Most homeowners are aware that age and storms can lead to roof damage, but they may overlook the damage caused by birds and animals simply because they are unaware that it can be an issue. Unfortunately, your roof is accessible to a variety of critters, many of which find the nooks and crannies around vents and chimneys the perfect places to set up a home. The following are types of animal damage you should watch for.
The eaves of your roof can be especially prone to damage, especially if they have wooden soffits and fascia boards. Small rodents, like squirrels, will sometimes chew small holes in the eaves so they can nest inside where it is warm and protected from the elements. Birds may then take advantage of these holes, or widen small holes from wood damage, to nest inside the eaves. This eventually allows moisture in, which causes the eaves and possibly the roof underlayment to develop rot.
Holes should be repaired immediately. If you are having a roof replacement done, consider having metal soffits and fascia fitted so animals can't create holes again in the future.
There are several areas on top of the roof that invite animals to nest. Some are obvious—inside the chimney cap, inside a vent pipe, or in the shelter of a rooftop HVAC system. Birds are the most common rooftop nesters, although small mammals may also nest on the roof.
These habits can cause damage to actual rooftop items if they become clogged with nesting debris. Another issue is that bird droppings are acidic, which means they can eat through your roofing material and weaken it. Finally, a collection of nesting materials holds moisture, which can lead to leaks and water damage.
Using chimney caps and screens where appropriate cuts down on nesting. You may also want to have anti-bird devices, such as spikes, installed by your roofer on the prime nesting sites.
Although birds and rodents may sometimes force entry into the attic via the roof, raccoons are the main culprits. If a raccoon finds an easy breach in the roof that they can take advantage of, they may pull up the shingles and underlayment to gain attic access.
Repair any loose shingles or poorly installed vents promptly so they don't tempt the neighborhood raccoons. If you are dealing with a persistent raccoon, you may want to replace the roof with a more resistant material, such as metal roofing.
For more help with roof repairs, contact a roofing contractor in your area.