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More Than Just Leaves: How Wet Decaying Plant Matter Threatens Your Roof

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Protecting your roof is one of the most important steps of your ongoing commitment to home maintenance. However, storm damage isn’t the only issue to consider. While fallen leaves might not seem like a major threat to the property, the truth is that they require a great deal of attention throughout the fall and winter seasons.

Fallen debris such as leaves and sticks is a particularly common issue for homeowners in the midwest. Here’s everything you need to know about their potential impact on your property along with what can be done to protect your home in style.

How Wet Decaying Plant Matter Damages a Roof

The rainfall levels across the Great Lake State are quite high during the fall. This can result in wet leaves finding their way onto your roof. Once they do, it is likely that they will begin to cluster and accumulate more foliage over the coming days. Before you know it, the roof is covered by wet and decaying plant matter.

If left untreated, wet decaying plant matter can damage your home in many ways, including but not limited to:


Moisture from the rotting leaves can find its way through little gaps in the roof to reach the roof shingles. The timber will subsequently start rotting, which compromises the structural integrity of the roof structure.

Damaged Shingles

If the shingles become damaged and are left untreated, moisture can penetrate the underlayment structure due to runoff water. This can then cause noticeable leaks from the home’s upper structure.

High Pressure

Increased weight from the wet leaves will put pressure on roof shingles and other elements, which can cause warping. Even when the damage isn’t immediate, the lifespan of your roof will be significantly reduced.

Weight Distribution

Uneven weight distribution caused by leaves accumulating in certain aspects of the roof can additionally place strain on the roof’s supportive beams, leading to very costly repairs.


Leaves can also find their way into the gutter system, causing blockages that will consequently lead to leaks, pooling water near the foundation of the home, and erosion of your walls. 

An average roof repair in MI can cost over $10,000. If that doesn’t incentivize you to pay attention to the threat of decaying plant matter on your roof, perhaps nothing will.

How to Protect the Roof in Style

While wet leaves could cause significant damage to the roof in a single season, you can avoid the need for a roof repair or roof installation project. The key is to focus on prevention and quick responses. With the right strategy at your disposal, you’ll successfully protect both the roof and the rest of the property—including the backyard.

Here are five simple yet hugely successful solutions that will enable you to build a fantastic strategy:

Trim Your Trees

Keep any large trees regularly trimmed to reduce the risk of leaves blowing on to the roof. This is especially important for trees that are close to the roof or overhang the building when it’s windy.

Schedule Roof Inspections

Arrange an annual roof inspection, which can include cleaning any leaves and mold from the roof while also investigating any signs of minor damage that may have already been caused.

Inspect the roof yourself and, if required, climb up to the roof and remove leaves by hand or with a leaf blower. Be sure to use a sturdy ladder that extends at least 1’ above the roof’s level to gain access.

Clean Your Gutters

Regularly clean the gutters and, if necessary, consider replacing the gutters with high-quality aluminum gutters. They look great, perform well, and will help protect the roof from prospective moisture damage.

Keep the Backyard Tidy

Remove leaves from the backyard. You would be amazed at how quickly the wind can lift foliage from the ground and up onto the roof. Collecting and disposing of fallen leaves on a regular basis will overcome this problem.

Wet leaves can pose a significant threat. The sooner you treat this issue, the more likely you are to keep the roofing structure in good health for the long haul.

Keep Your Gutters Clean with Sherriff Goslin

With over 100 years of experience and 19 locations to choose from, we’re the Midwest’s leading commercial, architectural, and residential roofing company. Our team of professionals will supply you with the best options to restore your gutters to a newer state, keeping you and your family safe and dry for years to come. Keep the best possible roof over your family’s head with Sherriff Goslin Roofing. Find your local Sherriff Goslin Roofing branch here and request a quote today!