Choose A Safe And Effective Product To Clean Asphalt Shingles Without Damaging Them
The first step in maintaining your roof is to roof it right. If youre not doing the work yourself, choose a qualified professional roofer to do the job. And choose your roofing material wisely. Some roofing will require less maintenance than others. Choices include metal and slate. Some roofings types last longer than others, as well. That said, data shows that you are probably going to choose asphalt shingles, which can last a lifetime, but likely not without some repairs and maybe replacing a few shingles here and there. And, you may need to clean the roof once in a while.
Twenty years ago I bicycled about 500 miles along the Oregon / Northern California coast and marveled at the number of asphalt shingle roofs carpeted with lichens and moss. The roof growth gave character to many seaside and forest cottages. Though the roofs looked cool, I knew the shingles probably wouldnt last too much longer.
Lichens and moss accelerate shingle deterioration by loosening shingle granules and exposing the asphalt and fiberglass base materials. The granules arent just there to color the shingles they protect the base materials from sunlight and weathering.
About five years ago, I noticed a few patches of lichens growing on the north side of my roof. Like most lazy homeowners, I ignored the problem. Then about two years ago, when the roof looked like those out in the Pacific Northwest, I knew I couldnt put off treating the growth any longer.
Bleach Soap And Water
Usebleach soap and water to remove moss on the roof. Fill up 75% bleach and 6 to 8particles of dish washing soap in a pump sprayer. Shake it well to mix it up. Sprayit on the areas that have been affected with moss on the roof. Wait for a shortperiod of time for rain to wash it off then rinse the roof with a hose.
Based on the discussed methods above, we finally understand that we can remove moss from the roof naturally. It is a win-win situation for both the environment and living things in the ecosystem and the roof without moss. The environment and living things will not be affected by cleaning the roof and the roof will remain clean without moss. Other than removing moss on the roof, prevent its growth.
How To Remove Moss From A Roof
If your roof has sprouted a moss infection, you can remove it before it becomes serious enough to impact the performance of your roof. Moss is tough and typically you will not be able to remove it by hand. However, you can use a chemical solution to loosen the moss without damaging the shingles. We dont recommend that you step on the roof for moss removal.
Materials Youll Need
- A ladder .
- A moss-specific cleaner that does not use bleach and is rated by the EPA.
- Or your own cleaner mix of mild bleach or mild detergent mixed with water in a spray bottle. You may mix 2 cups of chlorine bleach with 2 gallons of water. Or you can use 8 ounces of dish soap with 2 gallons of water.
How To Remove Moss From a Roof
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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.
Button Up The Roof And Final Clean
Cover the roof right away to protect against rain. Buttoning up the roof is the final prep step before shingling. It consists of installing ice and water barrier and 30-lb. asphalt-saturated felt. This underlayment acts as a temporary weather barrier to keep rain out. But it won’t stop heavy rain and wind, so once you start a section, always try to flash and shingle it by the end of the day.
Ice and water barrier is used at roof edges and other vulnerable areas. To install it, snap a chalk line 36 in. from the edge of the eaves. If you have gutters, you’ll want the ice and water barrier to cover all of the gutter flashing that’s on the roof.
Starting at the rake edge of the roof, align the ice and water barrier with the chalk line. Tack it at the top with staples every few feet to hold it in place. Once the entire section is tacked along the chalk line, lift up the bottom part, peel off the backing, then let it fall back into place. The ice and water barrier will immediately stick to the roof.
Flip the top part of the ice and water barrier back over the bottom section , peel off the backing, then set it back into place on the roof. Work carefully to avoid wrinkles. They’re a hassle to get out. Move on to the next section of roof edge, overlapping the vertical seams of the ice and water barrier by 6 in.
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Things To Consider Before Removing Moss From Your Roof
Now that you know the variety of issues that can arise when moss starts to flourish on your roof, how do you deal with it? Depending on the scale of the problem, you can try to tackle it on your own, or you might require professional moss removal. First, consider these items before jumping onto that ladder.
Trying to remove moss from your roof with household cleaning chemicals can cause more harm than benefits. Some cleaning products have properties that result in unfavourable outcomes like lead flashing when it interacts with roofing materials, which can end up staining both the lead and different parts of the roof. Instead, professional roof cleaners have exclusive specialist products that are better suited for roof cleaning.
Most people make the mistake of walking on top of their roof to clean or undertake any damages. However, roofs can’t carry the weight of a human being and can lead to broken tiles or worseinjury. Unless you’re a trained professional, it’s best to attempt the removal from the safety of your ladder.
Why Is Moss Bad For Shingles
You may feel that a bit of moss gives your roof some charm, just as ivy growing up the side of your house might. While moss may be beautiful, it is a detriment to your roof. Heres why:
Most plants gather water from their roots, but mosses gather water from their leaves. Therefore, they do not mind that shingles, unlike soil, are a dry and relatively nutrient-free environment. They will grow roots directly into the shingles, which can destroy the shingles and create the opportunity for leaks.
When it rains, moss will soak up water and retain it, creating consistently wet conditions on your roof. Moss growth will also interfere with proper drainage of water off the roof as water needs to trickle through or around the moss instead of running straight down to the gutters. The resulting constant exposure to water can degrade shingles.
Over time, moss can also work its way under shingles, lifting them up. This uplift creates opportunities for water to penetrate lower layers of the roof and, potentially, your home.
While minor moss infections may not cause many issues, it is likely to become severe over time. Once you spot moss growth on your roof, you should take steps to resolve it. If you have a severe infection, you may have no choice but to remove the shingles that have been damaged by it. A professional roofer can help you assess what kind of intervention your roof needs.
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Will Laundry Detergent Kill Roof Moss
Do not put Tide or any other laundry detergent on your roof. Laundry detergent is a de-greaser. It loosens the tar and pulls oils out of the shingles, causing the loss of granules. Despite what some articles claim, avoid using laundry detergent. There are so many other formulas to use, like vinegar, bleach, and solutions specifically made for killing moss, why risk it?
Do Not Use A Pressure Washer To Remove Moss From Your Roof
When I noticed moss on my roof, my first instinct was to rent a pressure washer and blast it away.
After a few minutes of research, I quickly learned that you should never use a pressure washer to remove moss or anything else from your roof.
High water pressure can damage your roof by lifting and loosening shingles and washing away the granules, which are the tiny pebbles on each shingle.
Maintaining granules is important because, according to NolandsRoofing.com, they make shingles sturdier and fire-resistant and protect the asphalt coating from UV rays.
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S You Shouldnt Use To Remove Moss From A Roof
Unfortunately, there is a lot of bad advice out there about how to remove moss. While these methods may be effective at removing moss, they may also damage shingles in the process. We dont recommend you try to remove your moss by:
- Scrubbing: You may be tempted to scrub the moss off the shingles because moss grips shingles quite strongly. However, scrubbing is likely to damage the asphalt shingles and remove their granules.
- Pressure washing: Pressure washers can be very strong and certainly strong enough to break a shingles adhesive and lift it up. They also can strip asphalt shingles of their granule surface, which can ruin their performance and destroy their color. Any amount of pressure washing can cause serious problems with the roof, including major leaks. Never use a pressure washer or a pressurized stream of water on your roof.
- Using harsh chemicals: High concentrations of bleach and other chemicals may do permanent damage to the shingles, increasing your risk for leaks.
Using any of these methods may also void your limited warranty on the roof. If youre in doubt about the safety or effectiveness of a moss removal method you want to try, consult with a professional roofer. A handful of roofers in areas where moss infections are common do specialize in removing moss. They may be able to do the work for you and, if not, may have recommendations about what your specific roof can benefit from.
Faq: Moss On Your Roof
Unfortunately, allowing moss to grow on your house is not the same thing as having a green roof. If you notice it on your roof, then its best to get rid of it right away. While a small amount may be harmless, if its left untreated, it can spread and grow, causing more significant structural damage down the line.
In this section, were going to answer some of the questions our team is asked most frequently about moss on a roof. If youve been wondering, Why does moss grow on roof shingles?, then youve come to the right place. Lets take a look:
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How To Remove Moss From The Roof
Wondering how to remove moss from your roof? This page has been created to share the various ways to remove moss on shingle roofs. Not only does this page share the methods to remove moss but it also helps you understand the problems that arise from a mossy roof, how to prevent a mossy roof, and overall gives you a better understanding in order to properly deal with moss on rooftops.
*Please refer to the table of contents to skip to any section of this page you are most interested in.
*We also just published an article on how to clean vinyl siding if that interests you as well.
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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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Choose The Right Chemicals
If you search online, youll see hundreds of posts on roof-cleaning methods. In less than 10 minutes, youll sign off convinced that all you need is a few gallons of household bleach and a power washer set at its lowest setting.
We dont recommend that approach. Even at low pressure, a power washer can seriously damage shingles. Plus, chlorine bleach is a corrosive agent that can damage metal roof flashings, gutters and downspouts. It can lighten the color of your roof and bleach anything the overspray contacts. And the runoff harms plants. But heres the kicker. Bleach may kill the top layer of algae and lighten the stains, but it doesnt kill the underlying algae. So the algae colony gets right back to work.
Sodium hydroxide products, on the other hand, work better than bleach and are less harmful to vegetation. But theyre also corrosive, and using them requires you to don full protective gear.
So look for a roof-cleaning product thats noncorrosive and safe for the environment. We chose Defy roof cleaner for this story , but there are other brands.
Its Time To Get Started On Your Moss Removal
Now that you know why moss grows on roofs, the steps youll need to take to remove it, and how to prevent it in the first place, its time to get started on your removal project! There are plenty of roofing professionals who will be happy to remove it from your roof and provide the necessary repairs.
In other cases, you may need a full roof replacement, especially if your roof is getting up there in age, has significant damage, or has too much moss to remove. At Legacy Service, we can help with that! We provide full roof replacements for homeowners throughout southeastern PA, NJ, and DE. If you need to replace your roofing, siding, windows, doors, or gutters, please feel free to contact us at any time to schedule a free estimate.
- 95 James Way, Suite 100 Southampton, PA 18966
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Why Is There Growth On My Roof
Moss and other plant or fungus growth is a very common problem for roofs, even in parts of the country that dont see much rain. Moist, shady places are the ideal spot for moss, lichen, and algae to grow. Typically, this will be a North facing part of your roof that doesnt get much sun. Spores can be spread by wind, birds, and bugs, and when conditions are ripe they will bloom.
Newer asphalt, fiberglass, or slate shingles may have a moss resistant chemical coating on them, but older shingle roofs are commonly invaded by moss or other growth. Even if you know how to clean your shingles regularly, moss can be found hidden in the crevices between them.
When moss is growing on a metal roof, theres a good chance the protective coating on your metal shingles has worn off. Because moss usually grows in areas untouched by the sun, it can retain water and stay damp, which can lead to rust or corrosion.
When youre removing large patches of moss from a metal roof, the best bet is to repaint your roof. A professional roofer has the experience to remove moss and repaint your roof safely, and they are much better at spotting signs of wood rot or leaks under your roof. It can take practice to learn how to find a roof leak and its best to consult a professional before attempting any patchwork on your own.
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So how do you get rid of it?
Mold And Mildew Growth
As you can see, the alga gets on your roof easily enough the wind just has to blow in the right direction and there it is. Just as easily, mold and mildew follow. The standing water and humidity, the rapidly growing spores and wood rot, these are quick and fertile breeding places for mold. This can be expansive, and as a result, expensive. Often the damage is done well before its discovered, as mold on the outside of the house is usually indicative of mold on the inside of the house.
You cant prevent spores of algae and moss or mildew from landing on your roof. But you can prevent growth. Obviously the best care is preventative care. With regular cleanings you can get rid of the algae before it even becomes an issue, and definitely before it gives way to rot, mold and mildew.
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