While your roof experiences a great deal of general wear and tear due to its exposure to the elements, by far one of the worst causes of damage isn't the weather at all. Birds and pests that take up residence in your roof can tear away at roofing materials and make leaks much more likely, and there is also the possibility of animals finding their way into your home itself. Thankfully, there are a few things that you can do to discourage animals from causing damage to your roof.
Trim Tree Branches
The most important thing that you should do to discourage pests from getting onto your roof is to trim back any trees or other plant growth which overhangs your roof. This eliminates the most common pathway for squirrels, rats, and other small animals to make it onto your roof. A fringe benefit of doing this is that it will also reduce the overall amount of organic debris that will collect on your roof, reducing the amount of maintenance and cleaning that you'll have to do.
Clean the Gutters
Another relatively simple way to discourage animals from going onto or near your roof is to clean out your gutters. This is for two reasons: firstly, stagnant water can provide a breeding ground for insects, which can then spread into your roof and attic. Secondly, the materials and insects that collect in clogged gutters will also attract birds, who can make their nests in your gutters, and other animals that feed off of the insects, which may also take up residence on or in your roof.
If you don't already have a cap over your chimney installed, you'll want to contact a roofing contractor to have one installed. These caps leave a large enough opening to allow smoke to get out of your chimney, but they will prevent animals from nesting inside (as well as loose debris falling in), reducing the risk of animals getting into your home and preventing a potential fire hazard.
General Inspections and Maintenance
Beyond the specific recommendations mentioned above, the most important way to ensure that animals don't find their way into your home is to keep an eye on the condition of your roof and to complete repairs as soon as they are needed. Damaged and ripped-off shingles, which can happen normally due to stormy weather and age, provide an ideal entryway for animals.
Contact pest control services in your area for additional advice.