind of Damage Can Birds, Animals, and Trees Do to Your Roof?

September 22nd, 2020 | 6 min. read

What Kind of Damage Can Birds, Animals, and Trees Do to Your Roof?

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When you think about roof damage, do you think about birds or other animals? What about hanging tree limbs? If you don’t, you’re not alone. 

Most people don’t think about how birds, animals, or trees close to their home can affect their roof. But all of these can cause more damage than you realize. But what does this damage look like? 

The team at Bill Ragan Roofing has provided high-quality roofing services in the Nashville area since 1990. Our workmanship ensures you get the best roof repairs or replacement possible. That’s why we offer a lifetime warranty. 

So, what kind of damage can birds, animals, and trees do to your roof? Always eager to educate on common roof problems, I’m going to answer that question and more. 

By the end of this article, you'll learn about bird, animal, and tree damage, and how to prevent it. 

What kind of damage can birds do to your roof?

Birds are oftentimes one of the most overlooked and most highly damaging causes of roofing issues. But what kind of damage can they do? 

Acidic bird droppings

The first thing you have to worry about is bird droppings. These bird droppings are highly acidic and can eat away most of the types of roofing materials, especially those that are tar-based. Research has shown the constant application of bird droppings can shorten a roof’s lifespan by half, exposing it to damaging leaks.

Nests causing drainage issues

You also have to worry about them building nests. Gutters are among the most popular places for birds to build their nests, hindering drainage and causing water to pool on your roof. If the water is left to stand for an extended period of time, it can seep under your roof’s materials and lead to issues such as mold, mildew, and rot.

Fire risk from flammable materials

Clogged gutters and drain pipes aren’t the only issue that bird nests can pose to your roof. The straw, sticks, and dried bird droppings found in nests are highly flammable and can ignite with the slightest spark. 

This is something you definitely have to worry about if they are built within or next to machinery on your roof, such as HVAC units. Nests built in chimneys, HVAC units, or ventilation systems can also create dangerous airflow blockages that can potentially be lethal to you and your family.

What kind of damage can other kinds of animals or insects do to your roof?

Birds aren’t the only kind of critters you have to worry about when it comes to your roof. Other kinds of animals and insects can do damage to not only your roof, but your home and your family’s health.  

Small animals in your attic chewing on things

The attic in your home is the perfect safe home for many small animals and insects. If squirrels get in your attic, they can cause severe damage to a home by causing a leak by chewing through your shingles, siding, and trimming. 

The longer small animals are in your attic, the more they’ll chew through the protective layers of your roof causing water to come in every time it rains. This leaves your home vulnerable to water damage and dangerous mold. 

Fire and biohazard risk

Squirrels and other small rodents will also chew on the electrical wiring in your attic or running through your roof, which is a common cause of house fires. This puts your family and your valuables in harm's way at any given moment the longer small animals are in your attic. 

Another thing a lot of people don’t think about when it comes to animals is the damage their droppings can cause. The longer a family of squirrels are in your attic, the more waste they produce. This creates a biohazard risk for you and your family that will lead to health problems the longer it goes undetected. 

Early detection is key 

Squirrels, insects, and other critters can wreak major havoc on your roof. Early detection is the key. 

While a roofing contractor can repair roof damage caused by animals and insects, you’ll have to call an extermination company to get rid of your animal problem. From squirrels building nests under your shingles to termites eating away at roofing materials, it is highly recommended you evict any and all pests and rodents before they can cause permanent damage. 

What kind of roof damage can trees above or around your home cause? 

Trees obviously attract birds and if the limbs hang over your roof, you’ll have the damage caused by their acidic droppings. But birds aren’t the only thing you have to worry about when it comes to trees and your roof. 

Erosion and drainage issues 

Tree limbs allowed to hang over your roof can erode its protective top layer by allowing water to drip down continuously after raining. Fallen leaves and other debris will also hinder the drainage of water down your roof, sending water where it’s not supposed to go. 

Once the water finds the path of least resistance, it’ll start leaking through your roof. 

Structural damage 

If your roof is close enough to the tree, fallen limbs can cause serious structural damage. To avoid this, your tree branches should be trimmed back as much as possible. 

If a tree is close enough to where it poses a threat to your home or roof, it’s recommended you have it removed altogether.

How do you prevent roof damage from birds, animals, and trees?

Unfortunately, even homeowners with professional bird or animal deterrent measures will tell you that it is nearly impossible to get rid of them once they have already nested/settled in your roof or attic. 

With that in mind, you can still prevent many of the roof problems above by getting roof maintenance by a local roofing company. Depending on the type of roof you have, it will be annual, biannual, or quarterly maintenance. 

Getting roof maintenance allows you to catch problems caused by birds, animals, and trees before they get out of hand. This saves you money, maximizes your roof’s life, and gives you peace of mind. 

Having your roof maintained to prevent roof damage by these common problems is just one reason to have your roof inspected at least once a year. To learn why regular maintenance is crucial to your roof, check out this article on why roof maintenance is important

Will homeowners insurance cover any of the roof damage caused by birds, animals, or trees?

Now you know what kind of damage birds and other animals can cause your roof (even your home) and that regular roof maintenance can help prevent these issues. All of these roof problems will ultimately lead to a roof leak that can cause damage to your home and your valuables.

When a homeowner has damage from animals or trees, their first thought is, "Will my insurance cover the cost to repair the damage?" 

Because we want to help you understand the damages covered by your homeowner insurance, we wrote another article breaking down what's covered by your insurance company. 

The team at Bill Ragan Roofing has provided the residents of Nashville with high-quality roof repairs and replacements since 1990. We know what it takes to maximize the life of your roof. When you work with us, you’ll never worry about your roof again. 

To learn if the insurance company will cover your roof repairs, check out Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Roof Leaks.

checklist of questions to ask a roofing contractor

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