How to Repair a Woodpecker-Damaged Roof of a Lazy Hill Dovecote Birdhouse

Welcome to the 371st Metamorphosis Monday!

Greetings! How was your weekend? Hope it was great! Mine was productive and I’m happy to report that I was able to successfully repair the damaged roof of my Lazy Hill Dovecote and restore it back to the garden in time for the spring nesting season. You may remember a woodpecker (we suspect a Pileated Woodpecker) drilled a huge hole into the roof almost two years ago.

Dove Cote Damaged by Woodpecker 2_wm


I delayed repairing it because Good Directions, the company that now makes all the Lazy Hill birdhouses, no longer uses cedar shingles. They build all their bird houses using redwood shingles, now. I was concerned redwood shingles wouldn’t match the existing cedar shingles, and was never able to find cedar shingles (or cedar wood pieces that could be cut into shingles) in the right thickness needed to repair the roof.

Dove Cote Damaged by Woodpecker 3_wm


Fearing the house would be forever ruined if I didn’t do something soon, I finally settled on using redwood shingles. Good Directions kindly sent the shingles I’d need, along with another bird house I purchased at that time. (The new bird house can be seen in this post: Copper Roof Dovecote)

Shingles to Repair Dovecote Birdhouse Roof Attacked by Woodpecker


I removed the damaged dovecote from the post and brought it in about a week or so ago. It had been raining so the roof was really wet. That’s why it looks so dark in these photos.

While awaiting the shingles in the mail, I pulled out and discarded all the nests I found in the various nesting cavities of the house. You’re always supposed to clean out old nests from bird houses because they can have ants or other parasites in them, plus most birds just want to build their own nest from scratch.

I also started cleaning the exterior in preparation of giving the house another coat of paint. When I first purchased this dovecote back in 2008, I had just had the exterior of my home painted with Sherwin Williams, Duration, the paint my painter highly recommended. He said it would last a very long time and it has!

When this dovecote first arrived back in 2008, the paint looked very thin, so I gave it a coat of the SW Duration paint. Underneath all the dirt, you can see the siding has held up well.

Lazy Hill Dovecote After Woodpecker Damage


In addition to cleaning the exterior, I finished removing the remaining broken and splintered pieces of the damaged shingles (see arrows below) along with the nails that had held them in place. Truthfully, I think the whole house could stand to be re-roofed, but the cost for the shingles to re-roof the entire house would be $150. I may still re-roof the house down the road at some point. After making this repair, I feel fairly confident I could do it, if necessary. Okay, back to the repair.

Notice the gaping hole near the bottom of the right side where the arrow is pointing. As I worked on the house, I noticed a couple of the perches were really loose. Over the years the wood had shrunk a bit and I think that may have caused a few of the perches to come loose. You can see the perches laying there on the towel in front of the house.

Lazy Hill Dovecote Roof Damaged by Pileated Woodpecker


I removed the two loose perches and using wood glue, reattached those back to the bird house.

Repairing perches on Lazy Hill Dovecote


Next I got to work filling the large hole Mr. Woodpecker left with this spray foam insulation. Spray foam insulation is what the folks at Good Directions suggested I use to make the repair. I wasn’t worried about the birds coming in contact with the insulation because there’s a wood floor to the attic space of the house, so the nesting cavities on the upper level do not have access to the area where I sprayed this foam insulation.

Foam Insulation, Dovecote Roof Repair


When I first sprayed it, it didn’t really expand like I was expecting it too. So I added a bit more. I left the room for a few minutes and when I came back, it looked like this! Yikes! I ended up slicing off the excess with a knife later on after it had completely hardened up.

Foam Insulation to Fill Hole in Dovecote Roof


While I waited for the insulation to harden up overnight, I caulked around the bottom of the house where the sides connect to the base. Next, I gave the siding a coat of exterior paint, the same that’s on my own home, as mentioned before. Afterwards I noticed there were a good many cracks where the sections that make up the sides had shrunk over the years, so I caulked all those and repainted those areas.

Lazy Hill Dovecotes are now made with cellular vinyl so I don’t think this will be a problem with the new dovecote I ordered. I don’t think cellular vinyl will react to the elements the way wood tends to do.

Older Lazy Hill Dovecote, Reparing Cracks


By the time I had finished cleaning out all the nests, cleaning the house, repairing the two perches that had loosened, had repaired the hole in the roof with foam insulation and sanded, caulked and painted the bird house, the new shingles had arrived in the mail.

To attach the shingles, I used my DeWalt Brad Nailer seen in this photo below when I built a Cubby Organizer. (Brad Nailer is available here: DeWalt Brad Nailer)

Gluing and Nailing Walls of Pottery Barn Inspired Cubby Organizer_wm


See the tutorial for this Pottery Barn Inspired Cubby Organizer here: Cubby Organizer

Cubby Organizer Knock-off, Pottery Barn Inspired


When I built the organizer, I purchased three different size brad nails for that project. Fortunately, the 1-1/4 inch nails I bought back then, were exactly what I needed for the roof repair. (Notice the nail I removed from the dovecote lying on top of the box alongside the example picture on the box.)

DeWalt Brad Nails for Repair of Lazy Hill Dovecote Roof


The nail brad gun worked great for the repair! I noticed each of the older shingles was held in place with three nails, so I nailed the new shingles on in the exact same way.

Repairing Roof, Lazy Hill Dovecote with Redwood Shinges


To roof a house like this, you start at the very bottom because as you progress upward, each successive layer of shingles overlaps the layer below. That meant trouble lay ahead for me once I reached the upper level, but I decided to deal with that issue once I got there.

Dovecote Birdhouse Roof Repair with Redwood Shingles


I had to use a pair of needle-nose pliers to reach up under the remaining shingles to remove the old nails that had held some of the shingles damaged by Mr. Woodpecker. There was no way to slide the new shingles up underneath, with the old nails still there blocking the way.

I found the best technique for that was to slide the pliers up under the shingle and then pull firmly sideways, thus avoiding dislodging the shingle. Using that technique, the nail would come right out. The hardest part was just seeing up under the shingle to find the nail. A flashlight helped for that.

Redwood Shingles for Repair of Lazy Hill Dovecote


I was really glad Good Directions had sent along some extra shingles because one of the shingles cracked as I nailed it into place. (See arrow below.) I removed the cracked shingle and replaced it with a good one.

DIY Lazy Hill Dovecote Roof Repair


I’m not sure why but when I got to this row, (see arrow) two shingles weren’t enough to fill the gap, but three were too many. I remembered having removed a very skinny piece of wood, thinking it was a piece of a shingle left from the woodpecker damage, but once I ran into this issue, I decided that maybe the person who originally roofed the house had run into the same space issue and had split a shingle in half. I found the piece I had removed and reinstalled it back to fill the gap. (See arrow below.)

Now I just had one last row to go and it was going to be a pain because there was no way to nail it where the nails wouldn’t show since the row of shingles above was in the way.

Cedar Shingles to Repair Dovecote Roof


So for the last three remaining shingles, I used this: Fabri-tac. At first I tried to use wood glue, but because I was gluing the shingles on in a vertical position, the wood glue kept running right out from under the shingles and down the roof of the bird house. Ugh.

Fabri-tac worked great because it’s like a glue gun in a bottle. It’s not very runny at all. I just noticed this picture of Fabri-tac doesn’t mention that you can use it on wood, but the bottle I have clearly states that it works on “wood and trims.”

Fabri-Tac Glue

In addition to the Fabri-tac adhesive, I was able to sneak one brad nail into each of those last three shingles by slanting the brad nail up under the row of shingles above, and hammering it in with the edge of the needle-nose pliers. The redwood shingles are relatively soft and pretty easy to get a nail through, so that helped.

Lazy Hill Birdhouse Dovecote Repaired After Woodpecker Damage


The old finial had definitely seen better days and was beyond repair. In fact, just handling it made it fall apart.

Birdhouse Finial After Years Exposed to Weather


Good Directions kindly sent me a new finial. While I was awaiting its arrival, for fun I stuck this little ceramic birdie I’ve had for years, on top. The bird conveniently has a hole in the bottom and it fit perfectly over the tall screw that was still sticking out of the top of the dovecote. I thought it looked pretty cute up there!

Lazy Hill Dovecote with a Bird Finial


I had a problem with the new finial: the hole in the finial wasn’t near as large as it needed to be. I ended up having to widen the hole a good bit with my drill. I kept trying slightly larger drill bits until I got the hole to the perfect size, but I could tell the pressure of trying to screw the new finial onto the house was risky. It just felt like I was going to shove the top through and into the house. Plus, the screw began to just spin around and around. That was not going to work.

So I used an even larger drill bit and made the hole in the finial large enough to fit over the screw that was sticking out of the top of the house.

Lazy Hill Birdhouse Repair After Woodpecker Damage


Then I put some wood glue and some Fabri-tac over the screw and glued the finial into place.

Lazy Hill Dovecote Roof Repaired with New Finial


Here’s how the house looked after my repairs–whole once more! I also used some brass polish to polish the little Lazy Hill brass plate on the front of the house. It polished up very nicely.

Lazy Hill Dovecote Birdhouse Repaired After Woodpecker Damage


The lighting was much better outside, so I took one more photo before installing the house back atop the pole in the garden.  What do you think? Think it will hang in there for a few more years?

Lazy Hill Dovecote Birdhouse Repaired, Ready To Go In The Garden


I’ve read recently that redwood turns gray when exposed to the elements. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the redwood shingles on my bird house read the same article. For now, I’ve installed the house with the repaired section facing away from my home and driveway. There’s a row of Crepe Myrtles on that side so once they fill out this spring, no one will even notice the repair.

Once the new shingles gray out on the bird house, I can unscrew the house and rotate it around if I want the little Lazy Hill brass plate to be visible from my side again. I like having it visible, but I don’t think it’s worth the hassle of rotating the house later on.

Lazy Hill Dovecote Bird House, Back in Garden After Roof Repair


So here’s how it looks from my yard.

Lazy Hill Dovecote in Garden


So we went from this…

Lazy Hill Dovecote Roof Damaged by Woodpecker


…to this…

Lazy Hill Dovecote Birdhouse Repaired, Ready To Go In The Garden


…to this. As soon as the weather warms up, I’m going to wash down the pole and give it a new coat of exterior paint.

Lazy Hill Dovecote in Garden


I need to weed and re-work my perennial garden but hopefully it will look more like this later in the summer. At least, that’s the goal! 🙂

Perennial Garden with Dovecote Bird House


If you would like a Lazy Hill Dovecote for your garden, you’ll find this style available here: Lazy Hill Dovecote

Lazy Hill Dove Cote


The one I just purchased recently is this one with a copper roof, and it’s available here: Lazy Hills Dovecote with Copper Roof

BTW, an 8 ft, 4 x 4 pressure treated pole is perfect for installing this house in the garden. That’s what I have my current dovecote on and once you sink it into the ground, it makes it a great height for viewing and for the birds.

You can find pressured treated 4 x 4 poles at almost any hardware store and they are not expensive at all, I think under $10. Make sure it’s a pressure treated 4 x 4 so it will not rot or get eaten by termites. Mine has been in the ground for 8 years and is still in great shape.

Lazy Hill Copper Roof Dovecote Birdhouse


Looking forward to all the wonderful Before and Afters for this Metamorphosis Monday!

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  1. Susan, I am so totally impressed with your dovecote renovation!! You really rocked it, not only with creative supplies, but with your patience in the job. I would’ve probably just ended up pitching it for all the tediousness. I love how it looks, and even though it will eventually weather evenly, it wears its battle scars well. 🙂 A great met! Thanks for hosting us

  2. What a great job and repair on your birdhouse Susan! Our dovecote could use some TLC and a coat of paint 🙂

  3. You never cease to amaze me Susan, I swear you can fix anything and the result is always so professional! I’ve got to get that Fabri-Tac, glue gun in a bottle sounds very handy! Thanks for the party today-

  4. You are one clever and handy person! What a difference!! Have you considered using some outdoor stain to stain all of the shingles? It might help them last a little longer. Thanks for the glue recommendation. Is there one you like for China and porcelain? I have a sometimes rambunctious kitty!

    • Thanks, Roxanne! That probably would have been a great idea when I first got it, but now the old shingles are so fragile/brittle after 8 years of exposure, I’d be afraid to mess with them very much.
      Roxanne, in answer to glue recommendations, check out this post and you can see what I used when I repaired a rooster:
      Also, be sure and read some of the comments because folks made some great suggestions in that post for how to repair ceramic pieces, etc… I’m still getting comments on that post with additional suggestions from time to time.

  5. Fabulous job and good as new, Susan!!!!!! So happy that you were able to restore it. Hugs -Brenda-

  6. Susan, you are fearless. I’m amazed at what you can do if you decide you’re going to do it. You did a great job on the new roof for the birds. Thank you for hosting.

  7. Thanks so much for the party!!


  8. Susan, your patience and attention to detail is second only to your generous sharing of information. I am not a blogger but stumbled upon your website while googling one day and felt as if I had found a kindred spirit. While I work as an attorney up in New York my passion is decorating and renovations. Your blog is so inspiring. I cant wait to install a dovecote this spring! Thank you.

  9. Look at you go – next you’re going to show us how to repair the roof on YOUR house !
    I’m impressed that it’s lasted 7 years and looks like it’ll last another 20 !
    Thanks for the party Susan 🙂

    • lol I don’t think I’m brave enough to get up there! Thanks, Suzan! I hope it does, too. I’ve grown attached to it now so I’m not above re-roofing the whole thing if I have to one day. 🙂

  10. Jane Franks says

    You are amazing! Great job! Love your perennial garden, too, and the dovecote looks wonderful in that spot!! Thanks for sharing!!

  11. Can I be your neighbor? It just looks so charming!
    You have a special gift in the way you write your posts. You make a mundane task so darned interesting.

  12. Have you ever used E6000? It’s a little bit smelly at first, but it works on EVERYTHING! Your repair job looks great. Since the birdpecker hole only went into the attic, I might have left it as another entrance (and figured out how to add a balcony?)

    • I have, but not in a long time. I think I still have some. That would have been good for this too. I can remember, does it dry really fast? The Fabri-tac bonds and dries almost instantly, just like a hot glue gun, except it isn’t hot so you can’t burn yourself. I wondered if a bird might think about using it that way. I was worried the floor to that attic space would rot…not sure how much rain was getting in there during heavy storms. Thankfully it was still in good shape, I shined a flashlight in there and was amazed it was still looking good after all this time.

  13. Wow, Susan! You did such a great job on the repairs!! It looks beautiful! Thanks for hosting. I’m finally back to the party scene after my blog migration and redesign. Thank you for taking the time to answer my emails regarding migrating to WordPress. It was so kind of you! Have a lovely week. Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

  14. Great job fixing your birdhouse Susan! Thanks so much for the party too:). Have a good week and take care, Tara

  15. It looks fabulous! And I was really noticing your pretty manicure! Have a great day, Susan!

    • Thanks, Jan! It’s not very pretty anymore, I kind of ruined it on the birdhouse work. I love that polish. It’s a gel polish by OPI and its from the Hello Kitty 2016 line. The color is, “Let’s Be Friends.” It’s the prettiest shade of pink…very soft. I liked it so much, I bought a bottle on Amazon so if the place I normally get gel nails done (when I have them done) runs out, I’ll still have some, at least for a little while.

  16. Hi Susan,
    Love the birdhouse! I recently bought Fabric Tac glue and love it. I am using it on my decorated lampshades. Great stuff! Thanks for hosting again this week. I have linked up. 🙂

  17. Wow, Susan! When the word gets out in the bird world that there are renovated digs at your home you’re going to have a full house (maybe even a waiting list!). What a great job you did on the repair. I marvel at your commitment to start a task and then finish it with excellence. You are such an inspiration, at so many levels, and such a great source of information. And I know Mother Nature’s creatures appreciate you, too!! Rosie

    • lol Yep, it’s the Ritz-Carlton now of the birdie world! 😉 Definitely a 5-star ranking, I think. (hee, hee) Thanks, Rosie!

  18. Hi Susan
    I recently purchased the copper roof birdhouse from Lazy Hill. I was so excited to get it and opened the box and there was a big dent on the roof.
    Iam waiting for UPS to pick it up today. There was no damage on the outside of box.
    Better luck on next one.
    You did an awesome repair job. Kudos !!!

  19. Have never seen a woodpecker hole that close. They can really go at it! Job well done.

    • They can! At first he only drilled about half way through because I think I interrupted him when I was working out in the yard. But when the coast was clear, he came back! He probably heard some insects or something down inside the house, or was looking for a place to get warm because that happened right after we had snow here.

  20. Wow! That was a fabulous repair! I am completely impressed. I am good with a glue gun, but that’s about the extent of my “building” skills. I hope Mr. Woodpecker respects your handiwork and finds himself a nice tree this year instead! 😉 Thanks for the party, Susan!

    • lol Me, too! I think I’ll sit down and cry if he comes back and does the same thing to the other side. Hopefully he will not do that again. Thanks, Kim!

  21. Wow! You are a true carpenter. I hope those birds appreciate you. ❣

    • Thanks, Susan! I hope it’s not too late for the bluebirds to consider nesting there again. I think they have already started checking out the local real estate since the days are getting warmer.

  22. I am amazed, Susan, at your handiwork! I need to be more in the “repair it”
    state of mind than the “replace it” state of mind I find myself in mostly. You did a fabulous job! Thanks for the step by step tutorials on so many things, from crafts to repairs to purchases to recipes and, of course, your fabulous tablescapes. This remains my favorite blog of all. We’re at 72 in Memphis, so warmer weather should be on the way to you soon!

  23. KathleenfromCA says

    You are incredible! You are so creative!

  24. Man, you are something else! Is there anything you cannot do?
    I only discovered your blog a few months ago and I’ve been taking my time moseying through your old postings. I discovered your fantastic perennial garden. Is there a possibility of your updating us on what it looks like now, and what you’ve learned? Also, would you provide a graph so we can try to duplicate it? You could include what you found to be aggressive or invasive growers and what you would do or not do again. I’ve learned so much from you!

    • Thanks, Yolie! Appreciate that! The last few years, it’s has gotten pretty weedy. I’ve got an invasive vine that keeps coming back. It’s really time for me to completely redo it, I just haven’t found anyone to help me with it. The root system on some of the plants is HUGE, so I need to get someone with some strong equipment to help me get some of thee plants out so I can redo the whole garden. I still have my list of all the plants I purchased for it back whenI first planted it. I’m sure I’ll want to keep a lot of those but probably ad some new ones. It’s a sun-loving perennial garden. I’m not sure how well it will do with the crepe myrtles getting so big behind it. When I redo it, I’ll definitely post about it. The most important thing is digging the bed really deep and enriching the soil if it needs it. Here we have a lot of red clay so we have to amend the soil before we ever plant anything. Then you just want to stagger the heights of the plants with taller plants toward the back. You want to try and have something blooming at all times, so that takes some planning. I like to buy perennials that have been voted “Perennial of the year,” or are known for being long blooming. Love those!

  25. Definitely a “labor of love”..I get so impatient when I have projects like this and usually try to pass them off onto my husband, so I’m doubly impressed:) I truly enjoy your page and your ideas!

  26. You are really amazing in that nothing stops you! All the things you do on your own amaze me. Beautiful job! Thanks again for hosting your party!!

  27. Great job! You always inspire me!!

    Big Texas Hugs,
    Susan and Bentley

  28. Anytime you post anything about birds I so wish my Mother was here for me to share. Love your tenacity.

  29. Wow dear Susan, it is gorgeous!! I so love birds and Spring surely brings all the chirping to the garden and windows in my case.
    You did an awesome job my friend.
    Have a great week and thanks for the party… very inspiring today.

  30. Thank you for hosting Susan!

  31. Love the ‘renovation’. I’m thinking every birdie in town wishes they could hire you. Awesome job! I’m a Fabritac fan too. That stuff stays put! E6000 works great too and things wouldn’t slide around while waiting for the glue to set, but I find lately that that the container is much flimsier than in previous years and it’s hard to keep the left-overs from drying out.

  32. Wow Susan, you are so handy. It looks awesome and ready for many more seasons. Thanks so much for hosting.

  33. bobbi duncan says

    Well worth all the effort–looks terrific!!!! If anyone can, you can. Fabritac was a smart solution.

  34. The repair looks really good, Susan. Have you thought about taking a photo once a week, or so, to capture the process of the shingles weathering to gray?

    • Thanks! I can’t remember now how fast it grayed out the last time, so that would be kinda cool to do. I’ll try to remember to do that every month or so. I think it will take a while.

  35. Cyndi Raines says

    Well done Susan! I love the dovecote and am tempted to purchase one, but I don’t think I could bring myself to do the meal worms in the fridge like you do! Probably wouldn’t be as successful either without them. Where will you put the copper roof one? Front or back yard?

  36. Wendy-Louise Keyser says

    Susan, Thank-you a hundred times over ! Same thing happened to my exact bird house and so I contacted the company and they gave me your web page for the right way to fix it. I used to follow you and some how in the business of life I lost you. So glad for this and I am now on your automatic updates, I won’t loose you again! You are tremendously organized and creative, Thank-you so much for sharing the sweetness and fun of life, you are right up there with Susan Branch!!! Take care and Thanks again for your positive ways, we need more people like you. OX Wendy-Louise

    • Thanks so much, Wendy! I’m so glad this post is helpful…that makes my day to hear that! And thanks for that lovely comment. I absolutely adore Susan Branch so appreciate that so much! 🙂 Good luck with your birdhouse repair. It was actually easier than I thought it would be!

  37. rattlebridge farm says

    Oh, wow–this is a great tutorial. The dovecote is so classic and elegant, I’m glad you researched this and showed how to repair it, as I’m betting I’ll be back here to reread your post in a few years. For the Georgian, I bought a Lazy Hill birdhouse similar to your old one after seeing it on your blog (sold the house before I ever took the house and pole out of the box! Now I’m figuring out where to put it at the burger). I didn’t know the company had been sold, but the new people sure do sound helpful. I saw your previous post about the copper-topped bird house, and it is gorgeous! We have many woodpeckers around here, and I always heard they won’t peck cedar (old wives’ tale?). I did get a copper-topped feeder, and my cardinals just love it–but so do the squirrels. They swarmed it today. LOL But they are cute.

    • Thanks, Michael! Mine lasted a long, long time before a wily woodpecker decided to renovate it, so hopefully you won’t need this tutorial for a very long time. 🙂
      My woodpecker must not have heard because he sure went to town on this cedar roof. lol They use redwood now…wonder how woodpeckers feel about redwood. That’s funny…didn’t know squirrels like those. I still haven’t put my copper one up yet…need to do that soon.

  38. Where did you get the shingles for the repair? Can’t find them anywhere.

  39. Thank you so much! I hope the new pvc vinyl dovecotes look as good as yours. Did you sink the 4×4 2 feet into the ground?

    • Thanks! No, I can never dig the hole that deep into the hard Georgia clay. It’s probably closer to 16 inches when I dig the hole. Georgia clay is so dense and compact, I’ve never had a dovecote or birdhouse fall over. If you live where the soil is sandier or not so dense, you may want to dig two feet down.

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