Nobody likes ridding their property of fallen leaves; it’s hard work, it’s time consuming, and it can also feel like a never-ending battle if your neighbor fails to remove theirs from their property. Fallen leaves, seemingly innocent though they may be, can actually damage your property, and in more ways than one.
Beautiful as they are, autumn leaves, if left uncollected can smother your lawn or garden, hindering growth when spring rolls around once more. Rotting leaves can also carry diseases or fungus that can easily be transmitted to other plants. If these examples weren’t enough to warn you of the perils of neglected fallen foliage, perhaps hear this: fallen leaves can actually contribute to conditions that promote roof damage – something that can lead to leaks, cracked or broken shingles, ice dams, mold, and more.
Clogged gutters prevent snowmelt from being directed away from your home, and large quantities of wet, rotting vegetation can cause the underlying shingles to deteriorate.
Thankfully, roof damage is easy enough to avoid as long as you’re willing to do the work.
Before the Leaves Fall: Prune Those Trees
If you’re the proactive type, you can actually begin to wage your war on fallen leaves before they even begin to fall. Reduce the number of leaves that are destined for your roof and gutter by pruning any overgrowth. This’ll actually give you the opportunity to inspect the rest of the tree and identify any weak limbs that might fall on your home once the inclement weather begins.
Check Your Roof and Eavestrough Regularly
As the leaves begin to fall, you’ll need to be vigilant in your inspections. This will mean getting your ladder out and inspecting your gutters and downspouts for any clogs. Broad leaves, like those from a maple tree, can quickly incapacitate your eavestrough’s ability to redirect water. Blocked waterways can certainly cause problems in the fall, but come winter, the situation can be much worse.
Ice dams in particular are notorious for damaging and dislodging roof shingles, allowing moisture to penetrate the underlying roofing materials. If left unchecked, an ice dam could result in leaks and the propagation of mold in your home’s insulation.
Reduce Your Property’s Leaf Waste
Just because leaves have already fallen, doesn’t mean they can’t just as easily end up on your roof. If you’re unable to rake your leaves regularly, or the quantity of leaves is simply unmanageable, consider using your lawn mower and catch bag to make short work of fallen foliage.
Not only will it reduce the size of the leaves themselves, mulching them in this fashion can provide you with a nutrient rich compost that you can add to your garden at a future time.
Alternatively, Mowing over your leaf waste also reduces the number of yard waste bags you’ll need to set out for collection. Generally speaking, mulched leaves take up around 90% less space than whole leaves.
To make things easier (and cheaper), avoid using collection bags altogether. Instead, get a hold of a large tarp, rake your leaves onto it and drag it to the roadside (this should only be done if your municipality permits depositing yard waste at the side of the road).
Though it might seem a more efficient use of your time to wait until every last leaf has fallen, it’s generally recommended that you clear your property of leaves at least twice before the winter hits – even more frequently if possible. Raking weekly or bi-weekly might seem like more work, but it’s actually much easier (and more pleasant) to collect freshly fallen leaves than those that already decomposing.
Invest in Leaf Guards
Leaf guards, or gutter guards, help protect your eavestroughs from fallen leaves and other debris, especially in the fall months. They are the last line of defense standing between your clean eavestroughs and that pesky foliage. Clogged eavestroughs can damage your home in many ways, including foundation damage, wood damage, landscape damage and ice dams. Clearly, keeping your eavestroughs clean should be a top priority and investing in one of these products should be a no-brainer. There are many different leaf guard products on the market, but we at D’Angelo and Sons prefer to use Alu-Rex leaf guard products in many of our roofing projects. We’ve been using their products for years and recommend you to give them a try if you’re shopping for a leaf guard for your eavestroughs.
Protecting your property and your home from the issues associated with uncollected leaves isn’t necessarily a difficult task, though it is one that requires constant vigilance. Fortunately, the benefits of this vigilance can be witnessed first hand through your healthy lawn and garden and sound roof condition.
If you have any questions about roofing, eavestroughs or leaf guards you’d like to ask us please don’t hesitate to call us at (905) 387-3000 or contact us using the contact form on our website. We’d love to hear from you!