What’s That Growing — or Living — on My Roof??
By J-Conn Roofing, Thursday, June 12, 2014

Homeowners in Texas live through the colossal forces that nature throws at their roofs — heat, hurricanes, hail, thunderstorms, tornadoes, and so forth. However, some things that affect your roof are found on a much smaller scale.

Things That Grow

On houses that receive the proper conditions of shade and moisture/humidity, algae, moss, lichens, or fungi may grow. This growth may be merely unsightly or, in more severe cases, can cause shingle degradation.

With algae and some fungal growth, the extent of the damage may be shingle discoloration. In warm, humid conditions, certain airborne algae can grow on shingles, leaving black or dark-green stains. A more likely source of damage is the cleaning methods used to combat algal growth. Pressure washing and harsh chemicals can cause rapid granule loss or other shingle degradation.

Moss or lichens growing on a roof are more likely to hold moisture against the shingles, which can accelerate damage. Furthermore, if left untreated, their roots or growth structures will eventually penetrate and shorten the life of roof shingles. As is the case with algal treatment, the removal methods may cause more damage than the growth itself.

Tree damage is also a leading cause of roof damage and need for roof repair. Branches that rub against your roof will cause granule loss and in some cases cut through the shingles or pull them out of place; they can also cause damage to your gutters. In the occurrence of a storm, heavy winds may cause branches to break off and land on your roof causing major damage to the shingles and decking.

Take preventative measures to combat these growths. In areas with high humidity or frequent rainfall, ensure that your roof is exposed to as much sunlight as possible. Trim away any overhanging tree branches and maintain your gutters and downspouts so that rainfall will drain quickly.

Things That Nest

Animal roof inhabitants are more of a concern for homeowners. They damage your roof, and they constitute a health hazard for humans — either through the spread of pathogens or by direct attack.

Common types of rodents that can cause damage to your roof are: Norway rats, roof rats, house mice, squirrels, and racoons. With their sharp incisors and natural inclination to gnaw, these animals can easily damage your roof and its supporting structure. They may nest in your attic and cause damage inside your home as well. They also are a vector for bacteria and viruses.

Your roof provides an easy nesting place for wasps and bees. These nests may be located in a corner or nook of your roof, or the insects may find entry into your attic or roof through small cracks in the roof area. They have been known to enter roofs under tiles or flashing; sometimes they will build nests at the spot where the main portion of your roof meets a dormer, skylight, or other protruding section. A homeowner can protect against insect invaders by ensuring that the roof is kept in good repair, denying them an access point.

The most common aerial pests on your roof are birds. Some birds, such as ravens, will actually peck at shingles and destroy them. In the circumstance that a bird nests in your gutters, the nest materials may clog your downspouts and cause rainfall to back up in your gutters.

Whether your problem is insect, rodent, or bird, your first step is to call a qualified pest-removal vendor that specializes in the safe removal of that particular pest.