Trees & water damage – what you should know!

Posted by Matt Buchanan

At the RestorationEze water damage blog, we spend a good deal of time talking about common causes of water damage. While you can be sure we’ve discussed at length things like flooding from appliances, crawlspace flooding, and sewage line backups, one topic we’ve never discussed is the impact overgrown trees can have on home water damage. With that said, let’s take a few minutes to delve into the subject so that you understand the importance of making sure your property’s trees don’t present a risk to your home.


How trees can cause a roof leak & other water damage


There are a number of ways trees can cause problems for your home, but for the sake of this article we are just going to discuss their ability to cause water damage.  There are 3 primary causes of water damage as it relates to trees:


1 – Fallen limbs damage your roof

tree-removal-roof-damageIf you’re blessed to have a lot full of beautiful, mature trees, you know that with that beauty comes some sacrifices. And we’re not just talking about all of the leaves you have to rake each fall. Tall trees can often times have long, huge branches. If these branches are hanging over your roof, that could spell trouble. Whether due to tree rot or simply a big wind storm, should a branch fall it could end up puncturing your roofing membrane and decking. If it occurs during a heavy rain storm, it won’t take much time at all for your attic to flood and for water to begin dripping through your ceiling. At that point, you’ve got a serious water damage emergency and the potential for tens of thousands of dollars worth of damages.


2 – Limbs rubbing your roof shingles

tree-branch-on-roofThis scenario is actually quite common. And while on the surface it might not seem like as big of a deal as the scenario we’ve laid out above, it can be quite devastating. Why? If a tree limb and its leaves are constantly rubbing your roof shingles, eventually it’s going to wear away those singles and cause enough damage to create a slow leak. Sadly, you may not notice the damages from that leak until long after mold growth has begun to form in your attic. That’s a disastrous scenario for a couple of reasons:

One, the obvious health risk implications. Two, the cost of fixing the problem can easily run into the tens of thousands of dollars. Three, your insurer might not pay for the fixes.

How is that possible? They’ve got a couple of outs in your policy. The first is a clause that states they do not protect against damages caused by homeowner negligence. If you were to file a claim, your adjuster will come out and see the branch clearly laying on your roof and inform you that should have been cut off long ago to prevent said damages from occurring. Secondly, your homeowners insurance policy does not protect against slow water leaks like this. That’s correct! It would take a sudden loss situation to enact your policy’s protections.

So what are you left with? A potentially massive bill you’ll have to pay entirely out of pocket! Does that sound like a nightmare? Then go outside right now and walk your home’s perimeter and see if there are any limbs at risk of causing this problem. If you can safely remove them, go ahead and do so. If not, hire a tree company to do it for you!


3 – Roots causing foundation cracks and settling

tree-roots-foundation-damageIf you have trees that are close to your home’s foundation, they could cause foundation problems. In fact, they’re almost assuredly causing stress on your foundation as you read this. Over time, they can lead to cracks in your foundation walls. Whether you have a basement, pier and beam home with a crawlspace, or a slab foundation, these cracks can provide the perfect ‘highway’ for groundwater to travel through and cause home flooding. If you already have trees that you’re worried about, or are planning on planting some, here is a great resource you should definitely read.


Have you suffered water damage from tree problems?


If you have home water damage and you’ve perused our site at all, you know we always recommend you have a certified technician come out and assess the damage. It may be relatively minor or it may be a lot worse than you think. But chances are you aren’t going to get a full understanding of what is going on without someone inspecting the property with the right equipment. We would be happy to provide you with a free onsite assessment. At a minimum, you will know what you are up against. At the time of the assessment, we will scope the damages and write up our mitigation plan (in other words, what we believe will need to be done to cleanup and dry the affected area) along with a cost estimate generated by Xactimate.

So give us a call now for a no obligation, onsite estimate!


About Matt Buchanan

I grew up in Irving, TX and left for Nashville, TN for college. After college I lived in Washington, DC and then in Cairo, Egypt. After coming back to the states, I spent a couple of years back in Dallas before moving with my wife to Denver!
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