Roof Moss/Algae/Lichen Cleaning Myths Debunked
There's a lot of false information about roof moss/algae/lichen cleaning floating around right now, and I guess this is to be expected because it's still a relatively new industry and most homeowners still aren't that familiar with it. But I'm tired of seeing all the confusion and I’ve decided that it's time to set the record straight. It's time to blast some common roof cleaning myths out of the water once and for all. So, without further ado, I give you the myths about roof stain removal.
Black and yellow roof stains are caused by tar, acid, dirt, or jet fuel ?
Roof stains are caused by a hardy type of blue-green algae called Gloeocapsa Magma. Or black, yellow lichen or lumpy fury wet green coloured moss, all it takes is for one algae spore to land on your roof and take hold and then it’s off to the races. These algae will continue to multiply and spread, its growth fed by the limestone filler in the shingles, roof tiles, slates and moisture.
Algae on the roof is really a signal that it's time for a new roof ?
Simply the presence of algae stains does not necessarily equate with needing a new roof. In many cases all a roof needs is a good professional clean to restore its original look and health. You might notice that many roofers and roofing companys don’t like roof cleaners, (well we are fully trained roofers and we do all kinds of roofing work weather its cleaning total re-roofing or the most simple repairs you can expect a thorough inspection and an honest quotation), this is because we keep them honest. If a roofer tells you that you need a whole new roof just because of some moss/algae staining tell him to take a walk and look up your local pressure roof cleaning company instead. You’ll save a huge amount of money.
Roof algae removal will have no real impact on a home's curb appeal ?
Most people are shocked when they see how much better their home looks after a roof cleaning. I think this is because most homeowners have gotten so used to seeing the stains on their roof that they’ve completely forgotten how good it once looked. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve cleaned the roof of a house that had been on the (for sale) market for months with virtually no activity and within days of the cleaning it finally started getting serious offers. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again that no matter how beautiful your landscaping, no matter how clean your windows, no matter how precise the painted trim, if your roof is covered in filthy algae stains then it will still ruin your curb appeal, if not in your eyes then in the eyes of your family, friends, neighbours, and potential buyers.
Roof moss/algae is only a cosmetic issue so it can be ignored for now ?
If not cleaned off and kept at bay roof algae has the ability to shave years off the life of your roof. It’s important to remember that roof algae is a living organism that needs food to continue to grow. Guess what the favourite food of roof algae is?
That’s right – your roof shingles, tiles, slates, some manufacturers now use additives in the manufacturing process which the algae just loves to chew on. This will result in premature loss and a general deterioration. When these living organisms attack they affect the vital health of your roof and home because they work to deflect UV rays and heat away from your roof surface. If the roof is covered with algae then you will have a hotter attic and higher bills. You’ll also have to replace the roof a lot sooner, and with the average new roof these days topping £6,000 it’s just a no-brainer to keep your roof clean and functional for a fraction of the cost.
The best way to go about removing roof algae is with high pressure ?
I’ve beaten this one to death YES YES YES it is the best way to remove the moss/algae/lichen from your roof when the main roof has either clay, concrete tiles, slates, asbestos and metal roofing sheets. But pressure washing is NOT for shingles or garage flat roofs it bears repeating that, next to positioning your home in the path of a tornado, power washing your shingles or garage flat roof to remove moss/algae/lichen stains is the worst thing you could possibly do to it. Just because your concrete drive, decking, and brick patio or concrete roof tiles, bricks were pressure cleaned doesn’t mean you should do it to your shingles or your garage flat roof. Don’t you have any idea how flimsy and fragile your shingles, garage flat roof is? Don’t you realize how many thousands or tens of thousands of shingle, garage flat roofing granules will pop right off with the use of a power-washing wand? It just always blows my mind that people think this is a good idea. Yes, blasting your garage roof with 2000 PSI will remove some of the stains, but if it removes some of your actual roof in the process then what the heck is the point.
Chemical pressure roof cleaning will damage tiles, shingles, gutters, and landscaping ?
If you’re using the right environmentally friendly chemicals with the proper procedures and operating the pressure cleaning equipment at the correct psi and rinsing techniques to the highest levels then you have nothing to fear. I’ve pressure cleaned hundreds of roofs with the correct pressure and the safest chemical methods and we have never once seen a situation where we caused damage to someone’s home. We also only clean the roof when we have a total cover up by way of sheeting to cover any possible splash area’s, we make sure there is no chance of debris going into the neighbours property, we also cover cars, grass area’s, any bushes, and perimeter landscaping so that there’s absolutely no chance of any damage or debris in places that would look unsightly.
It's only necessary to clean the sections of the roof that have visible stains ?
Just because you can’t see algae stains on certain parts of the roof doesn’t mean that it’s not already there and beginning to develop. Keep in mind that in its early stages roof algae is completely invisible to the naked eye. It’s not until the more advanced stages that it actually turns black or yellow and becomes visible. So if you can see algae on even one section of your roof that means that it’s probably already taking hold on your entire roof. I always try to explain this to my customers but occasionally I still get people who don’t believe it and demand that I only do a spot-clean to remove visible stains. I reluctantly oblige their demands but am never surprised when I drive by a year later to see the untreated areas now completely covered in black and yellow algae! Then they usually call me back with the standard, “You were right. Can you please come back and clean the whole roof as you originally recommended?”
Roof cleaning is an easy DIY project that any homeowner can do in an afternoon ?
There’s nothing easy or quick about roof cleaning. In fact, if you approach it with a cavalier attitude you run a good chance of injuring yourself. If you want to have any chance of cleaning your roof safely and effectively then you need to set out a clear plan of attack, have safety procedures in place, and, above all, take your time. Rushing through a roof cleaning only leads to trouble. Unless you’re one of these guys that absolutely has to do every home improvement job on his own I would highly recommend that you just find a qualified, pressure roof cleaning company in your area. Either you can hire somebody who has the equipment and experience to clean your roof in a few hours or you can spend an entire weekend doing it yourself and risking your life. Your choice.
Many Roof cleaning companies tend to overprice their work and take advantage of consumers ?
I guess I’m always a little disappointed when I tell someone that it will cost £450-£1000 to clean their roof and they give me attitude and insinuate that I’m somehow ripping them off. I think people hear that word “cleaning” and they think it should be cheap like carpet cleaning or house cleaning. Think about it. Does a carpet cleaner spend hours at your house sweating his butt off and getting sunburned risking his life every time he steps onto a ladder? No. Does a carpet cleaner run the possibility of paralysis or death by simply doing his job? No. Does a carpet cleaner spend absolutely hundreds of pounds on equipment and chemicals for every single job? No. Can a carpet cleaner offer you a guarantee that the treated surface will stay clean for years to come? No. There’s so much more that goes into a professional roof cleaning than for any other kind of residential cleaning service that it’s really not even fair to lump them into the same category. As a matter of fact, I actually think that most roof cleaning companies come in too low with their prices when you consider all the variables involved working at heights. I also challenge you to name me one other home improvement service that can instantly transform a home’s curb appeal in a single day for under £1000. Can’t be done. And when you consider that it not only makes your home more beautiful but also extends the life of your expensive roof by a matter of years I think that having a roof cleaned is one of the smartest and most cost-effective things that a homeowner could possibly do to protect their biggest investment.
So now that I’ve cleared the air and educated you about the myths and truths that surround the roof cleaning industry I hope you’ll take these words of advice to heart because they represent the straightest talk about this topic that you’re going to find. I’m not here to serve up a load of BS just because I’m trying to sell a product. I’m telling you like it is because there are too many lies flying around. Either you can buy into one of the myths and be disappointed with the results or you can clean your roof the right way and be extremely satisfied with your new looking, beautiful home that is free of roof moss/algae/lichen.