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Pros and Cons of Having Trees Near a Commercial Flat Roof

Pros and Cons of Having Trees Near a Commercial Flat Roof

More and more business owners are discovering the advantages of using buildings that include nearby trees. If you’re considering renting or buying a building that has trees close to it, you’ll need to consider that there are also a few disadvantages. Here are some of the pros and cons of having trees near a commercial building with a flat roof, along with several helpful tips on how to manage trees and vegetation.

Basic Benefits of Trees Near a Commercial Building 

One of the main perks of trees near a commercial building is shading, which helps in providing better energy efficiency. Think about how trees block summer heat from striking a roof. Thus, your energy bills are lower because there’s less demand on an air conditioner. 

In addition to offering aesthetic value, trees planted near a building can be useful in improving air quality. When there’s less demand for electrical energy, there’s not as much air pollution, in addition to reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, vegetation can eliminate air pollutants. Additionally, trees also absorb noise from street traffic.

Some business owners choose buildings with surrounding trees because storm water is managed more efficiently. As a result, water quality is improved. This is because vegetation absorbs and filters rainwater, which enhances water quality.

Another advantage is that there’s less pavement upkeep. Keep in mind how street pavement doesn’t depreciate as quickly, so there’s not as much maintenance involved. What’s more, trees and vegetation provide privacy, in addition to more oxygen and moisture.

Drawbacks of Trees Near a Building 

On the other hand, there are a few disadvantages.

  • Tree limbs can cause significant damage to roofs. This is particularly an issue with flat commercial roofs as trees and limbs can daily rub against a roof or crash on it. They can scratch the surface, wearing down the top layer.
  • Twigs and leaves can clog gutters. When gutters become clogged, defective or broken, water can back up into gutters.
  • Also, expanding tree roots and suckers can lift concrete pavement and even damage sheds and garages.
  • Tree roots can damage the drainage system of a building when trees are planted too close.
  • Sometimes, structural damage can occur. But this is usually only an issue when trees are planted in shrinkable clay soils. The buildings that are most at risk are older constructions, built before the 1950’s. These buildings generally have shallow foundations.

How Close is Too Close? 

Tree size is a huge consideration when determining the distance of trees from a building. For example:

  • Large trees that are taller than 70 feet need to be planted at least 20 feet from a building.
  • Medium-size trees, 70 feet tall or less, should be located 15 feet from a commercial building.
  • Small trees, 30 feet tall or smaller, can be planted 8 to 10 feet from a building.

Tips for Reducing Problems from Trees and Vegetation Near Your Building 

  • To get the most shade benefit, deciduous trees, vines and other and vegetation should be planted on the west side of a building. This is especially critical when they’re used to shade windows as well as a portion of your building’s roof.
  • Regularly trim tree limbs to protect the roof from damage.
  • Consistently check your gutters and remove leaves, debris and broken parts.
  • Install screens on your gutter openings to avoid leaves and twigs from entering your system.
  • Select the best trees and shrubs that won’t pose a problem for your building.
  • Be sure to provide enough room for trees and other types of vegetation to grow.
  • Consider the location of roofs and any maintenance that is required.

Besides suffering from tree damage, all flat commercial roofs share a common problem, known as ponding water or standing water. When rainwater remains on a flat roof for more than 48 hours after rainfall, it starts pooling, forming small ponds on the roof, which leads to severe problems, including leakage. This issue doesn’t have to occur when you use our highly effective product. To learn more about how our RoofSlope product is used to fill in low spots on flat roofs, please contact us.


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