• Gabe Semenza

Common Issues: Trees and roof damage

Updated: Jul 17, 2018

One of the first things I do when a customer hires me to inspect a home is to perform a quick online search of the property. If the home is for sale, the online listing typically includes exterior photos.

From those online photos, I can usually determine whether the roof will display damage or not. That's because it's more common than you might think for trees, that were long ago planted adjacent to the home, to rub on the house including its roof.

Missoula home inspectors
Tree limbs near a home commonly damage roofs

Missoula home inspectors
A closer look at tree-related damage

Once at the inspection, my observations from the online photos usually are confirmed.

As a homeowner, it's important to keep tree limbs trimmed away from your home. A general rule of thumb it to ensure limbs are no closer than 10 feet from the home, especially the roof. Because limbs can dip and sway during wind events -- and thus reach downward and toward the roof -- a 10-foot buffer can be a safe distance.

Additionally, limbs and leaves can hold moisture against the home, rotting certain sidings and trim. Over time, that rot and damage can in some instances lead to further water entry into the home. Water, even a little bit over sustained periods, can be a home's worst enemy.

At my home, I take a quick walk around the perimeter about every 3 months or so. Spring and summer are usually the times of year in which trunk and foliage growth are at their greatest.

I also check the gutters for leaves and debris to ensure water can quickly make it to the downspouts. Gutters that become clogged hold water and can rust and fail over time. It's also imperative to move water way from the home so that moisture does not cause foundation problems or seep into basements or crawlspaces.

If you have trees that touch your home and you are not comfortable on a ladder or roof, I recommend you consult a qualified landscaping or tree-trimming company to help you maintain not only your home's curb appeal but the integrity of the roof and siding materials.

And if you worry you might have roof damage, I'm happy to inspect it for you. Call any time.

Thanks for reading -

Gabe Semenza, Certified Professional Inspector and owner of River City Inspections, LLC


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