Spotting Roof Damage From Trees
If you’re like many homeowners, you only think about your roof when you know there’s something wrong with it – but what if your trees (or your neighbor’s trees) are damaging it? How can you tell, and what can you do to stop the issue before it becomes any worse? This guide explains how to spot roof damage from trees and what you can do about it.
Roof Damage From Trees: How to Spot Trouble From a Mile Away
Though roof damage from trees isn’t always immediately obvious, and it sometimes requires a little sleuthing on your part to discover. There are a few tell-tale signs that branches are causing problems with your roof. (And naturally, sometimes roof damage caused by trees is obvious, such as after a storm.)
Some of the most common signs of a roof that’s been damaged by trees include:
- Scratched, cracked or broken shingles
- Missing shingles
- Mold or moss growth
- Leaf litter and fallen needles
- Dropping nuts and fruits that can rot on your roof
- Dampness due to decreased sunlight
- Animals (such as squirrels) spending time on your roof
Here’s a closer look at each.
Related: How to tell if your roof has hail damage
Scratched, Cracked or Broken Shingles
The most obvious sign of tree-related roof damage is when you can actually see that the shingles have been damaged. Look for scratches, cracks or breaks, as well as shingles that seem to be curling up or otherwise not lying flat.
This type of damage is usually caused by overhanging branches (or even just leaves and needles) that scrape against the shingles, but it can also be caused by large branches or even whole trees falling on your roof. That may happen during storms and other extreme weather events; it can even happen when ice builds up on tree branches and weighs them down enough that they droop or break off.
Another sign that your roof has been damaged by trees is when you start to notice that shingles are missing altogether. This can be caused by high winds (which can also lead to broken or cracked shingles, as described above) but is more likely caused by animals, such as squirrels and raccoons, that spend time in trees and then jump from the branches onto your roof.
Once they’re on your roof, these animals can cause all sorts of damage as they try to get into your attic or crawlspace – and one of the ways they do that is by ripping off shingles.
Don't Wait Until Damage Gets Worse.
Mold or Moss Growth
If you notice mold or moss growth on your roof, that’s another sign that something’s not quite right. Mold and moss need moisture to grow, so their presence on your roof is an indication that there’s too much moisture – and that means there’s probably a leak somewhere. This is often caused by a large tree casting a shadow on your roof and can sometimes be solved by trimming the tree.
Leaf Litter and Fallen Needles
Another sign that your roof is being damaged by trees is when you start to see an accumulation of leaf litter and fallen needles. This is especially common in autumn, when leaves are falling off the trees – but if you notice it happening at other times of year, it could be a sign that your roof isn’t draining properly.
This build-up can eventually lead to clogged gutters and downspouts, which can in turn cause water to back up and pool on your roof. That’s a recipe for disaster, as the pooled water will eventually start to seep through any cracks or weaknesses in your roof, leading to leaks.
Dropping Nuts and Fruits
Trees that drop nuts or fruits can also damage your roof. These falling objects can crack or break shingles, and if they land in gutters or on other vulnerable parts of your roof, they can cause all sorts of problems.
In addition, the nuts and fruits can provide a food source for animals (such as squirrels and birds) that might otherwise not be tempted to spend time on your roof. As we mentioned before, once these animals are on your roof, they can cause all sorts of damage as they try to get into your home. They may also rot, which leads to moisture and mold problems.
Related: What should you expect when you get a roofing estimate?
Trees that are too close to your house can also damage your roof by blocking out sunlight. This may not seem like a big deal, but it can actually lead to dampness and moss growth; you don’t want either of those things on your roof.
In addition, the lack of sunlight can make it harder for your roof to dry out after a rainstorm, which can lead to all sorts of problems.
Bottom line: If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to take action. The longer you wait, the worse the damage will get – and that means more expensive repairs down the road.
Related: Help! My roof is getting old!
How Can You Prevent Roof Damage From Trees?
Though you may be reading this article because it’s too late – your roof has already sustained tree damage – you may be able to head off further damage by using the following tips:
- Prune your trees
- Clean up leaf litter, dropped needles, and fallen nuts and fruits
- Cut down trees that pose a threat to your roof
- Remove animal access points
Here’s a closer look at each.
Prune Your Trees
One of the best ways to prevent roof damage from trees is to regularly prune them. This will help to keep branches from drooping or breaking and will also reduce the chances of animals being able to access your roof.
Pruning can be a bit of a delicate operation, so it’s best to leave it to the professionals if you aren’t very experienced. A certified arborist will know how to properly prune your trees without damaging them – and they’ll also be able to spot any potential problems that could lead to future damage.
Clean Up Leaf Litter, Dropped Needles, and Fallen Nuts and Fruits
Leaf litter, dropped needles, and fallen nuts and fruits can all clog up your gutters and downspouts, which can eventually lead to water pooling on your roof, so it’s important to clean them up on a regular basis. You can do this yourself if you’re comfortable walking around your roof or climbing a ladder to access your gutters – just be sure to use a soft-bristled broom or brush to sweep them away.
If you’re not comfortable doing this yourself, you can hire a professional service, such as New View Roofing, to do it for you. They’ll have the necessary equipment to safely and effectively clean your roof or gutters – and they’ll also be able to spot any other potential problems while they’re up there.
Related: 5 things to do when you need emergency roof repair
Cut Down Trees That Pose a Threat to Your Roof
If you have any trees that are close to your house – especially if they’re tall – you may want to consider cutting them down. This may seem like a drastic measure, but it’s often the best way to protect your roof from damage.
Of course, before you take this step, you should talk to a certified arborist or tree surgeon to see if there’s any way to save the tree. They may be able to help you trim it back or provide some other solution that will allow you to keep the tree and avoid damage to your roof.
Remove Animal Access Points
If animals are getting on your roof, they can cause all sorts of damage – so it’s important to remove any access points they may be using. This may mean trimming back branches, installing a screen over your vents, or taking some other action to keep them from being able to get onto your roof.
Do You Need to Talk to an Expert About Roof Damage From Trees?
Roof damage from trees is a common problem, but it’s one that you may be able to avoid with a little bit of effort. By pruning your trees, cleaning up leaf litter and fallen nuts and fruits, cutting down any trees that pose a threat to your roof, and removing animal access points, you can help to keep your roof in good condition and prevent further damage.
If you’re not sure how to best take care of your roof or if you need help with tree removal, you can always talk to an expert. New View Roofing is happy to provide a free consultation to discuss your needs and find the best solution for you.
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Regular roof maintenance can extend the lifespan of your roof and save money on a premature replacement. As a trusted Dallas roof repair contractor, New View Roofing will give you peace of mind that your home is protected.