How To Identify Algae On My Roof
While algae can be found on all roofs types, its often drawn to asphalt shingles. Asphalt shingles are pretty common to use since they are less expensive. These types of shingles are generally mixed with crushed limestone and fiberglass with asphalt to make the shingle. The crushed limestone, in particular, is a common food source for mold or algae and the main reason why it may be more likely to show up on asphalt roof shingles.
Some signs that you are dealing with an algae infestation are:
- An Odor: Growing mold often gives off a gross, musty odor. Even if there are no visible signs of decay, a musty smell is a tell-tale sign of mold lurking nearby.
- A Leaky Roof: If that smell that we mentioned is coming from your attic, then its probably a problem relating to mold on your roof. If you have a leaky roof, the chance of decay gets even higher. Many things can cause a leak, but the main problem is that it lets moisture get to wood materials. This causes wood rot and mold growth.
- Dark Streaks: Mold often will appear like streaks of dirt. The color can range from black, brown, and green.
- White, Thread-Like Streaks: White mold may also emerge on your roof. Although it can be hard to see, keep an eye out for unusual white streaks.
- Small Dark Dots: White mold can also appear as small dark dots. Again, you should occasionally check your roof closely for these.
Can You Clean An Asphalt Shingle Roof
You can clean an asphalt shingle roof, and you should if you notice any type of damage occurring on it. There are numerous products available to clean asphalt roofing the aisle that sells shingles at your local home reno store will also probably sell cleaning products.
Cleaning of asphalt shingles is primarily done via chemical means. Using brunt force to scrub or scrape shingles is not a good idea and will only exacerbate the wear on the shingle itself, shortening its lifespan more. There are several recommended cleaners, but using a bleach mixture is usually best.
How To Remove Moss From An Asphalt Roof
Q: We have a green roof that is not meant to be green. Moss is collecting on one side of the asphalt roof. The roof is otherwise in good shape. What I have learned so far is that the roof should not be power-washed. How should one remove the growth, and who does this type of work? I am not interested in getting on the roof myself.
A: The Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association distinguishes between moss, a plant with leaves that can grow into thick clumps, and mold and mildew, which are common names for types of algae that simply discolor the surface. Algae creates ugly black or brown streaks but doesnt damage a roof. Moss which is what shows in the pictures you sent is more worrisome because it can damage asphalt shingles. A thick growth of moss works like a sponge, keeping the roofing damp for long periods, and it can lift edges of shingles, making them vulnerable to blowing off in a windstorm.
To clean either algae or moss, the association recommends putting on protective gear and protecting plants, spraying with a 50-50 mix of household bleach and water, allowing that to sit for at least 15 to 20 minutes and then rinsing with low-pressure water. The bleach will kill the algae or moss, but rinsing wont necessarily leave the roof sparkling clean. Algae will disappear and wash away with subsequent rains, the association advises. Moss will loosen over time and may be removed with a leaf blower.
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What Is The Algae On Your Shingles
Diagnosing what treatment to use when roof cleaning is as simple as taking a walk through the property with a professional. A professional will be able to take a look into what is actually growing on your roof, and will know the correct application in order to treat the algae and the amount of time it will take to remove it.
Lets talk about the two types of algae we come in contact with on a daily basis.
Guide For Algae & Moss Removal On Your Roof
If you live in the South, Midwest, or another region of the country that has warm, humid summers, you may have noticed stains and streaks showing up on your asphalt shingles. These stains look a lot like moldbut in fact, much of this so-called mold is actually blue-green algae . In some cases, what looks like mold might be more properly classified as moss.
In less frequent instances, the streaks on the roof actually are mold, which can be very dangerous for your family and more difficult to get rid of. The most serious mold cases can cause asthma, headaches, and other health problems, so its crucial to understand the difference.
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Problems With Using Bleach On Asphalt Roofs
There is some concern regarding the use of chlorine-based productson asphalt roofs. Household bleach can damage asphaltdue to its high sodium content. Apparently, the sodium causes anelectrochemical reaction that reduces the elasticity of the asphalt leading to stiffness, brittleness and curling of the shingles.
Taking Care Of Your Asphalt Shingle Roof
You should expect to get about 15-25 years out of a shingle roof upon replacement. Thats if, and only if, youre taking proper care of your roof throughout the years. Other roof types may vary in life expectancy. Check out the best roof types and their life expectancies.
The weather and environmental stress can be tough on a roof. Not only the roof itself, but also your gutters, chimney, trees, and sealant. When you cause damage to those, that can also lead to further roof damage. Let me share with you key tips to taking care of your asphalt shingles:
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Cleaning Asphalt Roofshingles With Bleach And Water
Bleach and water work well when cleaning asphalt roof shingles. Clean the roof following the procedure below
When using this method ensure that you clean the roof in the morning hours or when itâs cloudy and there is no rain. If you clean on a sunny day bleach will evaporate. Keep repeating the process till the roof is clean. If the problem of algae and moss persists then it is important to consult a professional roof cleaner.
Another Less Common Occurrence Is Moss
If you see green fuzzy stuff on your roof it is most likely moss. Moss loves cool, damp environments. If you have moss on your roof it will be commonly found on the North slopes in addition to overhanging treses or overhanging sections of the roof causing shade and allowing moisture to hang around and the moss to grow.
Moss spores can become airborne and make their way onto roofs via wind, birds, squirrels, and other small animals, in the same way that algae makes its way to your roof.
Once the moss spores land on a roof, they will gather in the spaces between shingles and eventually grow into thick spongy moss.
Algae is a term for a large group of photosynthetic eukaryotic organisms. They are typically aquatic and lack the roots, stems, and leaves of other plants, though they still contain chlorophyllthe green pigments found in most plants. However, they are not plants but rather organisms also spread by spores, much like moss.
Mold is the result of algae left too long on a roof. Algae needs perpetual moisture to exist, so they grow best in humid areas. When algae keeps the roof damp for long enough, rot can set in, commonly leading to mold growing and spreading.
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How To Clean Mold From Roof Shingles
How to clean mold from roof shingles? While wearing protective rubber gloves and a breathing mask, carefully pour ¼-part chlorine bleach into a clean bucket with ¾-part water. Next, put a tablespoon of trisodium phosphate to the bleach solution. Pour the bleach solution into a pump sprayer. Generous spray the moldy roof shingles with the solution.
Will bleach damage asphalt shingles? If applied with an appropriate water-bleach ratio, then bleach will definitely not damage your asphalt shingles. Spray a solution of 50% Bleach and 50% Water all over the roof. By the time youre done spraying down the roof, you can start softwashing immediately, this doesnt take long for the bleach to work.
What is the best cleaner for roof shingles? of laundry strength liquid chlorine bleach and water. This is the best way to clean a roof if you have asphalt shingles. After spraying the roof with the mixture, allow it to sit on the surface for 15 to 20 minutes before rinsing thoroughly with clean water.
Will bleach kill mold on roof shingles? Bleach is one of the readily available items that can introduce a new perspective in your roof shingles cleaning routine. When correctly in the right amount, bleach can efficiently destroy the algae, bacteria, mold, mildew, moss, fungus and other organic organisms growing on the roof.
How To Clean Roof Algae
The easiest way to clean algae off roofs is with the use of bleach and water. As long as the problem has not advanced to the point where the roof is seriously compromised, a 50/50 mix of bleach and water should clear away the algae and restore the cleanliness of your shakes or shingles. Bleach is the active ingredient that kills algae on contact.
After mixing bleach and water in a large plastic bucket, gradually spread the mixture over your roof with a mop. The algae should quickly loosen up and wipe away from the shingles as you cover the roof, foot by foot. Once you have finished, hose the mixture off the roof. This stage is a good time to check your gutters for any obstructions that could possibly impede the drainage process.
To prevent the re-growth of algae, line the shingles with copper flashing to inhibit any further development of algae, which is allergic to copper. Better yet, contact a roofing service professional to perform this service. A licensed roof cleaner will know how to keep balance and perform the job fast on a residential rooftop.
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Why Mold & Algae Grow On Your Roof And How To Remove It
Todays post is from Devyn Earls of Orlandos A-1 Quality Roof Cleaning and Restoration company. They have been in business over the last 20 years specializing in low pressure cleaning with hundreds of satisfied residential and commercial customers both large and small. So with no further ado Why mold & algae grow on your roof and how to remove it
Your roof is important to the integrity of your home & the lifespan of your roof is highly affected by the weather and its environment. How about the roof that seems like it gets dirty really quickly. If youre in a humid part of the country, you know what its like as it appears almost overnight to be covered in black stains, discolored streaks and/or green mossy growth. Here in Orlando, FL, we have seen new roofs completely covered by the problem in less than four years.
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How To Prevent Black Streaks On Roof
If youve already removed the algae from your roof once and you want to make sure you dont get it again, or if youre building a new house and you want to make sure that your roof doesnt get those black streaks from algae, there are 2 things you can do to prevent the algae from forming:
#1 Look for algae-resistant roof shingles which have either copper or zinc added to prevent the algae from forming.
Heres how AR roof shingles work:
If exposed to sunlight, the ultraviolet rays will readily break down asphalt shingles. Thats why the shingles you see are covered with the small colored ceramic granules. These create a powerful sunscreen and offer you different colors to match your exterior decorating scheme. Many shingle manufacturers make shingles that have special colored granules that contain copper. These help to prevent the ugly black roof-algae stains you might see on your existing roof or that of a neighbor.
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How Do Roof Leaks Happen
When fungi growth leads to roof damage and leaks, the problem becomes critical. If the damage has already traveled to this extent, the task to restore your roof will involve more than just a cleanup. If water is now leaking into your attic, you will need to identify the source of the leaks and the extent of the damage both externally and internally. In cases such as these, the best option is to hire a roofing professional to examine the situation and perform the needed repair work.
Roof leaks can stem from various types of damage, which are often the result of gradual fungi growth. Some of the most common sources of roof leaks include:
Any time a major storm hits your area be it a blizzard, snowstorm or hurricane you should contact a roofing professional to inspect your roof the moment the storm has passed. Storms can rip away random parts from a roof and render interiors vulnerable to wind, water and the further spread of malignant, toxic fungi.
Stop Roof Algae From Coming Back
To keep the algae from coming back, insert 6-inch-wide strips of zinc or copper under the row of shingling closest to the roof peak, leaving an inch or two of the lower edge exposed to the weather. That way whenever it rains, some of the metal molecules will wash down the roof and kill any algae trying to regain a foothold on your shingles.
You can probably see this same principle working on roofs in your neighborhood. Look for chimneys with copper flashing the areas directly below the flashing will be free of any algae stains.
The strips also work on roofs suffering from moss buildup. Just scrub it off first with a brush, then bleach as above.
Need help with home maintenance? Read our reviews on home warranty providers.
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Asphalt Shingle Roof Cleaning: What Not To Do
Cleaning a roof is a simple process, but there are easy ways to seriously damage your roof. Therefore, it is prudent to avoid the following when cleaning your roof:
- Never use a pressure washer.
- Spray roof from top to bottom. Spraying from bottom to top will force water up and under your shingles.
- Do not clean in the winter, as you risk having excessive amounts of water freeze on your shingles. Freezing water is expanding water, which means water could travel up and under your shingles.
- Dont let bleach or vinegar stay on your roof indefinitely. Vinegar or bleach left to sit can permanently disfigure your roof shingles or cause them to degrade prematurely.
Roof Moss Removal: Cleaning Mold Algae & Moss From Your Roof
We donât recommend trying to handle roof algae and moss removal on your own. We recommend hiring a professional.
If you are a DIY person capable of climbing a ladder and not afraid of heights, you may be able to tackle algae or moss removal yourself.
The safest method for your roof and the environment is to use a product called Spray and Forget or Wet and Forget. These products can be purchased at most local hardware stores, can be put into a hose-end sprayer, and applied in many cases from the ground or a ladder or the edge of the gutter. These methods can take 3-6 months to work but are the safest. Take some time to research these products before use.
Another more aggressive method for quicker results is the use of water and bleach. Below are the general steps for this method:
- Mix 1 part oxygen bleach cleaner with 1 part water.
- Pour the bucket of solution onto the affected area of the roof and let it soak for 30 minutes.
- For larger sections affected by algae or moss you could put this solution into a spray pump and apply. Be extremely careful not to step on wet algae or moss as it is very slippery and could cause a slip and fall!
- After 30 minutes, rinse the mixture off with your hose on a low-pressure setting. NEVER PRESSURE WASH YOUR ROOF. The moss wonât come off your roof immediately, but within a few days, it will dry up and blow off with the wind. If your roof is pretty well-covered in moss, you might need to use a leaf blower to get rid of the remains.
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How Much Bleach Is Safe For Your Roof
When using bleach, the amount you use is a key factor that will determine the results. According to ARMA a 50/50 solution of household strength sodium hypochlorite and water is sufficient to remove moss and algae. Below is a discussion from a roof cleaning expert explaining how much sodium hypochlorite is too much to damage your roof.