Thursday, May 14th, 2015 by Emma Wells
Image via Don Graham on Flickr
Pine trees are often cherished by home buyers when deciding on new property because of their many aesthetic attributes. For all their beauty, though, these trees can be trouble from a maintenance stand-point. When pine needles shed from the branches onto a room, they can gather into clumps with leaves and other debris. These clumps retain water and may cause damage, such as rot and leaks, to roofing shingles over time. If they wash into gutters, they can quickly cause clogs and lead to other costly issues around your home.
Commercial buildings often have the capital or property management services to have the gutters cleaned regularly by costly cleaning companies, but the average homeowner doesn’t need to budget for all of that just to keep their gutters clear. If you’re new to home ownership or are concerned about pine needles in your gutters, here’s some helpful information for you to avoid pine needle issues with your roof and gutters.
What Damage Can Pine Needles Inflict on Your Home?
While pine trees don’t shed all of their needles each year like deciduous trees lose their leaves, they will always lose some. When the needles clump on rooftops in combination with sticks, leaves and water, they may begin to cause problems.
When waterlogged needle clumps sit on roof shingles for days or more, they expedite the degradation of shingles and the roof’s supporting structure. If unchecked for long periods of time, roofs can more quickly develop leaks and weak spots, increasing the risk of damage to property inside the home, as well as physical injury to anyone working up on the roof itself.
Rain also can wash the needles off the shingles and into the gutters, where they tend to cause clogs leading to backed up downspouts and a whole mess of trouble. When downspouts are clogged, a high volume of water will then pour from the quickest route off of the roof, which may happen to be above your landscaped garden, your front door, or another undesirable area.
The potential damage from these factors over time is substantial, so just like keeping ice-dams from forming in the winter time, you should consider it a priority to include monitoring your roof and gutters for pine needles as part of your normal yard-care routine.
Short-Term Tips to Help Keep Pine Needle Clutter at Bay
Keeping overhanging pine boughs trimmed regularly will help alleviate much of the pine needle maintenance problem. This often takes the work of a landscaper, given the height of the trees and the danger of climbing them to make the necessary cuts. Additionally, pine needles blow around just like leaves, so even if the branches aren't directly over your roof, needles might be blown over on a breeze and accumulate in risky quantities.
It's possible to get up on a ladder and clear your gutters or sweep away needle clumps from the roof yourself, but it's a messy and a risky job. Whether you're on the roof leaning down over the gutters or standing on the slippery rungs of a ladder, you must be careful to keep your balance. There are products on the marketplace that can help you reach your gutters or rooftop from the ground as well, but these can be awkward and unwieldy as well.
Image via Quinn Dombrowski on Flickr
Landscaping contractors often can help perform maintenance on trees and clean off your rooftop as well, so this is a good option to solve routine issues. If you think your roof, gutters or downspouts might be at risk for damage from pine needles, consider having a roofing or gutter installation professional come out and inspect them. These experts will have the equipment and expertise necessary to give you sensible advice about how to keep your current systems working well for as long as possible.
Long-Term Solutions to Keep Pine Needles Out of Your Gutters
Keeping a regular maintenance and inspection schedule is important if you're concerned about pine needles clogging your gutters and causing damage to your roof. Be sure to find inspectors whom are trusted in your area so they can give you the most appropriate advice for your home.
Protecting your roof shingles from waterlogged pine needle clumps is really a maintenance issue, but gutters are more complicated than that. It's tempting to try to solve gutter clog problems by adding an after-market gutter guard to protect against pine needle clogs. However, if you already are experiencing problems, the gutters themselves may be the problem, not the needles. If you have the right kind of gutter, such as clog-free rain gutters, then pine needles should never be a problem at all.
If it has become too late for maintenance and you need to replace your gutters, LeafGuard provides systems that are the best gutter guards for pine needles, leaves and other debris. LeafGuard gutters are seamless, clog-free gutters that are completely resistant to rust and decay, and move the pine needles right out of your system as they land, never allowing them to build up. This technological system of removing pine needles and other debris is actually patented, and can still be designed to blend with your home’s aesthetic.
With a maintenance-free LeafGuard system for your home, you can simply enjoy your pine trees for their appearance, instead of worrying about their affects on your gutters.