Fall is here and that means windy autumn days and big storms. It’s a good time to check on the health of your property’s trees, especially those that are near your home. The National Storm Damage Center says that trees that are damaged by severe weather cause more than $1 billion in property damage in the United States each year.
Fallen trees and broken branches damage structures, roofs, siding, windows, cars. They also topple power lines. Many times tree limbs are simply too close to your roof. Although these branches may be healthy, they still pose a serious threat to the roof. Just one branch blowing in the wind and continually rubbing a roof will soon damage the shingles’ protective outer layer. When the top layer of the roof is compromised, leaks can occur. In addition, the leaves from trees that are too close to your roof can clog your gutter system, allowing rainwater to accumulate and cause leaks in your attic or other moisture damage.
Manage Your Trees to Protect Your Property
Roofing contractors recommend that you trim all branches that come within six feet of your roof. Not only will you protect your roof from potential tree damage caused by severe weather, you will also prevent small animals from scampering across your roof to try to gain access to your home for spring nesting. You should also look at trees that are near your home. For instance, trees that stand close enough to fall on your roof when exposed to sleet and snow, pouring rain, or high winds are a major threat to the health of your roof. A qualified roofing company or tree expert can also provide guidance on trees that should be removed altogether.
When Trees Damage Your Property
If your property has already been damaged by a falling tree or limb, you need to seek a professional roofing contractor immediately. They can secure the damaged area to prevent further damage to the roof, and the interior of your home. Almost all homeowner’s insurance policies cover roof replacement that is required due to a fallen tree. In the meantime, check carefully to determine the extent to which your home has been damaged. Go into your attic and see if rafters are cracked or if your roof sheathing is bowed. Check for punctures in your roof by a branch stub or broken branch. A tree branch, when propelled by wind, is strong enough to pierce shingles and/or sheathing to cause serious damage to your roof. If you have water leaking into your home, try to cover the area with a tarp to prevent further, serious interior damage. Take photos of the damage and keep receipts of anything you purchase, including supplies used to make emergency repairs. Ultimately, you will use this information when making a claim to your insurance company.
Taking care of tree hazards not only prolongs the life of a roof, it may prevent larger property damage down the road. The first active step to protect your roof from tree danger would be to do a complete tree inventory of your property. It’s a good idea to have a professional roofer or arborist perform a hazardous tree assessment. Remember to cut back all overhanging branches as far away as possible from the roof, remove all tree leaf debris from your gutters regularly to protect the shingles, and remove any tree close enough to pose a threat if it should fall on your home.