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What Is Roof Algae and How Do I Fix It?

What Is Roof Algae and How Get Rid of It?

Every year I like to clean my house. I like to do it during the springtime. I think it’s the best time to do it because it has not gotten too hot that you have the possibility to get heatstroke and is not so cold that your hands freeze. It’s the best time of the year. Many people neglect to wash their roofs but this is a critical step in any homeowners cleaning schedule according to a professional roofer in Pittsburgh, AAA Roofing. My process is to clean the outside walls and then move onto the roof.

What is Roof Algae?

The first time I got up there I saw some black mold-like stains and streaks that appeared on the roof. The particular light-colored asphalt shingles are actually blue-green algae (Gloeocapsa magma). It is most commonly found in climates with warm, humid summers. They do not cause damage to the roofing, but it looks terrible.  

Causes of Roof Algae

According to RGB Construction, algae is an aquatic plant that does not have any root system or leaves. If your house is in a humid atmosphere where heat and moisture combine, then algae will be able to thrive. Algae can grow relatively quickly in areas that are shady and damp.

This is one of the main issues that you may face if your home is surrounded by a bunch of trees. In order to grow, algae needs plenty of nutrients that may be provided by the limestone filters found in roofing shingles. Other inorganic materials that can make up your roof help the algae to spread and darken. An algae growth on your roof can begin with one single spore that has been blown onto your roof.

If conditions are right, the spore will attach and spread. Rainy weather can promote algae growth, but if the air is humid, the plant does not need rain to grow. Other factors like clogged gutters, standing water, or poor roof ventilation can also promote algae growth.

How to Get Rid of Algae on the Roof?

According to Mr.Roof, there are a few things that you can do to get rid of the algae from on top of your roof. The first thing that you could think of is that you could replace all the roofing with new shingles dark enough to disguise the staining or with shingles laced with copper granules, which are lethal to algae.

But obviously, that only would make sense to do if the shingles were worn out and needed replacing. It would be silly to replace new shingles. Also, algae resistant shingles are another option. In recent years, roofing manufacturers have begun mixing copper granules into roofing products to produce algae resistant shingles. If you live in an area susceptible to algae growth, be sure to specify this type of shingle when replacing your roof.

A less expensive solution to the problem is to spray wash the roof with a mix of 50 percent water and bleach. It will easily get rid of any of that pesky algae. But do not, I repeat do not, use pressure washers, please.

They are very likely to damage the shingles badly and tear them apart. You should also keep in mind to wet down your foundation’s plants first, and then rinse everything with clean water after you are done. Bleach, even a little bit, can easily kill off those plants, so wetting them with plain clean water first will allow you to protect them.

Hiring a Professional to Clean Your Roof

A licensed roofing contractor will know how best to handle your roof algae issue. A professional can inspect your roofing system, determine whether the algae has caused any underlying issues, and clean your roof in a way that will not cause further damage. A contractor can then recommend ways to prevent future algae growth, such as special roof coatings or gutter replacement. If the algae have damaged your roofing system, a contractor can schedule repairs.

Contact a roofing professional the day you notice signs of potential algae growth on your roof. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to treat. Save yourself the time, money, and hassle of deeper issues by calling a roofer right away.

If you see discoloration, watermarks, dark spots, peeling paint, mold on your chimney, rotting wood, or crumbling drywall, you need to call a professional roofing expert. Otherwise, you could put yourself at risk of property damage and health issues.

Stop Roof Algae from Coming Back

According to Roof Revivers, one of the best, most cost-effective things to do is to make sure to keep the algae from ever coming back. An effective thing would be to insert a few 6-inch-wide strips of zinc or copper under the row of shingling closest to the roof’s peak and leave an inch or two of the lower edge exposed to the weather. This way whenever it rains, some of the metal molecules will wash down the roof and kill any algae trying to grow on your shingles.