The growth on anything on a roof would likely raise some reasonable concerns for any homeowner. After all, the roof is crucial to the integrity of your home. It protects you and your family from the elements.
A lot of things can drastically affect the health and lifespan of a roof, including living organisms like fungus, algae, and mold. When homeowners fail to take action and let the growth continue, it can lead to costly problems.
Let’s look at some of the natural threats to your roof, whether it be damage to your home or your health.
Algae growth is more prevalent along with households in the deep south, northeast, Midwest, and Pacific Coast. It can be characterized by its blackish-green color. The growth of algae can eat away at shingles and eventually lead to the roof’s deterioration.
Roof algae are not harmful or dangerous in itself. Still, algae are particularly damaging to the roof after some time as it causes the protective UV granules of your roof shingles to come off, which will eventually dry them out.
Like all fungi, algae love wet environments, but it needs shade to thrive. Algae will most likely spawn in damp and humid areas. Algae spores grow on wood and asphalt shingles that don’t get much sunlight. It mostly builds in the gutters and downspouts where water is present.
Unlike other organisms that grow on your roof, moss is neither a fungus or algae but a plant. It can serve as an attractive feature on a rooftop with its fuzzy texture and forest-green color depending on the house’s design scheme and surroundings. However, it should be adequately maintained, or else it will shorten the life span of your roof.
The attraction of moss to moisture can make it detrimental to your roof health. As the moss spreads, it will contain even more moisture to the surface of your roof. This can set into the wood of shingles and shakes. Eventually, causing the materials to rot away and compromise the roof’s integrity.
The presence of fungus and algae on your roof can result in the formation of the symbiotic organism known as Lichen. The relationship of these organisms can cause real damage to your roof.
Lichens deeply attach themselves to the shingles. They can be very stubborn and difficult to remove that not even wind, rain, or snow can dislodge them. Some homeowners may attempt to use harsh acids or cleaning chemicals to remove the lichen, but the lichen remains adhered to the roof even if they end up killed.
If left untreated, lichens can end up removing the top layer of the shingle, color coat, and permanently scar the shingle surface.
Mold can cause more problems for a homeowner beyond a weakened home or building structure. It also has hazardous health effects on infants, seniors, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems depending on the species and the extent of exposure. It can cause stuffiness, irritation of the eyes and throat, wheezing, coughing, and sometimes skin irritation.
Damp and humid environments are a sure breeding ground for molds, so it’s most likely to grow on wood and drywall surfaces where water can seep in. It can travel through air ducts or run off the roof during a rainstorm onto walkways and drivers where it can be tracked into the home.
Mold can appear in many ways, but it’s easy to notice because of its unsightly appearance and distinct smell. It is characterized by black, brown, and even dark green color with a slimy film consistency. It has a strong and unavoidable musty scent. Some might even describe it as rancid.
Unlike its fungi counterparts, mildew spreads at a fast rate in warm, humid, and wet environments. Roofs with poor drainage or have overhanging tree branches are an ideal place for mildew. You can spot this nasty fungus due to its powdery consistency. It comes in a variety of colors, like green, black, light gray, red, or pink.
How Clean Your Roof
Fungal outgrowths are not as easy to remove as dirt on your roof, but you should be able to clean your roof if these organisms haven’t its structural integrity with bleach and water.
A simple mix of bleach and water can clean your roof. Some organisms may need scrubbing and an extra dose of the bleach and water solution, then finish it off with a steady stream from a garden hose.
Using power washing is not a good idea in general, especially for asphalt roofing. However, some fungus such as lichen can only be removed through the use of pressure cleaning. Make sure to do this with the power turned way down or call a professional roof cleaning companies to handle it.
Putting a moisture-resistant solution on your roof after cleaning it can keep this problem from happening again. You should also implement some preventative measures such as trimming any branches that are hanging over your roof since they can cause excess water build-up. Also, make sure that your attic and roof has proper ventilation.
While any concerned homeowner can take part in carrying out proper roofing care and maintenance, it is highly discouraged to do this type of job yourself. These tasks involve walking around on your roof, which is not only dangerous but more harmful to your roof.
Instead, call your trusted roofer to inspect your roof and deal with the fungi and other harmful organic substances. They can also handle whatever damage they cause to your roof.
Fahey Roofing Contractors has the experienced and skilled contractors you need to help you with any necessary roof repairs and roof replacement. We serve various areas in West Virginia and Ohio. If you have more questions, visit our website today or contact us at (304) 826-1317 for West Virginia and (740) 523-0380 for Ohio to learn more.