Roof replacement costs have increased significantly over the last 5-10 years. Right now, a full roof replacement costs between $6,700 and $80,000, or approximately $11,500 for an average-sized home in the Memphis area. No matter your financial situation, that’s a huge chunk of money to spend on one repair.
It’s important to be proactive when it comes to preventing roof damage that could lead to more costly roof repairs or even a full roof replacement. And, one of those items you can prevent is the damage caused by critters. Whether you have squirrels, roof rats, or other animals causing trouble on your roof, these tips will help you protect your home.
Common Types of Roof Damage Caused By Rodents and Critters
Critters such as squirrels, raccoons, and roof rats can be a major nuisance when they enter your home. If left unchecked, they can wreak havoc on your roof and attic. Some of the more common damage we see to roofing materials caused by critters are:
- The duct work has been damaged due to chewing.
- The electrical wiring has been damaged by chewing.
- The materials have been damaged by chewing, including siding and roof shingles.
- Shingles that have been fully removed.
- The roof decking has been severely damaged by chewing.
- Torn holes in the soffit or fascia.
- Minor damage and extensive damage to the structure, .
And, all of this is before they actually get into your home or attic. When rodents enter the attic, they have the potential to cause damage to wiring, insulation, and any stored items. Additionally, the point of entry can potentially expose the roof and attic to precipitation such as rain or snow.
4 Ways to prevent roof damage caused by rodents and critters.
1. Install a Drip Edge
Installing a drip edge can effectively protect your roof from rodent damage. A drip edge is a piece of metal designed to slide under the first row of shingles and hang over the edge of the fascia. It’s also known as a drip cap because it helps water drain into the gutters.
When it comes to squirrels, a drip edge makes it more difficult for a squirrel to burrow between the shingles and the fascia. Once a squirrel peels up a shingle, it can eventually chew its way through the decking and into your attic.
To install a drip edge, a Memphis roofing contractor like My Town Roofing, will seal the drip edge with a strip of roofing cement. In some cases, we may also use nails on either end to make it more secure.
A drip edge can be installed by a licensed roofing contractor as part of a roof repair service, without requiring a full roof replacement.
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2. Perform Routine Checks of Your Roof, Gutters, and Attic
Every few months, you should inspect your roof, gutters, and attic for problems. Try working it into your seasonal cleaning or yard work schedule.
Perform a visual inspection of your home’s roof and gutters to identify any areas that require repair or maintenance. If you notice any problems, fix it or call a licensed roofing contractor as soon as possible.
When inspecting your attic, it’s important to check for any signs of damage, roof damage, unusual or foul odors, moisture, or presence of animal waste. Those are all signs you could have a squirrel or raccoon problem in your attic.
Maintaining upkeep and repair of items is essential. Roofs with weak spots are more susceptible to animal damage from squirrels and raccoons.
Did you know we have a Roof Assurance Maintenance Program? For only $45 per month, we will perform all of the necessary preventative care and maintenance to your roof.
3. Keep the Trees Around Your House Trimmed
Squirrels and raccoons are critters that have the ability to climb trees. If you have tree branches or limbs that hang over your home, you should consider trimming them. Trees can provide convenient entry points to your roof.
Here in Memphis, we’ve all seen how squirrels can quickly run across a telephone line and run up a tree, and jump from limb to limb. Plus, they’re lightweight which means they can walk on thin tree branches. That also means they can easily jump from the thinnest tree branches onto your roof.
It is recommended to trim trees to maintain an 8-foot space between the nearest branch and the roof. The harder it is for squirrels to get to your roof, the less likely it will be for them to cause damage.
You can also use tree guards or baffles to keep squirrels out of your trees. Guards and baffles make it more difficult for a squirrel to climb up a tree because their claws can’t get traction.
4. Keep Your Gutters Cleaned All The Time
The purpose of gutters is to collect rainwater from the roof and redirect it away from the house. However, when your gutters are clean, they fill up with leaves and sticks, which is what squirrels use to build their nests.
Your clogged gutters can quickly turn into nests for critters and rodents, as well as become an easy home for all kinds of insects. At this point, if you don’t address the problem soon, it’s just a matter of time before these rodents and critters make their way through the soffit or fascia and into your attic.
That’s why keeping your gutters clean is so important.
To properly clean your gutters, the most effective method is to climb a ladder and manually remove any debris. An easier and safer alternative is to hire a licensed and insured roofing contractor to clean your gutters or subscribe to an affordable roof and gutters maintenance program. Using a professional means they’ll also be able to properly check for issues with your gutters and downspouts, as well as the fascia and soffit.
Already Have Noticeable Rodent or Critter Damage to Your Roof?
In order to address any damage, it is necessary to ensure that the pests have been safely removed. It’s important to avoid sealing up a hole while an animal is still inside, as it may cause further damage when they attempt to escape.
Homeowners who suspect the presence of squirrels or other rodents can seek professional pest control services. They possess the knowledge and skills to locate entry points and utilize humane traps for the safe removal of the animal.
After confirming the absence of the animal and its nest, it is recommended to seek the assistance of a licensed roofing contractor to repair the roof. For your safety and peace of mind, we only recommended that you work with a professional roofing company who is insured and has a valid contractors license.
A seasoned Memphis roofing contractor has the ability and expertise fix damaged decking, replace broken shingles, seal flashings, and more. They can also catch roofing problems before they get worse. If you take care of minor issues, you might not have to worry about a total roof replacement just yet.
After the roof repairs, you can start on some of the preventative suggestions we talked about above.
Will my homeowners insurance policy cover roof damage caused by squirrels?
Damage to your roof, home or other structures that is caused by insects, rodents (for example, rats, mice, squirrels and chipmunks), birds or other animals is usually not covered by a standard homeowners policy.
For this reason, filing an roof insurance claim with your homeowners insurance company because of critter, rodent, or squirrel damage is generally not possible. Homeowners insurance typically only covers roof repairs or roof replacement caused by fire, hail, wind, and other weather-related damage. Homeowners may want to consider purchasing a separate policy for animal damage.
That said, you should always consult your insurance adjuster or your insurance company when you have damage to your roof. It doesn’t cost you anything to ask about whether a claim can be covered. Under certain circumstances, you may find that your insurance company will work with you on your roof claim.
Bottom Line and Final Thoughts
Critter and rodent damage to your roof can cause roof leaks, structural problems, and electrical issues. It can even lower the value of your home. That’s why it’s important to get it fixed as soon as possible. Don’t put off affordable repairs today that when left undone will cause costly repairs down the road. Once you’ve solved your critter problem and repaired your roof, you have options for preventing this from happening in the future. Don’t take this lightly. Spend the time and money today so you can save yourself a lot of stress and more money down the road.