Birds are drawn to flat commercial roofs for socializing, perching, and even nesting. A roof provides a high, protected area with access to food scraps from the people passing below and water from pools that form on the roof. Unfortunately, birds on your roof are more than a nuisance, they can also cause major damage that will eventually require a premature roof replacement. The following are three signs that birds are damaging your roof.
The most severe and often the least immediately noticeable damage caused by birds is that which occurs to the membrane that covers the flat roof. Bird droppings aren't just unsightly, they are also extremely acidic. Although the membrane may just look soiled from the droppings, the acid within them is actually slowly eating away at and weakening the membrane. Eventually, it will begin to degrade from the damage and multiple leaks will occur as the membrane fails. At this point, replacement is the only option. To avoid these issues, your roofer can install anti-bird devices to prevent them from congregating on the roof.
Birds shed feathers and collect debris to build nests. These two behaviors mean that bird debris will begin collecting on the roof. Due to rain and wind, a lot of this debris is going to wash into the roof vents and gutter outlets, leading to blockages that cause water to pond on the roof. Ponding water is a major concern, as the combination of the water and its weight on a flat roof can lead to major leaks, or worse, a roof collapse if enough water collects. Frequent cleaning of the drains and gutters is required, particularly if birds are a problem on your roof.
Vent and Mechanical Issues
Protected areas on the roof are created by rooftop appliances and vent stacks. Birds may be drawn to nest next to the HVAC unit, for example, because it provides some warmth and acts as a wind break. Birds will also sometimes nest in vent pipes if they can gain access by dislodging the vent covers. These behaviors can damage HVAC and plumbing systems, leading to increased maintenance. Plus, the nesting behavior means more debris on the roof to eventually end up in the drains. A roofer can install bird cages on top of vents and around appliances to help keep them away.
Contact a commercial roofing contractor in your area if you suspect birds are wreaking havoc on your flat commercial roof.