Debris and Your Roof

Posted on: 7 June 2021

 A clean roof doesn't just look nice, it is also less likely to develop premature leaks or suffer avoidable punctures. Roof debris can come from a variety of sources but they all have one thing in common — debris causes roof damage.

Types of Debris

Debris typically comes from nearby trees. Leaves, twigs, and full-size branches are the most common types of debris to collect on a roof. Debris can also blow onto the roof, particularly in windy areas, so other items in the yard can end up as roof debris. This can include toys, fabric, and ground-based plant matter.

Other debris may actually form on the roof. This can consist of inorganic material, such as crumbling chimney bricks or loose shingle granules. It can also include organic debris, such as heavy moss growth or the formation of algae.

Common Damage

The type of debris determines the damage. Falling branches or blowing ground debris, for example, can lead to puncture damage and holes in the roof. Punctures cause an immediate leak and water damage inside the attic or main parts of the home. 

Debris that collects on the roof, including fallen leaves and moss growth, can also trap moisture or act as a dam. Water trapped on the roof by the debris can seep beneath the shingles and cause premature shingle degradation and eventual leaks. Debris in roof gutters acts as a dam, which in turn causes water to backflow under the shingles near the edge of the roof so that a leak occurs. 

Prevention and Repair

Maintaining a clean roof is the best form of prevention. Trees should be trimmed so that they don't drop debris on the roof. In windy areas, yard debris should be raked up regularly and yard items must be secured so they don't blow onto the roof. It's also a good idea to have the gutters cleaned seasonally. Roofers can wash the roof to remove debris and moss growth.

If debris does cause damage, then a repair will be necessary. The type of repair depends on the extent of the damage. Punctures and small leaks can usually be fixed, although the roof sheathing must be patched and new shingles installed over the area. Extensive water damage, such as from moss on the roof, may require the installation of a completely new roof if the shingles have begun to degrade. 

Contact a residential roof repair and maintenance service for more assistance.