What should I do with my roof ?
I had an insurance company inspection to upgrade my policy after doing some work on my property. The adjuster went out and did the inspection, a week later I received a notice of cancellation stating that they were going to cancel my insurance policy because I had a mold issue on my house and that I had to hire a company to come out and get rid of it within 30 days or my policy would be canceled. I went out the next day to examine the problem and see what I should do about it. Well here is what I found. On the north side of my roof, there is a lifetime shingle roof that was less than 6 years old, with some black streaks and a few Lichens and Moss on it. On my fiber cement board, with a 50 year warranty on material and a 15 year warranty on the paint, that has been on for 4 years had some mildew on it.
I was a little upset that the insurance company doesn’t know the difference between Mold, Moss, Mildew, Lichens and Algae. When you are facing this problem I think it is a good idea to ask an expert to come out an evaluate the problem first before you panic and make the wrong choice. Of course I took maters in my own hand! I went to the closest home improvement store and picked up a gallon of liquid pool shock and container of algae inhibitor. I mixed them into a 5 gallon bucket and filled the rest up with water, then I emptied 1⁄2 of the bucket into a hand held pump sprayer and started spraying. There was enough liquid to do both sides of my basic 14 square roof and my 4 square siding. I left it on for a couple of weeks. When I came back all I had to do was grab my garden hose and a fine spray nozzle and rinse it off.
To get more life out of your roof shingles you should perform a regular maintenance program which includes: cleaning out your gutters at least 4 times a year; trimming all overhanging branches; and it wouldn’t hurt to spray the solution every 2 years to keep the algae and moss from coming back. You can also install zinc or copper strips at the ridge line to eliminate any more occurring growth.
Here are some of the definitions of common “uninvited guests” drawn to the organic compounds, such as limestone fillers, in the shingles:
Lichens are a fungus that grows symbiotically with algae that has a greenish, yellowish, brownish, grayish color, in a leaf like crust, that usually comes from overhanging tree limbs and can damage asphalt roof shingles if not removed.
Moss is a non-vascular plant that obtains water through its leaves unlike most plants that get water through there root system. Moss therefore has to have a moist environment to survive. Here in the Northeast moss tends to grow on the North side of the roofs and under overhanging tree limbs. If moss is not removed it will grow under asphalt roof shingles and lift the shingle up and could cause the wind to rip the shingle off letting moisture to get in and cause a leak.
Gloeocapsa Magma or Blue Green Algae is the black streaking of your asphalt roof shingles that attack the limestone fillers that are in your shingles. It is often mistaken for mold and mildew which occurs in coastal or humid climates most common in the Northeast. Algae spores are commonly carried by wind or animals and can be easily cleaned by the proper cleaning solutions.
Mold spores grow anywhere where moisture is present and usually attack any organic matter such as oils and dirt that is not cleaned properly like your gutters or trim. Humidity in basements can be a big problem too, particularly in the summer months, causing mold to grow. I suggest using a mold inhibitor spray and a good dehumidification system to help with this problem. Cleaning with bleach and water mix will get rid of most mold problems.
Mildew is a kind of mold or fungus that usually is attracted to organic material and is often white, black, green and brown, sometimes found on siding, and can be easily cleaned with a bleach based product.
Remember, never use a pressure washer to clean off your roof because it will loosen up the granules and ruin your asphalt roof shingles. Be patient when cleaning your roof and if needed ask a professionals advice before taking on a task you may not be able to handle. Feel free to call the roofing team here at Shepley and we can point you in the right direction!