Waterproof, Windproof and Weatherproof: The Perfect Roof for Your Climate

Waterproof, Windproof and Weatherproof: The Perfect Roof for Your Climate

Leaves And Debris: The Hidden Danger To Your Commercial Roof

by Edgar Cruz

Fall is almost here, which means it's time for the leaves to change colors and eventually make their graceful descent. But as spectacular as the fall foliage can be, it can also cause spectacular damage to your roof if you're not careful. Fallen leaves and windswept debris can do a number on your roof, ultimately resulting in a shorter lifespan and thousands of dollars spent on repairs.

Fallen leaves shouldn't be shrugged off as a mere nuisance for your roof. The following offers an in-depth look at how fallen leaves and other buildup of fall debris can affect your roof. You'll also learn about preventive steps you can take to prevent leaves from damaging your roofing.

Common Dangers

Ponding is one of the most common problems that fallen leaves can cause for your roof. Stray leaves and other debris can accumulate deep within downspouts and around scuppers and drain outlets. These blockages can prevent water from being channeled away from the rooftop, leaving behind ponds of standing water. These pools not only add unneeded weight to your roof, but the water can also seep through cracks and holes in the roof membrane.

Wet leaves can also clump together as they accumulate on the roof, creating pockets of trapped moisture in the process. These clumps can place stress to your roof's structural components due to the added weight. Wet leaves will also decay when left undisturbed, providing just the right conditions for explosive algae and mildew growth.

Potential Consequences

Ignoring the problems caused by fallen leaves can lead to disastrous and expensive consequences for your roof.

Ponding water caused by fallen leaves can cause your roof's underlying deck to deform or warp, weakening its structural integrity over time. In extreme cases, ponding water can even lead to roof collapse.

The sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause the roofing membrane to deteriorate over time. Ponding water increases the intensity of these rays, leading to accelerated roof membrane damage.

Water leaks can result from moisture infiltration caused by ponding water, which could inconvenience customers and employees alike. Water leaks can also damage carpets, flooring, and equipment.

Algae, mold, and mildew growth caused by leaves and debris can damage the roof membrane and create additional ponding. Your building will also become vulnerable to the spread of fungi throughout its entire structure.

Additionally, ignoring ponding water can also result in a voided warranty. Some roofing manufacturers void their warranties if ponding water remains on a roof for more than 24 hours, while others give customers 48 hours to resolve ponding water issues before voiding the warranty.

Preventative Steps

As always, prevention is the best policy when it comes to caring for your roof. By taking the following preventive steps, you'll save yourself and your roof from unnecessary damage and expensive repairs:

  1. Regularly clear your gutters, scuppers, and downspouts of fallen leaves and debris. By ridding your roof's drainage system of the debris that could trap and redirect rainwater elsewhere, you'll be able to prevent leaks from occurring and save your roof's structural integrity.
  2. Install drain and gutter guards where needed and regularly check guards for damage. Plastic or metal guards can prevent leaves from falling into gutters and downspouts, preventing debris blockages and rooftop flooding.
  3. Trim back foliage overhanging your roof. Not only can overhanging branches drop leaves on your roof, but animals can also take advantage of the unique positioning, leaping from tree to roof in search of food or warm shelter.
  4. Remove fallen leaves and debris from ground level. Leaving your landscape littered with leaves and debris is an open invitation for strong winds to carry them back onto your roof. 

Diligent maintenance and other preventive measures will help keep fallen leaves from ruining you rooftop. 


About Me

Waterproof, Windproof and Weatherproof: The Perfect Roof for Your Climate

Hi, welcome to my blog. My name is Wendy, and after traveling through many parts of the world as I worked on a degree in anthropology with a minor in architecture, I learned a lot. I saw how people took different approaches to the same issue (putting a roof on their home), but more importantly, I noticed how those approaches were dictated by the climate and culture in the area. Unfortunately, I think a lot of people in North America build roofs that are traditional rather than roofs that are the right fit for the climate. If you are interested in exploring the latter idea, I'm here to help. These posts look at the best way to get a roof that protects you from the elements. Explore, enjoy and send your friends over to my blog. Thanks!