Tree Branches Overhanging Your Roof: What Every Homeowner Should Know

man trimming tree branches

Trees are a great addition to a homeowner’s property. They provide beautiful scenery in the fall and valuable shade in the summer. But if tree branches get too close to the roof, they can do some real damage.

Learn about the potential problems tree branches pose and how to deal with them.

What problems do tree branches cause?

Tree branches pose a real threat to the structural integrity of roof systems and the entire home.

Whether it's excessive shade, fallen leaves, scraping tree branches, or broken tree limbs, there’s plenty to be concerned about when it comes to overhanging trees.

Examine the trees surrounding your home at least once a year to ensure they’re still living and aren’t suffering from disease or rot. This will help you avoid dangerous situations, like an entire tree or large limb crashing through a window or onto your roof.

A large tree branch can puncture the roofing system, break windows, provide easy access for animals to get into the home, and a host of other serious problems.

If you notice a tree is dying or suffering from disease, it's best to call an experienced tree removal service to cut it down safely. Large tree limbs and dying trees can be carefully removed with a chainsaw and a well-thought-out plan, but it's dangerous business.
 

It can be a sad sight to cut down a tall tree, but it's ultimately for the safety of your family and longevity of your home. 

Before you become the neighborhood lumberjack, there are plenty of positives that trees bring to your property and home, so think twice before having them chopped down.

Larger trees on the south side of the property line will provide priceless shade from the harsh summer sun. Just keep an eye on their branches as they grow.

Large tree branches hanging over the roof cause a number of problems if left to grow:

  • Tree branches leaning against the roof can scrape away the granules on asphalt shingles, greatly reducing their durability and overall lifespan.

  • Fallen leaves clog gutters and downspouts and trap moisture against the roof, which can lead to leaks, mold, and deterioration.

  • Excessive shade does not allow the roof to dry properly, causing mold and fungus growth.

  • If the tree and its branches are weak or diseased, heavy winds or a storm could cause branches or the entire tree to come crashing down onto the home.

Because overhanging tree branches have the potential to cause so much damage to the roof, it’s best to remove them safely. One false cut and the branch could crash through a window or puncture the roofing system, so it may be best to contact a professional tree trimming service.

However, it is possible for homeowners to remove tree branches themselves with the right set of tools and some general safety knowledge. Be sure to think carefully throughout the project before making any cuts, and have a second person on site with you.

If you suspect large branches have already caused shingle damage or a limb has compromised the roofing system, contact a qualified professional as soon as possible. 
 

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What are the best tools for the job?

Tree pruning tools

Having the right tree trimming equipment on hand will make the process much easier and safer. There are different tools for different sized tree branches and trees, so take a careful look at what exactly needs to be trimmed and what can stay.

Popular tree-trimming tools include:

  • Pole Tree Pruners
  • Electric Chain Saws
  • Battery-Powered Chain Saws
  • Alligator Loppers

It's not necessary for a homeowner to have all these tools on hand, but a basic set of tree pruners or a chainsaw will help in basic trimming projects.

Trimming overhead branches should be left to homeowners who can safely reach the branches, comfortable with heights, and adept at handling trimming tools. Using tools with sharp—and sometimes machine-powered—blades is a dangerous business and should be left to a professional tree trimming and removal service if you feel at all uncomfortable with the task.

Remember: The entire tree does not need to be removed unless it's rotted or dying. Trimming hazardous branches is enough to solve the problem.
 

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What are the benefits of trimming overhanging tree branches?

tree branch on roof

Removing tree branches provides a number of benefits to a homeowner and prolongs the longevity of the roof.

Let's examine the benefits once branches are removed:

  • Tree branches that rub against shingles will remove the protective granules or tear off entire shingles, allowing moisture to penetrate the roof system. Removing branches will ensure shingle granules remain intact for their intended lifespan. 

  • Trimming large, harmful branches helps lessen the number of leaves and pine needles falling onto the roof and the gutter system. A few trapped leaves and a handful of pine needles aren’t a serious detriment to your roof, but if they group together and build a deep layer against the roof, you'll be susceptible to moisture problems.

  • Moss thrives on moist, wet surfaces, and large tree branches hanging over the roof encourage moss growth because of the constant shade it provides. The shade prevents roofing materials from drying out after a rain, contributing to moss growth.

  • Perhaps the greatest benefit is peace of mind. Knowing a large, hazardous branch is no longer a looming threat above your head is priceless.


Unfortunately, not every homeowner has the time, tools, or wherewithal to deal with overhanging branches in time. The excessive shade may have already deteriorated shingles, or a fallen limb may have punctured the roof.

Don't panic. Hometown Roofing Contractors makes it easy to find experienced, trustworthy contractors near your home.

Customers can request multiple quotes from roofers and see how other customers evaluated their experience with them. Get in contact with a true professional today to get your roof back in tip-top shape!

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