Oftentimes when buying a new home people prefer a yard with lots of mature trees because they are beautiful and add curb appeal. Having trees can offer blooming flowers and can supply shade, however they come at a cost. In many ways trees can reduce the lifespan of your roof unless you take proper steps to prevent it. With annual tree management you can prevent almost all damage that can be caused by intruding trees.
Trees surrounding your property aren’t always bad and there are many reasons to keep them around. Under the right circumstances trees can offer shingle protection and many other benefits.
Blocking the wind: Large trees that are taller than your home’s roof can block wind, which reduces the effect on your home and shingles, especially when a big storm hits.
Providing UV protection: Mature trees provide lots of shade which aids in protection from harmful UV rays from the sun. Over time UV rays slowly age your asphalt shingles along with other roofing materials.
Controlling summer temperatures: In the summer months shade from your trees helps reduce heat on your roof and also inside your home. Shingles absorb a lot of heat from the sun and can soak it up back into your home, making your AC bill much higher.
While there are many benefits for having some foliage around your home, there are also many ways in which trees can damage your homes roof.
The most obvious way that a tree can cause more harm than good would be when trees fall from either old age or a storm, onto your roof.
Branches falling from trees can also damage and scratch shingles on the roof of your home, and even hit windows creating a problem. Branches can be blown off from a strong storm and find their way on your home’s roof. If the branches are larger in size that can add unnecessary weight causing dents or even holes. Most of this type of damage usually takes place in the winter time as snow and ice creates more weight on the trees, causing branches to fall.
If you don’t hire an arborist to prune the trees in your yard, you can get on a ladder and do it yourself to prevent branches that hang over your roof. If you let the low hanging branches get out of hand they will rub against the roof scratching away the granules which is the protective layer on shingles. If this has happened to your roof, be sure to call your local roofing contractor to assess the damage.
Certain types of trees drop their needles and leaves each fall and make a big mess on your roof and in your yard. These debris if not properly taken care of can clog your gutters which will make rain water pool on the roof causing damaging leaks. Leaves left on top of the roof absorb moisture from the air and rain that promotes mold, moss, and algae growth, reducing the lifespan of your shingles. Along with annual cleanups you can hire a local roofing contractor to install gutter guards to help prevent buildup of leaves and debris in your home’s gutters.
Having trees in your yard that offer some shade has its benefits but if your home is always shaded with little to no sunlight that can pose a problem because it will be difficult for your roof to dry off. If the roof is always wet this is obviously an issue that will cause mold, moss and algae growth. Along with many trees shading your property come with animals that inhabit these trees, some finding their way onto your roof and making a home. It is wise to cut back all branches that lead to your roof to eliminate debris and animals.
How far should tree branches be from my house?
A good rule of thumb is to keep tree branches at least 6ft away from your home’s roof. If you are planting new trees you should start 20-30 feet away from your home to ensure the branches that eventually grow will not touch the roof. Be sure to check with your homeowners insurance policy to see if they have certain requirements about tree distance. Typically if you neglect maintaining your homes property and damage is caused by overgrown trees and debris it may not be covered by your policy.
How to prevent roof damage from trees?
- Trim tree branches that are starting to look old that can be easily blown off and cause damage, or hire an arborist to remove and trim the trees surrounding your home.
- It is important to prune young trees to control the growth, pruning regularly will allow for stronger branches and trunks which will be less likely to break off in a storm.
- Clean up debris regularly from the roof and gutters as much as possible. If you have trees that drop debris not just in the fall, but all year it is important to keep up with the maintenance.
- Be sure to cut down trees that are not stable, also check with your city first for bylaws/ Some species of trees are protected and are not allowed to be cute down. Some local areas even do not allow the removal of trees with a certain trunk diameter.
What if my neighbor’s tree branches are touching my roof?
If you live in close proximity to your neighbors then you might have tree branches and debris that get too close to your home. The first thing you want to do is politely ask them if you can trim back their trees that fall on your property line. If you ask them to do it chances are they won’t, or they won’t be as thorough as you might be. If they refuse to do so you can turn to the city which will have bylaws in place to force your neighbor to deal with the overgrown tree issue. These laws vary by location so you can look them up and seek legal action if you choose. Even though you may have branches and debris on your property, the tree itself is on your neighbors property and you legally cannot trim it without permission.
What if my neighbor’s tree has fallen on my home?
Most Likely your insurance company will cover the damage depending on your policy. Be sure to let your insurance adjuster know that the tree that fell on your home was not on your property, so your deductible isn’t affected and your neighbor is held responsible for damages. In the off chance that your policy does not cover tree damage then you will end up paying for damages out of pocket. You can pursue legal action against your neighbor for the damages caused by their tree, but hopefully you can resolve issues without. Of course this can all be avoided by regularly pruning trees on your property and communicating with your neighbors about their trees before they get out of hand.
When should I remove a tree?
You may be wondering how to know if a tree is ill or old and when to cut it down. Some things you should look for would be large cracks or splitting of tree trunks, and if illness has developed. You can visibly spot fungus that grows on trees, this will cause branches to die and easily be blown off creating potential damage. If you have trees with invasive roots they can pose an issue to your home’s foundation. Also look for peeling bark that is an indication a tree is infected, the shedding can be normal is there is new bark underneath.
Jon Dominic says
Thank you for sharing the informative blog post about how trees can damage the roof. The ways and steps you have mentioned here will most definitely help me to increase the lifespan of my roof.