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How to Prevent Squirrel and Critter Damage to Your Roof

squirrel on the ground that can cause roof damage

Americans spend an average of $6,800 for a roof replacement, based on 2017 U.S. Census information. But the price can go to $20,000 or more depending on the materials, your home's architecture, and your location.

No matter your financial situation, that's a huge chunk of money to spend on one repair.

The key is to protect your roof from damage in the first place. While some forms of damage are unavoidable, you can stop some of them.

The good news is, you can prevent critter and squirrel damage to your roof. Read on to learn how to keep squirrels, raccoons, and other critters away from your roof.

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What Types of Roof Damage Can a Critter Cause?

Critters such as squirrels and raccoons can cause a lot of damage to your roof and attic.

They can peel up the shingles and chew through the roof decking. They can also tear holes in the soffit or the fascia. And that's before they get into your home.

Once they get into your attic, they can chew on wiring, tear up insulation, and damage anything you have stored in the attic. Plus, their point of entry can expose your roof and attic to rain or snow.

Preventing Damage: Install a Drip Edge

A great way to protect your roof from squirrel damage is to install a drip edge. It's a piece of metal that slides under the first row of shingles and hangs 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 pests, 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, your contractor will seal the drip edge with a strip of roofing cement. They may also use nails on either end to make it more secure.

You don't need an entire roof replacement to get a drip edge around your roof. A contractor can install one as part of a repair service.

Regularly Check Your Roof and Attic for Issues

Every few months, you should inspect your roof, gutters, and attic for problems. Try working it into your seasonal cleaning or yard work schedule.

Take a walk around your house and look for any damaged shingles or issues with your gutters. If you notice any problems, fix it or call a contractor as soon as possible.

In your attic, look for any tears in insulation, strange smells, wet spots, or animal droppings. Those are all signs you could have a squirrel or raccoon problem in your attic.

It's also important to stay on top of any repairs. If you have weak spots in your roof, it is more vulnerable to squirrels and raccoons.

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Trim the Trees Around Your House

Squirrels and raccoons are both animals that climb trees. If you have tree branches or limbs that hang over your home, you should consider trimming them. Trees offer easy access points to your roof.

If you've ever watched a squirrel run across a telephone line and run up a tree, you know that they are good at jumping. 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.

That's why you need to trim your trees so there's at least 8 feet of space between the nearest branch and your roof. The harder it is for squirrels to get to your roof, the harder 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.

Tree guards are plastic or metal tubes that fit around a tree trunk. Baffles are cone-shaped disks that fit around trees or poles.

Clean Out Your Gutters

Gutters catch rainwater from your roof and divert it away from your house. Gutters can also fill up with leaves and sticks, which is what squirrels and birds use to build their nests.

Your clogged gutters can quickly turn into nests for critters and a home for insects. If you don't address the problem soon, an animal could eventually make its way through the soffit or fascia and into your attic.

That's why keeping your gutters clean is so important.

To clear out your gutters, you'll need to get on a ladder and clear out the debris by hand. If that's not possible, you can also hire a professional to clean your gutter system. They'll be able to check for issues with the gutters and downspouts, as well as the fascia and soffit.

What If You Already Have Squirrel Damage to Your Roof?

Before you can address the damage, you have to make sure the pests are gone. If you seal up the hole while the squirrel or other animal is still inside, they can cause even more damage when they try to escape.

You can hire pest control if you think you have squirrels or other rodents in your home. They'll know how to look for entry points and set live traps to safely remove the animal.

Once you know the animal and its nest are gone, the next step is to hire someone to repair your roof. It's best to leave it to the professionals, unless you have extensive carpentry experience.

A roofing contractor can 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.

Hire a Quality Roofing Contractor Today

Squirrel damage to your roof can cause 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.

Whether you need to repair roof damage from an animal or a full replacement, we can help. At Excellent Roofing, we offer quality roofing services you can depend on.

Contact us today to learn more about our services or get an estimate.

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