Why It's Important to Remove Leaves from a Roof

The arrival of autumn means brisk temperatures and falling leaves. You might spend time raking those leaves in your yard, but did you know it's also important to remove leaves from a roof?

If left on the roof throughout the winter season, those beautiful, color-changing leaves can potentially cause serious problems like the issues that moss buildup poses. Here are the key details to know.

You may see a few leaves on your roof in the fall that simply blow away on the next breezy day. But if you notice leaves building up on certain sections of your roof, this can be a cause for concern, especially if the leaves are wet and may not blow away with the wind. If you notice leaves sticking out of the top of your gutters, this is another sign they'll need to be removed.

Dangers of Leaves on Your Roof

The chances of leaves building up on your roof are due to your home's location and architecture, but Mother Nature also plays a part. Here are the three main risks you face if leaves pile up on your roof.

1. Water Damage

A mass of wet leaves not only adds weight to your roof but can also make it difficult for your roof to dry out following a rain event. The damp leaves sitting on your roof can lead to mold or mildew and eventually jeopardize your shingles' performance. Should this create any cracks in your shingles, water could seep into the roofing system and make its way inside your home, causing interior damage.

Leaves often will gather in the valley of your roofing system, an area more vulnerable to problems since it's a lower space where two planes meet. Allowing leaves to remain in the valley, especially when they're wet, increases the chance of water infiltration.

It's important to remove leaves from the roof before the first snowfall. Otherwise, you might risk trapping them under the snow for weeks at a time, depending on your local climate. Prevention is a primary way to avoid water damage, but for even more protection, you might consider installing quality leak barriers, which can help keep water out of your roofing system.

2. Clogged Gutters

The leaves on your roof may eventually end up in your gutters, preventing water from flowing freely off the roof and away from your home. When the water can't escape through the gutter system, it will overflow from the top and sides, creating water buildup around your foundation and potentially in your basement.

Unaddressed piles of wet leaves can also erode the mineral granules on roofing shingles, causing the granules to fall into the gutter over time. Granule erosion can clog your gutter, shorten the life of roofing shingles, and increase the likelihood of water damage.

Therefore, maintaining clean gutters is critical to keeping water out of your home.

3. Pests

A nice pile of leaves in your gutters or the valley of your roof can be an attractive place for pests like bugs, rodents, and birds to seek refuge. If they're not quickly evicted, they might settle in and assume residence. Annoying critters rummaging around in the pile of leaves can damage shingles, and they may find a way inside your home for the winter.

A good way to help prevent pest intrusions is by securing vent caps on all pipes and vents extending through the roof, especially at plumbing pipes extending through the roof by installing all-metal Pipe Boot Flashing which encapsulates ugly plumbing pipes and reduces the risk of pests eating at the vent pipes or damaging the pipe flashing.

How to Remove Leaves from a Roof

The best way to remove leaves from a roof is to call a certified roofing professional who has experience working at heights, can safely navigate a pitched roof, is highly trained and knows what to look for.

It may be tempting to try to remove leaves yourself with a roof rake or leaf blower, but climbing onto your roof has risks. You could slip, lose your balance, or even fall from the roof. Another reason to avoid climbing on your roof is that you could unknowingly damage the roofing system and void your warranty.

Walking on your roof improperly or using a roof rake can cause granule loss. A certified professional contractor can work on the roof without damaging your roofing system. They can also spot any areas that may need to be repaired before winter that the untrained eye may not recognize.

If your home has leaves and debris that need to be dealt with before winter arrives, contact your local GAF-certified roofing professional to schedule a cleaning and inspection.

Trust the Professionals

Reach out to National Contractors to schedule an inspection to check the health of your roof or address any potential entry points.

Whether you are in the market for inspections and maintenance, skylights, siding, gutters, windows and doors, or a new roof, speaking with a trusted, award-winning industry leader like National Contractors, Inc. is an excellent way to make sure you’re protecting your investment.

National Contractors is GAF Master Elite certified with extensive training and licensing to get your roof repair(s) or replacement done correctly. We offer unsurpassed general construction services to community associations, condominiums, management companies, engineering firms, residential and commercial property managers.

We are a 23-year multi-chapter member of Community Associations Institute with staff that has earned the Educated Business Partner distinction. Hiring a CAI member ensures you are collaborating with a professional that understands the specific nature and unique challenges of community associations.

Article courtesy of GAF/Karen L. Edwards

Remove Leaves