Roof Damage and Bird Droppings

According to the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI), droppings from birds can damage any home or commercial building roof, whether it's made of wood, stone, steel or another material.

Signs of Roof and Property Damage

Acidic bird droppings can damage your roof and cause health problems.Acidic bird droppings can damage your roof and cause health problems.
If birds are allowed to perch and nest on a roof indefinitely, their accumulated waste can damage awnings, fade or discolor paint, and possibly cause a weak roof to sag or collapse.

Acidic bird droppings eat away at many types of roofing material, but are especially tough on tar-based roofs. Droppings cause leaks and may eventually lead to a collapsed roof if the waste continues to multiply. Chimneys and vents blocked by bird drippings cause carbon monoxide buildup, fumes and mold. If too many birds nest on your roof, they can create a slip-and-fall hazard from excrement, resulting in injury and possible lawsuits. Bird droppings damage roofing materials and may result in costly repairs. They make the roof and property look untidy, and can clog gutter and drains, causing flooding if left unchecked.

Health Concerns

Both birds and their droppings transmit diseases and parasites. Droppings from birds perched on a roof carry more than 60 diseases, and some of them, like St. Louis Encephalitis, are potentially fatal to humans and animals. Airborne spores associated with pigeons and starlings cause histoplasmosis, a disease of the bloodstream, or Cryptococcus, a fungal infection that leads to meningitis. Dry bird droppings can travel through building ventilation systems, tainting the air and causing health problems for the young, elderly, or people with compromised autoimmune systems.

Clean Up

Before collecting bird droppings, verify you can dispose of them through normal trash pick-up, or make other arrangements per local laws. Dust from bird droppings causes respiratory infections, so you need to wet the area with a hose or spray bottle. Shut off or seal heating and cooling systems to prevent contamination of building air ducts before you begin the cleanup. Wear disposable gloves, coveralls, boots and hat, and cover your mouth with a respirator that filters particles 0.3 microns or smaller.

Store the droppings in sealed garbage bags. After you finish, take off the protective clothing and place it in a sealed plastic bag while still wearing the respirator. Shower or wash up immediately after you dispose of the droppings.

Prevention

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and there are several methods to prevent bird droppings from damaging your roof. Durable bird netting lasts for several years. It cordons off a roof or other area, preventing birds from entering, and is almost invisible to people looking up from the ground. The best, high-quality netting has passed an ISO 1806 & 9001 Protocol Mesh Test before leaving the factory. Netting works with all size of bird species. Netting comes in square-knot style and no-knot styles, with no-knot styles available in several colors.

Bird spikes prevent pigeons, crows and other large birds from perching on the ledge of your roof. You can install blunted bird spikes on the edge of your roof or all the way up to the roof peak. Usually made of plastic, theses spokes come in many different colors to blend in with any roof. UV-protected bird spikes endure snow, ice and extreme weather without damage.

A box with protruding steel rods, sometimes called a spider, consists of a plastic and stainless-steel base with stainless-steel rods that interfere with birds that try to land on the roof. The rods have plastic tips that won’t harm birds or humans, but make it uncomfortable for the birds to land on the roof. The boxes have adhesive on the bottom and can be easily installed by any homeowner.

About the Author

Marianne Moro is a copywriter and journalist based in Hollywood. She has been writing professionally since 1999, specializing in home remodeling, interior decorating, pets, travel and holistic health. Moro was a part-time editor and contributing writer for Remodeleze.com, a home remodeling and decorating website, and has also contributed to the Cutting Chair and Entertainment Today.