While you may think that squirrels are cute, they definitely belong in the forest and not on your roof. Squirrels are a persistent problem for homeowners because they constantly move around at roof level while climbing and jumping between trees – this means that they typically spend a considerable amount of time on your roof compared to other potential pests. Squirrels also love to nest in attics, and they'll gnaw through your roof in order to gain access. When squirrels damage your roof in order to enter your attic, they'll cause roof leaks.
Any holes or loose shingles will make your attic a tempting target for squirrels, as damaged areas are much easier to gnaw through than areas that are in good condition. Why do squirrels do so much damage to roofs and what can you do about it? Read on for three ways that squirrels can damage a roof and why regular inspections can prevent squirrels from deciding to invade your attic.
1. Fascia Boards Are Easy for Squirrels to Chew Through
The fascia boards in your roof are one of the most vulnerable components. They act as a connector between your roof and your siding, which makes them a very tempting target for squirrels – it's easy for squirrels to pry away at fascia boards with their claws or gnaw at them with their teeth in order to create large holes that allow entry to your attic. Holes in your fascia boards will also allow wind-driven rain into your home, which can cause water damage.
Keeping your fascia boards in good condition will reduce the risk of squirrels invading your attic – have your fascia boards inspected regularly to check for any signs of pest damage or holes that pests can use to enter your attic. If the squirrels in your area are persistent and keep gnawing through your fascia boards, a roofing contractor can install metal plates over them to keep squirrels out.
2. Squirrels Love to Chew Through Plumbing Boots, Opening Up Your Roof to Leaks
Your home's roof has a small plumbing vent on the top of it that releases excess air from your home's plumbing system. In order to prevent the plumbing vent from leaking, it's attached to your roof using a plumbing boot made from either lead or rubber. No matter what material a plumbing boot is made from, squirrels will gnaw and scratch at a plumbing boot in order to gain access to your attic. Once the plumbing boot has been destroyed by squirrels, water will begin to leak into your home.
During your regular roof inspections, ask your roofing contractor to monitor the condition of your plumbing boot. If the contractor notices any signs of pest damage, the boot should be replaced with one that has a pest screen – this helps to keep squirrels and other rodents away from the plumbing boot and prevents it from being damaged.
3. Squirrels Will Lift Up Loose Shingles and Gnaw Through Your Decking
Any loose shingles on your roof can act as a potential entry point for squirrels. Shingles tend to become loose with age – wind can lift shingles away from nails or bolts and adhesives used to attach shingles to the underlayment will degrade over time. Loose shingles can be easily lifted by squirrels, who will begin to chew away at the underlayment and your roof decking – eventually, they will gain access to your attic. In addition to squirrels in your attic, the large hole in your roof decking will cause a major roof leak.
During your regular roof inspections, your roofing contractor will tell you whether or not the shingles on your roof are coming loose. Individual shingles that come loose due to wind damage or damage from falling debris can be individually replaced. When shingles begin to come loose due to age, it's typically time to replace your roof entirely – the problem will continue to worsen until you're at major risk of a leaking roof and pest damage.
As you can see, squirrels are capable of causing considerable damage to your roof, and the damage that they cause will quickly result in a leaky roof. Regular roof inspection and repair will keep your roof in good condition, making it a much less attractive target for squirrels – this cuts down on the risk of squirrels invading your attic and causing severe damage to your roof in the process. If you're not having your roof inspected regularly, call a roofing contractor and schedule an inspection – it's best to have your roof inspected at least twice a year for the maximum amount of protection.