Roofs and Trees – A Good or Bad Mix?

Your roof and your surrounding trees may not always make the most compatible of neighbors. Trees can provide much needed shade, protecting your roof from the sun. They can also be a cause for concern if they are too close to your roof.


Why Do People Choose Homes With Mature Trees Or Decide To Plant Trees Around Their Homes?

The net cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is equivalent to ten room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. If you plant a tree today, on the west side of your home, in 5 years your energy bills should be 3% less. In 15 years, the savings can be nearly 12% according to Dr. E. Greg McPherson, Center for Urban Forest Research. 

With rising concerns about climate change and increasing energy bills, it’s no wonder that homes with mature trees can increase your home’s value. The Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers estimate that a mature tree can often have an appraised value of between $1,000 and $10,000.

However, those trees during the course of their lives will need care and pruning. Trees growing close to your house, or with branches overhanging your roof can cause a number of problems. Imagine those tree limbs and smaller branches arching down and touching your roof. They can form a bridge, that creates ease of access for squirrels, rats, carpenter ants and termites to reach your roof.

A roof that doesn’t get much sun may also be susceptible to growing moss. This can shorten the life of your roof if your trees keep the roof shaded so the spring and summer sun can’t dry it out. Moss that does get some sun can be swept off when it dries out. If it gets no sun, there are other options to remove the moss.


What Are the Risks of Trees Near Your Roof?

Tree branches themselves can rub across shingles or tiles causing them to tear or loosen. In a storm, a heavy branch may be damaged and come crashing into your roof causing serious damage. Debris from leaves, needles and small branches can collect on your roof, weakening it where it gathers and clogging your gutters, so water won’t drain properly.

“We recommend getting your roof inspected every one or two years,” said Darren Little, owner of Booth and Little Roofing, in Marin County. “Regular maintenance in between is essential to keep on top of any issues. If you have trees near your home, it’s a good idea to not only maintain your roof, but to maintain your trees, as well.”

In a blog post, Bartlett Tree Experts in San Rafael, suggest that you practice structural pruning and to start early. They provide great advice on what to look for and do for trees near buildings and walkways. “For trees in an urban landscape, structural pruning will always be a good investment. When it comes to those trees near parking lots, buildings or walkways, it is more than an investment. For these trees, structural pruning is an essential strategy for mitigating risk and maintaining the safety of people and property.” That includes protecting your roof.

If you have questions or concerns about the condition of your roof, please contact us today. Our professionals are available to assist you with your questions.