Four Precautions You Should Take If Your Roof Has Trees Overhanging It

In a perfect world, there would be no trees overhanging your roof. They just cause so many complications, from algae growth to premature shingle deterioration. However, this is not a perfect world, and sometimes removing trees that overhang a roof may be more trouble than just dealing with them. In particular, there are four precautions you should to prevent complications if your roof is overhung by tree branches.

1. Check for damaged branches often.

Branches that are in good shape and are healthy are one thing. Damaged, dead, or decaying branches are quite another. Once the health of a branch is compromised, it is so much more likely to fall onto your roof, causing shingle damage and perhaps even damage to the wooden underlayment that rests under the shingles.

Take a quick peek up at your tree whenever you go outside, and give it a more careful look over once a year. If you notice any decayed or damaged branches, have a tree service contractor remove them as soon as possible.

2. Sweep fallen leaves off the roof.

You don't want to let fallen leaves sit on the roof for more than a few days at a time. They trap moisture against the shingles, which can cause the shingles to break down faster than is normal. An easy way to sweep leaves off the roof is to use a long-handled broom. Just ease the leaves towards you, sweeping them off the edge of the roof. During the fall when leaves are being shed, you may need to do this up to once a week.

3. Keep your gutters clear.

It's always important to keep your gutters clear, even when you do not have a tree overhanging your roof. But when there is a tree constantly shedding leaves and debris onto your roof, there will be a lot more accumulation in your gutters. It's important that you check them often -- every three months is a good starting point -- and clear out any debris that has accumulated.

Blocked gutters may not seem like a big issue at first, but they can cause water to build up along the edge of the roof. This can lead to leaks and also premature deterioration of your shingles.

If your tree really sheds a lot and is always leaving your gutters blocked, consider installing gutter guards. These are mesh-like sheets that you set over the gutter. They keep the debris from entering the gutter while letting the water flow through into the gutter. Gutter guards can be purchased inexpensively at most hardware stores and are easy to install in an afternoon.

4. Use algae growth retardants.

Algae growth is a big problem on roofs that are shaded by trees. The shade keeps the roof cool and appealing to algae, which leave black streaks down the roof as they proliferate. If you re-roof your home, make sure you choose shingles made to prevent algae growth. These are made with embedded particles of zinc and copper, which release ions to prevent the algae from growing. 

If the shingles you currently have are not algae-resistant, you can instead apply an algaecide spray to the roof periodically. This spray may contain the same ingredients as the shingles: copper and/or zinc. Typically, it will come in a container that you can attach to your garden hose, and then spray onto the roof. Apply it when rain is not expected for a few days. The label on the package will tell you how often to apply it. Many products need to be applied seasonally; some only need to be applied once a year.

If you take the precautions above, you'll protect your roof from the common problems that roofs experience when shaded by tree branches. If you need assistance, contact roofing companies like Stevens Roofing Corporation.