If your roof was properly installed using high-quality materials, then it should be able to withstand a lot of what nature has to throw at it, from heavy rain to high winds to scorching heat. However, your roof isn’t invincible, as you likely know. What you might not know is that your roof can be quite vulnerable to the damage that can be caused by leaves. That’s right — leaves. The accumulation of leaves on your roof can lead to all kinds of issues, which is why you might be curious as to what kind of leaves will cause the most problems for your roof.
How Leaves Can Damage Your Roof
Leaves are very light, which means that when leaves fall onto your roof, they’re not going to cause damage on contact. The damage results from those leaves staying in place for long periods of time. The following are a few ways in which the accumulation of leaves on your roof can cause damage.
- Leaves can cause rot and mold – When wet leaves collect, they tend to stick to the roof and clump together. Even leaves that aren’t wet will collect moisture as they sit on your roof. When this happens, they’ll eventually begin to rot and the moisture trapped in the leaves will end up getting into your shingles, which can lead to mold and rot.
- Leaves can cause water leaks and damage – The moisture trapped by a large clump of leaves can leak through the roof and cause water damage. Additionally, the presence of leaves can make it difficult for rainwater to roll down the slope of the roof and into the gutter. Instead, the leaves will trap the rainwater, causing it to sit there until it begins leaking through the shingles. Water damage can also be caused by leaves that clog up your gutters. When a clog forms in your gutter system, water can no longer be properly dispersed. Rainwater can build up and leak through the roof, exterior, windows, or even the foundation.
- Leaves can cause gutter damage – When leaves clog your gutters, rainwater will collect and sit there. Your gutters aren’t built to hold such weight, which means that eventually, they can pull away from the roof.
- Leaves can attract pests – The presence of dead leaves will attract weed growth, such as moss, which will attract more moisture, leading to more potential water damage. Dead leaves, mold, and rot can all attract bugs and other pests.
As far as the type of leaves, it doesn’t really matter. Wet leaves are more likely to stick to your roof and cause issues with moisture sooner, while dead leaves can attract weeds, which in turn can attract pests. As such, all leaves can result in damage to your roof. Because of this, you should have your roof and gutters professionally cleaned whenever you see that leaves are beginning to accumulate. You can also take steps to prevent leaves from landing on your roof in the first place by the way you maintain your landscape.
Maintaining Your Landscape to Prevent Roof Damage
There are a few things you can do to prevent leaves from accumulating on your roof, thereby causing potential damage. The following are a few tips for preventing leaves from causing roof damage:
- Trim your tree branches – Make sure that the branches of nearby trees do not hang over your roof. Cutting them back will help prevent leaves from continuously falling onto your roof every year. It will also prevent those same branches from causing serious damage should they break off and fall.
- Remove nearby trees – Trees that are too close to your home are going to cause all kinds of problems when it comes to leaf accumulation. They may also be in a dangerous position should they fall. The general rule of thumb is to keep trees that are less than 30 feet at least 10 feet away from your home. Trees between 30 and 70 feet tall should be at least 15 feet away from your home. Trees over 70 feet should be at least 20 feet away.
Installing Leaf Screens on Your Gutter System
To prevent leaves from collecting in your gutters and causing clogs (which can lead to gutter damage as well as water leaks and damage), you should consider installing a leaf screen. Leaf screens will allow leaves to simply fall by the wayside instead of settling inside your gutters. If you don’t install a leaf screen, you’re going to end up having to pay a professional to clean your gutters on a regular basis.