can birds damage rubber roof

A common problem we come across is the impact on rooftops caused by birds. But do birds cause roof damage? Richard Sclater, our Technical Director, discusses the challenges of bird attack and why our Giromax® products offer a highly resistant solution.

Roof Maintenance as Bird Prevention

Maintaining your roof is essential if you want to keep birds from building their nests on it. Here are a few roof maintenance issues that you should be especially aware of in the fall and before nesting season.

Fix any gaps or holes in the roof: If there are any gaps or holes in your roof, birds may use them as a place to nest. Spray polyurethane foam (SPF), a formerly common roofing foam, draws birds because of its high insulation value, which they recognize as ideal for a good nesting site. It’s best to have your SPF roof fixed or replaced if some of the acrylic covering has worn off before a bird decides to take advantage of it.

Resolve ponding water: When a flat roof dips, water may collect in little “ponds” due to the uneven surface. This pond may draw birds as a place to drink or bathe. A roofing specialist can level out your roof and address the underlying issue.

Safe gravel roofs: It’s critical to remove any loose gravel from your flat roof. Certain birds, like pigeons, may be drawn to the gravel on your roof because they consume small pieces of gravel to help with digestion. In addition, birds that nest on beaches might choose to do so on gravel rooftops because they offer the ideal nest texture and a certain amount of protection from predators. You can use a roof system that isn’t topped off with gravel to keep these birds off your roof. Gravel-nesting birds will not be drawn to a Built-Up Roofing System (BUR) that uses a modified bitumen layer as the top layer, or cap sheet. Alternatively, you could leave your current roof in place and cover the gravel with a fine mesh to keep birds out.

Clean up after predators: Predatory birds may occasionally seek refuge on your rooftop so they can consume their prey without being disturbed. If there have been predatory visitors to your roof, you will notice their waste on the rooftop; these should be removed to prevent drawing in more pests. Additionally, you might discover that the predatory birds’ sharp claws pierce tiny holes in your roof; in this case, you might need to employ bird-deterrent techniques like the ones mentioned below.

Handle insect infestations: To avoid drawing in birds that consume bugs, like woodpeckers, you should have any signs of an infestation of insects in your building removed as soon as possible by hiring a pest control company.

Bird Attack – Repeated Damage

One of the primary problems Giromax encountered when treating cut edge corrosion was the birds’ constant damage to silicone installations, particularly from gulls and crows. Many of the projects were situated close to readily available bird food sources. These were typically found near fast-food restaurants or recycling facilities, which draw nesting colonies to the rooftops nearby.

The persistent presence of roosting birds on a roof can be an expensive and unpleasant annoyance for the reasons listed below.

Types of Damage from Birds

Birds can harm your building’s roof or jeopardize anything inside. Knowing what kind of damage a bird could do to your building will help you decide which bird prevention techniques to use.

A bird on the roof will definitely leave acidic droppings all over the place. The highly acidic droppings of birds have the potential to harm other roof-mounted equipment, including HVAC units, as well as roofing materials. Additionally, by supplying nutrients, the droppings may encourage the growth of moss or algae. Therefore, if your roof is exposed to bird droppings, its lifespan may be shortened.

Water buildup: Although all roofs are made to shed rain, a bird’s nest in a gutter or drain can obstruct the flow of water. This backup could cause the water level to rise, which could allow water to rush into places it shouldn’t, like between roof layers, inside vents, and into any weak spots on the roof. Additionally, it puts excessive strain on roofing materials, which could deteriorate more quickly under water pressure.

Problems with airflow: Grass, twigs, bark, moss, and other naturally flammable materials are used by birds to build their nests. These materials raise the possibility of fires, especially when placed inside air vents or next to HVAC equipment. Additionally, they could impair the building’s air quality or prevent adequate roof ventilation, which would keep moisture inside. Moisture buildup can endanger the items you store in your building, harm your roof, or compromise the structural integrity of the building.

Damage to property: Birds may transmit diseases that humans can contract For example, gulls may carry E. coli, salmonella, psittacosis, and fungal infections. This is a risk to anything edible you may manufacture. Bird droppings can also contaminate chemicals, liquids, or other goods.

Risks to employees: Bird droppings create unsanitary conditions for employees. Birds may annoy workers with their calls and may be large enough to assault workers if they approach a nest. Even if your products or building are not physically damaged, this could still negatively impact your business.


Can birds damage EPDM roofing?

Bird droppings have a high uric acid content. Unless the droppings are regularly cleaned away, they can accumulate over time, causing wear and tear to most roofing materials. If left unchecked, this could affect the integrity of the roof and its lifespan.

What are the problems with rubber roofs?

Common Problems with EPDM Roofs In our experience, EPDM roofs have relatively fewer issues compared to other roofing materials, but some common problems include shrinkage, punctures, and seam failure. Proper installation and regular rooftop inspections can help prevent these issues.

How long is the life span of a rubber roof?

A well-installed rubber roof is incredibly durable, lasting between 40 and 50 years if properly maintained. Of course, rubber roofs will last much longer if installed with proper drainage in mind.