Dead Leaves and the Threat They Pose to Your Roof

Dead Leaves and the Threat They Pose to Your Roof

Having trees growing right next to your house can have its upsides; they provide free shade in summer and support a picturesque aesthetic. But all trees shed, as well. Deciduous trees shed their leaves in the fall (as well as blossoms in the spring), and evergreens may shed all year round. Here are some facts about how these shed leaves can be a threat.

1. Cause Low-Slope Type Leaks

A low-slope roof tends to leak more frequently because it can’t use gravity to its advantage as much as a steeper roof pitch allows. However, your steep roof slope can have problems with leaks too if dead leaves accumulate. These leaks happen because the leaves act like a sponge or dam, preventing the water from draining like it normally does.

Instead, the water will try to seep downwards, and gravity will be trying to pull it through your roofing material. This situation can be problematic for asphalt shingles, which are designed to protect your home by shedding water; soaking in water is above their pay grade and the water will eventually win. 

2. Invite Moss and Weeds

Dead leaves are basically the perfect place for weeds to get started because they’re made of great rotting organic material. Seeds from the same tree or random weed seeds tracked in by birds and squirrels can all find a home in the dead leaves on your roof or in your gutters

Moss will likely be the weed of choice in shadier locations, while sunny spots may sprout larger weeds. Because the weeds will try to grow beyond the amount of dead leaves, though, they’ll try to put roots into your asphalt shingles or through the gutter sides. Preventing this unrestricted damage is a great reason to clear leaves off regularly.

3.  Create a Great Place for Pests to Hide

All that organic material is a wonderful opportunity for bugs. Of course, a lot of the bugs that will show up in a leaf pile aren’t exactly the roof-eating type, but once the water damage starts to take hold, they may view your roof as just another part of the rotting organic material they’re making their home in. 

In addition, water-damaged wood, such as a wet roof deck, can attract termites — and they do eat roofs.

4. Clog Your Gutters and Damage Fascia and Soffit

Clogged gutters is one of the classic signs of too many dead leaves. But unsightly waterfalls over the gutter edge aren’t the only reason you need to avoid this. The raised humidity damp leaves provide can increase the chance of water damage and rot to nearby wood components, such as the fascia and soffit, as well as other parts of your house like the foundation.

Once the fascia and soffit have started to rot, they present an open door to not only mold and termites, but also larger pests. Raccoons, for example, can easily shred rotted wood in their quest to find a safe nesting spot for their next litter.

Your foundation may seem unrelated to the dead leaves falling on your roof, but clogged gutters can actually cause big problems where your foundation is concerned. Cascading rivers of water can not only erode the soil around the foundation, but also apply increased underground water pressure, causing basement leaks and sometimes even foundation cracks.

These situations are just a few ways in which dead leaves can have knock-on effects that pave the way for much bigger threats to your home. If you find that you need help with roof maintenance or repairing damage caused or compounded by dead leaves, feel free to give us a call today. SUNVEK doesn’t just install new roofs, we also do repairs and maintenance.