It only takes a bit of moisture to turn all of those light fluffy leaves into an ugly, heavy mess that can clog your drains, block your gutters, and invite mildew, mold, and fungi on to your roof. If they aren’t removed promptly after falling, debris and leaves can cause water to back up in your gutters and increase the load on your roof. Water that’s only an inch deep can add up to five pounds per square foot of live weight onto your roof assembly. Over time, this weight can cause single-ply membranes to lose pliability, limiting their flexibility and dramatically reducing the life of your roof.
Ponding becomes even more of an issue in the winter, as water freezes and expands, seeping into the cracks in your roof or up under your flashings. The extra weight from the ice may cause structural damage as well as costly repairs, and in dramatic cases it can even cause your roof to collapse entirely.
In the fall, it’s important to check your roof frequently and remove debris on an ongoing basis in order to limit blockage and prevent leaf buildup. If you see areas of standing water, it could indicate one or more blocked drains. Partially blocked drains will allow the water to flow, but quite sluggishly, so if you see this issue it could mean that you’re having an issue with your drains. If the roof’s surface is stained or water damaged in specific areas, it could also indicate that there has been ponding in the past. Not all problems that leaves and debris cause are visible to the layman, so it’s important to have a roofing professional inspect your building periodically.
Your gutters and drains should be cleared before the coldest of temperatures turn leafy piles into frozen blocks. A skilled roofer will water test your internal and external drainage, as well as all of your gutters and downspouts. He will also take a look at small issues that could easily be missed, like checking that all of your bolts are secure. It takes a skilled individual to spot issues with flashings, sealants, seams, and mortar as they develop, before a larger problem occurs. Your downspouts and gutters will also need to be checked for broken or missing fasteners, loose connections, sagging, and damage.