There’s a lot of material out there about spray foam roofs and why they’re so great. But hey, a great roof is only as good as the elements it holds up against. One element that gets asked about the climate here around Cleveland, OH is bird pecking.
I mean what good is a foam roof if birds are going to peck at it all day and destroy your investment?
In this post, I’ll share with you the most common questions we get about spray foam roofs and bird pecking.
Let’s get started.
- What’s changed with birds pecking spray foam roofs?
- Do birds peck spray foam roofs?
- Three myths into why birds peck at spray foam roofs
- Can you get a bird-proofing warranty?
- Will locations near water have more of a bird-pecking problem?
- Will seagulls peck at a spray foam roof?
- What can I do to prevent birds from pecking on my roof?
1. What’s changed with birds pecking spray foam roofs?
From the 1960s until the late 1990s, granules weren’t used with spray foam roofs. A spray foam application was laid down and silicone coating was placed over top. Since the 90s, the spray foam industry has realized the granule application had two performance enhancements:
- Granules make the spray foam roof less slippery
- Granules enhance impact resistance to hail, foot traffic, and bird pecking
Simply put, since the 1990s, bird pecking almost went away with a single application of granules.
So, do birds peck roofs at all?
2. Do birds peck spray foam roofs?
However, just because it’s a spray foam roof with granules doesn’t mean your roof is guaranteed to be pecked.
Roofs near schools and bodies of water are at a higher risk of birds pecking than others.
Why do birds peck at foam roofs?
3. Three myths about why birds peck at spray foam roofs
Myth #1 – Birds are pecking/drinking water on the roof
Some roofs will develop small bird baths or small water ponds. The birds will land near the small bath and drink the water or attempt to splash the water onto its face. While playing with the water, the bird will inadvertently peck at the foam roof.
Myth #2 – There’s a “sweet” chemical in the base formulation of spray foam
Some will say there’s a sucrose-based chemical in spray foam. While it’s never been studied, some will claim birds can smell the “sweetness”, or accidentally bite or chip into a piece of spray foam, getting a sense of sweetness.
Myth #3 – Granules are perfect for the gizzard
It’s true that all birds have gizzards, but not all of them will swallow stones or grit. Not sure what a gizzard is?
A gizzard is a muscular, thick-walled part of a bird’s stomach for grinding food.
The bird can use a piece of granule to grind bird seed or other types of food. When the birds are pecking your roof, a myth is that they’re just picking up a piece of granule.
4. Can you get a bird-proofing warranty?
There are bird-proof warranties that are covered by the manufacturer.
What goes into that bird-proof warranty?
A contractor will always coat and apply granules to a spray form roof. To make it “bird-proof”, the contractor will add a second layer of coating and the second set of granules.
5. Will a building near water have more of a bird pecking problem?
Lakewood City Schools in Ohio has a bell tower close to Lake Erie, and that roof would just get destroyed!
None of the surrounding roofs would get touched, just that one.
But we finally got enough coating and granules to where the birds couldn’t peck through it anymore, and it stopped.
6. Will seagulls peck at a spray foam roof?
Seagulls tend to flock together in batches of hundreds, so they can inflict some mechanical damage when they come.
A typical scenario is that the school’s dumpster will provide a food source for the seagulls. The seagulls will come and take food up onto the nearby roof. When they’re eating the food, they’re inadvertently pecking at your foam roof.
7. What can I do to prevent birds from pecking on my roof?
Having two layers of coating and two applications of granules significantly reduces any damage potential. If so, then any damage created is covered.
Another way to prevent birds from pecking is to deter the birds from ever coming onto your roof. There are a few ways you can do this:
Way #1 – Purchase fake owls
Owls are natural predators of birds. It may take them a while to realize that the owl is fake and cannot hurt them, but for the time being, this is a great, low-cost, first option.
Way #2 – High-pitched noises
High-pitched noise devices, like this, have been proven to deter birds:
Way #3 – meshing
Using mesh or fishing wire can prevent birds from having a place to land on a roof.
Way #4 – Powder-Actuated Cannons
Have a serious problem with birds? Powder-actuated cannons might be the best solution:
Using the cannons is no joke. We’ve been on multiple roofs that will have 4-6 of these things running on a timer to make sure birds don’t land on a roof.
Bird-Pecking Foam Takeaways
The next time you think about birds pecking a spray foam roof, consider your climate, how close to water or a school you are, and if purchasing a bird-proof warranty makes sense.
The last thing you want to do is have mechanical damage to your new spray foam roof.
A spray foam roof is a big investment that can last 20-35 years if taken care of right.
The last thing I would take away is, that birds can peck a spray foam roof, but with granules, the problem virtually went away. With a bird-proof warranty (double coating and granules), bird pecking is almost non-existent. And if not, try a powder-actuated cannon!