What Every Homeowner Needs to Know: Bird Poop on the Roof

Posted on: 5 May 2016

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Since your home's roof is the main protective barrier for protection against weather, it's important to make sure your roof is in good condition so you don't end up with leaks and significant water damage to your home. One thing that can damage a roof is bird poop. Here's why and what you can do to save your roof from bird poop damage.

Bird poop contains uric acid, which can damage your roof

Bird poop is actually a mixture of poop and uric acid, because birds don't urinate to release nitrogenous waste from their blood. The uric acid is the white liquid goo part of bird poop. Since it's acidic, it can damage materials like car paint, concrete, and roofing materials.

Asphalt shingles are particularly susceptible to damage from bird poop. The acid dissolves the asphalt in the shingles, which causes the protective granules to wash off of the roof. Without this layer of protection from the granules, additional bird poop can eat away at the shingles at a faster rate until they provide absolutely no protection from rain and snow. Of course, this can cause the roof to leak.

Sometimes, the damage from bird poop can be so severe that it can resemble hail damage. When a hailstone hits an asphalt-shingled roof, the damage it leaves can be similar to that of a bruise to your skin due to the centralized force that can break the fibers and materials in an extremely small area. If bird poop remains on a roof, the acid can continue to eat away at the materials and cause damage only to the area covered with a splat of bird poop, which is why the damage is sometimes mistaken for hail damage.

The seeds in bird poop can eventually clog your gutters with plants

Birds eat seeds, which will obviously end up in their poop. If, however, the seeds are not broken down during digestion, they can still be whole in the bird poop. When a bird drops their poop in the roof, rain can eventually wash the bird poop (and seeds) into the gutters. If the gutters have organic debris in them, such as decayed leaves, the seeds can sprout and grow in the gutter.

At some point, the new plant will block the flow of rain within the gutter, which can cause the water to seep into the roofing materials where it can cause damage that will lead to leaks. The water that gets trapped here will freeze when temperatures drop. Since water expands when it forms into ice, this will cause the shingles and other roofing materials to lift up from the structure of the roof. Obviously, this will also damage the roof and cause it to leak.

Repair your roof and keep the birds away

Of course, you'll want to hire a roofing contractor to inspect your roof and make all necessary repairs. The prominent areas of droppings will need to be identified so you can determine what steps you'll need to take to keep the birds away so your repaired roof doesn't get damaged also. Look for places where birds can perch and nest above or on your roof, such as overhanging tree branches, overhead electrical cables, antennae, satellite dishes, and chimneys.

If you can remove the places where you think the birds are perching or nesting, do so. If not, consider installing spikes on your roof to deter the birds. Your roofing contractor can incorporate these spikes into the repair job. Alternatively, you can attach a decoy owl to your roof to deter the birds. Also, you can ask your roofing contractor to strategically place Mylar strips on your roof to keep the birds away.

Contact a roofing contractor from a service like Bob Behrends Roofing & Gutters LLC for repairs and further help.