Bird droppings can damage roofing materials, cause clogs in your gutters, and pose health risks. If you constantly find bird droppings on your vehicles when they are parked in your driveway, you may want to inspect your roofing. There's a high chance that the birds are also dropping their waste on your asphalt-shingled roofing. Here's what you need to know.
Birds don't produce urine. Instead, they produce uric acid from the excretion of nitrogenous waste. This is the white paste-like goo that you see in splotches on your vehicles. Uric acid can eat away at your asphalt shingles and other roofing materials. Damage to the asphalt shingles can cause them to be more susceptible to leaks. Also, some birds tend to congregate in certain areas, particularly pigeons, which could mean that certain areas of your roof are covered with more bird droppings than others. This, of course, can be detrimental to your roofing and, therefore, to the structure of your home.
Solution: Wash away the bird droppings with a powerful garden hose. Avoid using a powerwasher as too forceful of a stream of water can further damage asphalt shingles. Hire a roofing contractor to inspect the areas of concern on your roofing. Repair damaged shingles as necessary. Attach bird deterrents to your roofing, such as spikes or owl decoys.
The brown solid substance in bird droppings is poo, which can contain seeds that the birds had ingested. If the seeds are still intact when they are in bird droppings, they can sprout and grow, especially when they reach organic material, such as leaves, or water in your gutters after they wash away from the roofing when it rains. As the seeds sprout and grow inside your gutters, they can cause clogs to form. Clogged gutters can cause water to accumulate and back up into your roofing.
If the temperatures then drop below freezing, this water freezes and can create an ice dam. Ice can get underneath the shingles and cause them to lift up, which can allow more water to infiltrate through the roofing materials. After some time, this can lead to water leaks on the ceilings in your home as the water makes it way down through the roofing structures. You may also notice brown streaks on your siding, which is from water damage of the wood structures in your roofing.
Solution: Regularly inspect your gutters for clogs and remove clogs when they are found. Contact a roofing contractor to repair or replace roof shingles and underlayment materials that have been damaged by ice dams. For severe problems that include brown streaks on your siding, hire a structural engineer to determine the extent of water damage to your roofing structure and replace or repair as necessary.
Bird droppings contain fungus that can pose health risks to you, your family, and your pets. Fungus in bird droppings can be carried in the air and inhaled into your lungs, which can cause histoplasmosis or cryptococcosis, depending on the type of fungus in the bird droppings. If birds are dropping their excrement onto your exterior HVAC unit, into or near the vents in your attic, or onto roofing that is extensively damaged, there's a risk that the fungus can get into the living quarters of your home.
Solution: Keep your HVAC unit and attic vents free of bird droppings. Wear a mask when rinsing bird droppings, especially if you do so while on the roof or on a ladder. If you do not feel comfortable in cleaning the bird droppings from your roof or gutters yourself, hire a roofing contractor to do it for you.