Leaves Are an Enemy to Roofs

November 5, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.

Leaves left on a roof can cause much damage and is an enemy of your roof.

We all love our trees and as every fall comes, the leaves can really pile up fast, including on the roof and in gutters. These piles of leaves, if left for the winter, can become a real problem. Piles of these leaves can dam up water allowing it to move sideways and get into places rainwater was not ever meant to be. I have seen many roofs less than ten years old develop problems when left without some type of maintenance like roof cleaning.

Even the finest roofing systems can fail with leaves that pile up. As the leaves decompose it allows small particles of debris into the nooks and cranny’s of your roof, clogging up the roofing system. This dammed up of rainwater, can cause mold and mildew of the roof organic underlayment and fail. Once the underlayment has failed you have major issues that will cause leaks into the home.

Most tile roofs are installed on a batten system and can be difficult to walk on to clean. Most people don’t realize that a flat profile tile allows a lot of water under the tiles. All tile roofs are designed to move the water downwards if and when it gets on the underlayment. When there is excessive water or dams that build up this expensive roof can fail. Tile roofs are easily broken if walked on and should be cleaned by a professional.

How to solve roof leaks

Having a great underlayment is your last stand against water intrusion. No matter what type of roofing you have most manufacturers recommend a leak barrier in areas like eaves and valleys. Products like this are typically 40 inches wide and are a peel and stick application that protects your roof better when used with felt or synthetic underlayment. Of course, the best solution is to clean the roof a couple of times a year from leaves and debris and give your roof a fighting chance.

TIP -  When walking on a tile roof try not to step in the center of the tile. This area of the tile is the weakest. The best area to place your foot is, the first three inches from the butt of the tile because it is supported by the tile below it and is the strongest part of the tile.

Have a question? AskARoofer.

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