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Can Fallen Leaves Damage Your Roof?

Fall and its leaves are a prize to look at, but not so much when it comes to cleaning them up.  The most annoying part?  It’s when those leaves start collecting on your roof—the hardest to reach of all places.  Can you leave them to linger or are you unwittingly causing damage to your precious roof?

Long story short—it’s actually not a great thing to let fallen leaves stay up on your roof.  So no, your neighbor isn’t being an overachiever when you see him out there every weekend with a blower and rake, scooping up the leaves from his roof.  There’s a good reason to, that being: it’s your roof, and it’s one of your biggest investments!

can fallen leaves damage your roof

Why Remove Fallen Leaves from Your Roof?

Your roof isn’t impenetrable despite being durable, sturdy, and able to last decades.  In fact, if you don’t take good care of your roof, you might end up seeing a shorter lifespan that what its designed for.  Paying for a new roof can be astronomically expensive, so instead of busting out the big bucks for that upgrade, you’d better take good care of the one you have right now.

That includes removing leaves.  Leaves, when left to sit on your roof system, are liking collecting there because they’re wet.  Wet leaves are no good for anything really, but when plastered against shingles, the situation can quickly lead to rotting, water damage, and structural damage.  That’s a big jump, but if you’ve got a big tree that overhangs your roof, it can definitely happen in a season.

Wet leaves can rot shingles.  This alone is a huge problem because your shingles are your roof’s first line of defense.  If you don’t realize the shingles are rotted, then they can crack, warp, or break off.  Water can sneak in under a broken or missing shingle.  Your roofing system’s underlayment layer can become damaged over time the longer it’s exposed to runoff.  Water can then penetrate your home’s upper structure, creating obvious leaks and structural problems in the attic if left long enough alone.

Ignoring soggy piles on your roof can also mean added weight, which your roof isn’t designed to hold over time.  Wet leaves get pretty heavy pretty fast, and this pressure can exhaust the roofing system, the underlayment, and warp the supporting beams of your home.

Preventing Damage from Fallen Leaves

Ok, so now you know that fallen leaves on your roof is not something you should ignore.  What do you do to prevent damage from occurring?  What’s the best way to remove leaves to ensure your roof can enjoy its full lifespan (and you can avoid paying for repairs—or worse, a replacement)?

Trim Back Your Trees

The best solution in prevention is to go after the source of the leaves: your yard’s trees.  While it’s great to have a big tree shade your house during the summer, it can produce quite a mess in the fall.  Not to mention, it’s less dangerous to have huge limbs reaching over your roof (especially if the tree hasn’t been trimmed or has visibly dying parts that need attention).

Depending on how big and accessible the tree is, you’ll likely have to hire a professional to do the job.  It can be expensive, but remember, you’re protecting the integrity of your roof, your home, and helping to maintain the tree itself.

Clean Your Gutters

Your gutters need to be free and clear to do their job, which is to channel water away from the house’s foundation to prevent damage.  Leaves that remain on the roof will find their way into your gutters, and overflowing gutters means that water runoff is going too close to your house.  Not only is this bad for your roof, it’s could mean a future basement disaster.

Perform a Roof Inspection

You won’t know there are leaves on your roof unless you take the time to peek outside and take a look.  Every homeowner should perform a visual roof inspection—safely from the ground—once every few months.  Check for leaves, broken or missing shingles, and inspect to see if your gutters are clear.

Removing Leaves From Your Roof

While you can take several measures to prevent a lot of leaves from gathering on your roof, you probably won’t stop them all if there are trees nearby.  That being said, you’ll have to learn how to remove them when they begin to pile up so you can avoid a roofing expense down the road.  Here are a few tips to remove leaves off of your roof:

  • Only climb your roof if it has a low pitch: don’t mess around with trying to climb a roof that’s steep.  Leaves won’t stick around on roofs with sharper pitches anyway.
  • Get the right tools: try to avoid climbing on your roof altogether.  Instead, get an extendable rake or use your blower to get the leaves off.
  • Don’t try to remove wet leaves: wait for a dry, windless day to remove leaves.

At Feldco Roofing, we provide breakthrough design and triple layer protection to keep your roof insulated throughout the year. For a roof replacement, our installers are factory trained, experienced and professional to get the job done correctly. Speak to a product specialist and get a free quote online today.

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