Algae and Moss Prevention and Cleaning for Asphalt Roofing Systems

Algae and Moss Prevention and Cleaning for Asphalt Roofing Systems

Vancouver and the surrounding Pacific Northwest are undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places to call home on the entire planet. The ocean meets the mountains, nature and wilderness are just a short distance in any direction, and the lush and diverse forests provide the perfect backdrop for all interests. These factors also contribute to some of the challenges of living in Vancouver. The geography of this place – the unique combination of ocean moisture and steep mountains – creates a temperate rainforest environment equating to a lot of precipitation over the course of a year. This precipitation impacts a lot of things, and, as roof cleaning professionals, the experts at West Coast Moss Removal pay extra close attention to the impacts of our environment on roofs. Mainly this focuses on moss removal and algae removal or, better yet, preventing this sort of issue from arising. To fully understand the impacts and challenges of moss and algae, let’s start with the basics.

What is algae?

When you look up at your roof and notice black streaks and discoloration, your first reaction may be that you have a mould problem. However, more often than not, this black growth is an alga. Algae tend to grow in humid or wet environments – such as that of British Columbia. Algae problems always start small, with little spots developing on surfaces where moisture gathers. If left untreated, these spots grow into bigger streaks, sometimes covering an entire roof. By the time this is visible, algae have been present for many weeks to months.

Because algae spores are transported by the wind, they can transfer from one roof to another very quickly. Whole neighbourhoods can be affected if left untreated. Algae itself does not harm asphalt shingles. However, it can have a negative impact on the lifespan of certain roof types. It is also not particularly aesthetic to have algae on your roof, and this is certainly something you would want to address if preparing to sell your home. The sooner you can identify and treat the problem, the better.

What is moss?

As opposed to algae, moss is a plant that absorbs water through leaves and requires moist wet climates to survive. Again, British Columbia is perfect for such a thing. Moss doesn’t particularly like direct sunlight, so it is most common to find this plant growing on damp north-facing roofs and surfaces. Overhanging branches and roof debris also promote moss growth by providing additional shade and surface area for nutrients and moisture.

Like algae, moss spores are easily transported – largely by the wind. Unfortunately, moss almost always negatively affects asphalt shingles and roofs. They can reduce their lifespan, cause shingles to lift, which in turn impacts their effectiveness, and can even promote and create moisture damage on a surface through leaking and pooling. It is critical to prevent and treat moss growth as soon as possible.

Preventative Care for Your Roof

Like most home projects, a little bit of prevention can save you a lot of time, money, and stress in the long run. When it comes to algae and moss growth, here are a few things you can do to stay ahead of the curve.

  • Clear all debris from your roof before it starts to accumulate. Use a leaf blower or non-abrasive broom to maintain the integrity of your shingles.
  • Ensure that your gutters are flowing properly, to avoid any sort of excess moisture buildup and be sure upper roof gutters drain to the ground and not onto a lower roof.
  • Trim vegetation around your roof to promote sunlight and decrease debris build–up, creating a less conducive environment for moss and algae.
  • Consider adding copper or zinc strips on your roof to prevent moss and algae growth or install shingles that are built to be algae resistant.

Moss Removal and Algae Removal

If you are beyond the point of preventative care, it is time to explore moss removal and algae removal options. For the best results, apply a 1:1 mixture of liquid chlorine bleach and water with a sprayer and let it sit on the surface for at least 20 minutes – but be sure to rinse before it has fully dried. Once your solution has been given a chance to settle in, rinse it thoroughly with a low-power wash. Pressure washers can and will damage asphalt shingles, perhaps even more than the moss that is growing on them.

Because you are using a high-potency bleach solution, be sure to use extra caution to protect your skin, clothes, and surrounding yard from damage and always wear personal protective equipment. Moss will generally loosen after the power wash and can be removed with a blower. Algae should disappear quickly, and lingering bits should certainly wash away after a strong rain. For the most severe cases, multiple washes may be needed.

Keeping your roof clean is important, and it is also a time-consuming job that is not without risk. Instead of putting yourself at risk twenty feet above the ground, why not leave it to the experts at West Coast Moss Removal? With decades of experience, there is no job we cannot handle, and our team will always put customer needs first. Give us a call today to find out more, request a quote, or schedule a cleaning!

Call Now ButtonGive us a call