Trees may provide shade and look nice on your property, but they can be a major enemy to the roof. Everything from a falling branch to a collection of fall leaves could be the harbinger of a major repair. Preventative measures can help you enjoy both your trees and a sound roof.
Prevention Tactic #1: Keep Them Trimmed
The most obvious cause of roof damage is a broken limb puncturing the roof or knocking loose the shingles, but even an intact, rubbing branch can cause major damage. A rubbing branch wears down the outer coating on the shingles, which can leave it open to leaks and make it more likely to break apart before the rest of the roof requires replacement.
The simplest way to combat both broken and rubbing branch damage is to keep your trees trimmed back. Make sure that any overhanging branches are healthy and not a major risk for breakage, and trim back any branches that actually touch the roofing material.
Prevention Tactic #2: Manage the Roof Litter
Leaves and branches can collect on a roof, especially along the valleys. If you let these materials collect, it can lead to mold and algae growth. Even worse, small animals may nest in the collected litter, where they will eventually burrow beneath shingles and cause holes or major leaks.
Cleaning off the tree litter each fall and spring is the simplest way to manage problems. You may also want your roofer to install zinc strips near the roof ridge, which will prevent moss growth on the roof in areas shaded by trees.
Prevention Tactic #3: Guard the Trouble Spots
Even with frequent roof cleaning and tree trimming, problem spots from rubbing or falling branches can occur. If you know that some areas are more prone to damage, ask about a common roofer's trick to prevent it before it happens.
It's common for roofers to create reinforced pathways on the roof where foot traffic is expected, such as to access an air conditioning unit. The roofer does this by installing a double layer of shingles. Your roofer can double up the shingles on known tree problem spots, as well. This means the under-layer of shingles will protect your roof from leaks if the first layer fails or becomes damaged.
Proactive roof care helps prevent full replacement or a major leak down the road. If you do notice any damage from nearby trees, schedule a quick roof repair so your little problem doesn't become a major issue.