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Can Birds Cause Roof Damage? Essential Maintenance Tips for Shore Homes

Houses at the Jersey Shore by Archer Exteriors.

Owning a shore home offers beautiful views and a relaxing environment, but it also comes with unique challenges. Unexpected issues like bird damage can go untreated until they cause significant problems. While this can be a charming reminder of your coastal location, it can also pose a threat to your roofing, along with additional common damages from storms, salt corrosion, and humidity. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you manage these issues effectively.

Understanding the Problem

Collection of shells on a house's roof by Archer Exteriors.

Seashell Damage from Birds

Birds often drop seashells on roofs to break them open and access the food inside. This behavior can lead to an accumulation of shells, causing various issues. We've encountered this firsthand and captured an image showing the extent of seashell accumulation on one of our projects.

Our team at Archer Exteriors has seen the damage birds and seashells can cause, scratching and wearing down roofing materials and blocking gutters and downspouts.

Other Common Shore Home Damages

Living near the coast also brings:

  • Storm Damage: High winds and heavy rains can cause significant roof damage.

  • Salt Corrosion: Salt from the sea can corrode metal components and deteriorate concrete and wood.

  • Humidity Issues: High humidity levels can lead to mold, mildew, and wood rot.

Common Types of Damage

  • Physical Damage: Sharp edges of seashells can scratch and wear down roofing materials, potentially leading to leaks.

  • Blocked Gutters: Accumulated seashells can block gutters and downspouts, causing water overflow and damage to your home’s foundation and roof structure.

Storm Damage
  • Wind Damage: Strong winds can blow off shingles or tiles.

  • Water Damage: Heavy rains can cause leaks and water infiltration.

  • Flying Debris: Storms can hurl debris that damages the roof surface.

Salt Corrosion
  • Rusting: Metal components like nails, fasteners, and flashing can rust.

  • Material Deterioration: Salt can break down concrete and wood over time.

Humidity Issues
  • Mold and Mildew: Excess moisture can lead to mold growth.

  • Wood Rot: High humidity can cause wood to rot, compromising the roof’s structural integrity.

Identifying Signs of Roof Damage

Seashell Damage
  • Visual Signs: Seashells scattered across the roof, scratches, and small cracks.

  • Blocked Gutters: Overflowing water or visible blockage.

Storm Damage
  • Missing Shingles: Obvious gaps in roofing material.

  • Water Leaks: Stains on ceilings or walls.

  • Structural Damage: Warped or sagging areas of the roof.

Salt Corrosion
  • Rust Stains: Visible rust on metal components.

  • Weakened Structures: Signs of deteriorating wood or concrete.

Humidity Issues
  • Visible Mold: Dark, damp patches on the roof or inside the home.

  • Musty Odors: Persistent damp smell.

  • Soft Wood: Wood that feels spongy or soft to the touch.

Preventive Measures

For Seashells
  • Bird Spikes: Installing bird spikes can prevent birds from landing on your roof.

  • Decoys: Placing predator decoys, like owls or hawks, can scare birds away.

  • Netting: Installing netting can keep birds from accessing certain areas of your roof.

  • Regular Cleaning: Regularly clean your roof to remove any seashells and debris.

  • Inspections: Inspect your roof frequently, especially after storms or high winds.

For Storm Damage
  • Reinforced Materials: Use storm-resistant roofing materials.

  • Storm Shutters: Install storm shutters to protect windows.

  • Impact-Resistant Windows: Use windows designed to withstand high winds and flying debris.

For Salt Corrosion
  • Protective Coatings: Apply protective coatings to metal components.

  • Regular Maintenance: Inspect and maintain metal parts regularly to prevent rust.

For Humidity Issues
  • Proper Ventilation: Ensure your home has good ventilation to reduce moisture levels.

  • Dehumidifiers: Use dehumidifiers to control indoor humidity.

  • Moisture Barriers: Install moisture barriers to protect wood and other susceptible materials.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Proper cleaning and maintenance are crucial to managing seashell accumulation and protecting your roof.

Safety Precautions:

  • Wear non-slip shoes and safety gloves.

  • Use a stable ladder and consider having a spotter.

  • If you’re uncomfortable with heights, hire a professional.

Tools and Materials Needed:

  • Leaf blower or broom

  • Safety gloves

  • Gutter cleaning tools

Step-by-Step Guide to Removing Seashells:

  1. Clear the Roof: Use a leaf blower or broom to gently remove seashells. Avoid using high-pressure washers that can damage shingles.

  2. Check Gutters: Inspect and clean gutters to ensure they are free of seashells and debris.

  3. Inspect for Damage: After cleaning, inspect your roof for any signs of damage.

Importance of Regular Cleaning:

  • Regular cleaning and maintenance can prevent the buildup of seashells and other debris, helping to maintain the integrity of your roof.

Repairing Damage

If you find damage caused by seashells or other factors, it’s important to address it promptly.

Assessing the Extent of Damage:

  • Look for cracks, scratches, and worn areas on your roof.

  • Check for signs of leaks and water damage inside your home.

DIY Repair Tips for Minor Damage:

  • Patch small cracks with roofing sealant.

  • Replace damaged shingles or tiles.

When to Call a Professional:

Long-Term Solutions

Installing Bird Deterrents and Roof Guards:

  • Bird spikes, decoys, and netting can be effective long-term deterrents.

  • Professional installation ensures these measures are effective and secure.

Regular Roof Inspections and Maintenance:

  • Schedule seasonal inspections to catch potential issues early.

  • Archer Exteriors provides thorough inspection services to keep your roof in optimal condition.

Benefits of Ongoing Maintenance:

  • Regular maintenance can extend the life of your roof, prevent major issues, and save you money in the long run.

Shell Case Study

Wareham Middle School Incident: In 2019, Wareham Middle School in Massachusetts faced a unique bird problem. Local seagulls dropped quahog shells onto the school’s rubber roof, causing significant damage over time. A recent storm exacerbated the situation, leading to severe water leaks that damaged classrooms, the library, and an IT room. School officials initially blamed the storm for tearing the rubber roof, but inspections revealed the real culprits: hungry seagulls. This incident highlights the importance of addressing bird-related roofing issues promptly to avoid major damage.

Source: Naomi Millán, Senior Editor of Building Operating Management, reported on the issue for WHDH TV 7NEWS.


Managing seashells and other damages on your shore home is crucial to maintaining its integrity and longevity. Implementing preventive measures, regular cleaning, and timely repairs can save you from costly damage. Remember, Archer Exteriors is here to help with all your roofing needs. Contact us today for professional roofing services you can trust. For more information or to schedule a FREE estimate, visit our website or call us at 800-994-2724. Thank you for reading.


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