According to the (WFPA) Washington Forest Protection Association, our forests are home to about 25 native tree species. They provide for some spectacular scenery, great places to hike and explore, homes for wildlife, and plenty of firewood to keep us warm during the winter months.
However, while they also provide the raw materials to build your home, including the decking for your roof, they are just as capable of damaging it.
Trees fall. They could have died, been damaged (by insects) or knocked over by heavy winds. Falling trees cause major damage to our homes and roofs. While we cannot always prevent such damage, as part of your seasonal roof maintenance we recommend you talk with a qualified arborist to determine if the trees on your property are a risk.
Falling tree branches.
More common than trees falling on roofs, especially with our winter rains and winds, are tree branches falling. As trees age, branches can weaken. Weight from snow and ice can crack branches. Strong winds can snap them as well. Depending on the size of the branch, how it lands on your roof, and other debris already on the roof, they can cause damage to tiles. Broken branches can remove the granules protecting the shingles (leading to early failure) or tear tiles as they are blown across your roof.
Overhanging branches constantly scrapping along the surface of the roof can cause as much damage as fallen ones.
When speaking to a qualified arborist to check on the condition of your trees, have them prune back branches in close proximity to your roof-line.
Leaves, needles, and other debris.
Trees are messy! Throughout the year they drop leaves and litter the ground ad our roofs. It gets worse in fall. Of the 25 species found locally, most are coniferous and tend to retain their leaves (needles) year round. Deciduous trees, however, still represent a significant portion of our forests and they lose their leaves in fall. Those leaves do more than require the ‘annual raking of the lawns’. They litter roofs as well, and like your lawn, your roof needs to be cleaned.
Leaves, especially when landed on a wet roof, can stick. They will trap moisture against the roof surface increasing the chance of mold and algae growth. If small water access points are present, they make it more likely water will get it.
What leaves and needles don’t stick will end up blowing off the roof or into your gutters. Clogged gutters prevent moving water from your roof. As stated in our article roof longevity, clean gutters are critical to maintaining the overall health and life expectancy of your roof.
Trees are home to a range of critter from birds to squirrels to insects. Trees in close proximity provide easy access to your roof for many. Aside from the damage to the roof surface, they can damage insulation and support structures. (How (and Why) to Protect Your Roof From Damage By Critters)
We love our trees.
However, it’s important that we pay attention to those around our homes and look for signs they could cause damage. It should be part of your seasonal home maintenance.