If you’ve never thought to clean the roof of your home, you’re not alone. With the endless amount of cleaning that needs tending to inside and around the home, many people never stop to think about their roof. This could be an expensive oversight. A variety of algae, known as Gloeocapsa magma, is spreading through the United States. This algae feeds on limestone and decomposing organic matter, and can dramatically age and damage shingles.
Gloeocapsa Magma Algae: How it Affects Shingles
Asphalt shingles, the most common on the market, are made using limestone as filler. These shingles don’t shed fallen organic matter, such as decomposing leaves, particularly well. Gloeocapsa Magma, which is spreading throughout the United States due to increased humidity, uses both decaying organic matter and limestone as a food source. After a colony of algae begins to form on your shingles, the process increases exponentially as old algae dies and decomposes which provides food for new algae. It’s not uncommon for a “spot” of algae on the roof to turn into a large patch before the owner even realizes it’s a problem.
Gloeocapsa magma does more than stain roofs. It holds moisture in shingles, and exposes your roof to the plethora of problems excessive dampness can cause: premature shingle aging and rotting. Without correction, these problems can lead to mold, mildew and moss.
Traditional Roof Cleaning Chemicals
There are a variety of products on the market to help remove algae from your roof. Many of them contain harsh chemicals such as bleach or sodium hydroxide. Bleach is toxic to plant and animal material, but may not kill the underlying bacteria. Sodium hydroxide is a chemical used in paint strippers as well as oven and drain cleaners. It too is toxic, and both of these harsh chemicals erode gutters, flashings, and other hard surfaces.
Additionally, sodium hydroxide based chemicals often need pressure washed to remove the leftover residue. This pressure washing adds undue wear and tear to the shingles. Even so called “low-pressure” washes are well above the normal level that shingles should be exposed to.
Roof Cleaning without the Chemicals
At Highs Chimney, we would never expose you or your home to unnecessary chemicals. We have found the best algae remover to be DEFY® roof cleaner. This cleaner is specially formulated to kill the algae attacking your roof without excessive damage to your home or garden. It uses a blend of detergents coupled with sodium metasilicate, which is made from sand and considered non-pollutant. This combination helps break apart the algae colonies, which allows the DEFY® rinse to remove these particles from your roof, without the need of a pressure wash.
Once the roof has been cleaned, we apply DEFY® Stain blocker, which helps prevent the return of the algae. This Stain Blocker needs to be reapplied for continued protection of your roof, but your climate and individual circumstances determine how often reapplication needs to be. Depending on the humidity, shadiness of your roof, and likelihood of decomposing organic matter, this could range from one year to five, with two to three being average.
If you’re beginning to notice spots or stains on your roof, it’s time to call in the experts. We can help determine if gloeocapsa magma is to blame, and stop its growth before it gets out of hand or damages your property, all without unnecessary chemicals.