Dirty Roof Myth Busters No.10

Monday, August 26th, 2013

“Mildew resistant shingles are a sure thing to prevent roof algae.” This is a myth. Many homeowners that paid a premium for “mildew resistant” shingles discover five to seven years latter that they are not so resistant to roof algae.

A case in point, we cleaned an algae infected roof that had “mildew resistant” shingles. The homeowner notified the shingle manufacturer of the problem. The manufacturer stated they would reimburse the homeowner up to a certain amount. The homeowner paid us for the job, sent the invoice to the manufacturer and they sent a check back to the homeowner. Unfortunately most similar situations don’t have such happy endings because there is a catch. The homeowner must have a copy of the shingle warranty or proof of purchase. Most homeowners either don’t get a copy or the contractor that built the house or last replaced the roof doesn’t give that to the homeowner. Then years later when the black streaks begin to appear, a warranty or proof of purchase is no where to be found and the homeowner has to flip the bill.

Dirty Roof Myth Busters No.9

Sunday, August 11th, 2013

“Zinc strips protect a roof from roof algae.” This is a myth. First let’s cover how zinc strips work. Zinc strips are long strips of sheet metal coated with zinc. They vary in width with a typical width of 3 foot.  They are attached along the peak of the roof. When it rains, a slight amount of zinc dissolves from the strips and coats part of the roof, partially inhibiting algae and fungus growth. This part is true. This principle is commonly seen on roofs with galvanized (zinc coated) flue pipes penetrating the roof. The shingles down slope of the pipe look streak free while the surrounding shingles have black streaks and stains. Unfortunately the protective effect of the zinc strips is good for only a few feet down slope from the strips. This can be illustrated by the photo below. So the truth is zinc strips helps to protect a small part of the roof from algae. But by no means protects the entire roof. Economically it would be more cost advantageous to periodically have the entire roof Economically it would be more cost advantageous to periodically have the entire roof professionally treated than to have zinc strips installed.

Zinc strips

Dirty Roof Myth Busters No.8

Sunday, July 28th, 2013

“Cleaning a roof is an easy do-it-yourself (DIY) project that any homeowner can do.” This is a myth. After watching a video of a professional roof cleaner, one might think that’s a cinch and there’s nothing to it. Think again. Professionals experienced in their craft always make it look easier than it is. You have to consider the chemicals and how to safely mix them and in the proper ratios as to not cause any issues. You have to consider all the equipment that is involved to contain, pump and spray the solution. More importantly you have to consider safety. A professional roof cleaner has been properly trained in roof safety and the required safety equipment. Unfortunately all too often we hear of someone injured due to a fall. The injury results in large medical bills, chronic pain, immobility or death. We applaud the eager DIY homeowner that’s ready to tackle the next project. However we strongly urge the homeowner to leave the few specialized and dangerous jobs such as roof cleaning to others.

Dirty Roof Myth Busters No.7

Saturday, June 22nd, 2013

“Only the visible streaks and stains need to be treated.” This is a myth. Many homeowners wish to have only one side of their roof, where the algae are most visible, cleaned and washed. They believe that it is only the one side that is dirty having ugly stains and black streaks on it. The algae do grow mostly on the north and west facing roofs which receives the prevailing moisture and shade. However when the air born algae lands on the roof, it is not attracted by the north facing surface of the roof such as metal particles are attracted to a magnet. No the hungry and destructive algae lands on all sides of the roof. You just don’t see it or the effects of it on all sides. The algae are a microscopic organism which is not visible with the naked eye. It grows and multiplies on all sides of the roof. However since the north sides make the most ideal breeding ground for the algae, it multiplies and spreads most rapidly across the roof’s north surface. The dense areas of the algae communities are evident by the black streaks and ugly stains.

If only one side of the roof is treated by killing the algae the unseen algae living on the other side of the roof will quickly migrate to the restored side. And now the cycle starts all over again. This will end up costing the homeowner more money in the long run by having to prematurely restore the roof again. The cost of treating the entire roof is not much more than treating only half of the roof. The reason for this is simply because a significant portion of the cost is from preparing and blending the specifically formulated roof cleaning solution, the time to travel to and from the job site and the time to set up and clean up. It does not take that much additional time to treat the other side of the roof. It is highly recommended to treat the entire roof. It costs only a little more than treating only half of the roof and will save the homeowner in the long run.

Dirty Roof Myth Busters No.6

Monday, May 27th, 2013

“Chemical roof cleaning will damage the shingles and landscaping.” This is a myth. We use an algaecide specially formulated for roof shingles. This solution is recommended and endorsed by ARMA (the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association) and GAF (North America’s largest shingle maker). Our process attacks the roof algae not the roof or landscaping.

As an extra precaution a ground person continuously waters down the surrounding lawn and landscaping while the spray technician applies the algaecide to the roof. By the way, the ground person also serves as a safety buddy to the spray technician. So not only does the homeowner get a sparkling clean roof but also a well watered healthy lawn!

Do roof cleaning chemicals damage roof shingles? Do roof cleaning chemicals damage grass, lawns or landscaping?  Tell us what you think.

Dirty Roof Myth Busters No.5

Sunday, May 5th, 2013

“It OK to clean a roof with a power washer.” This is a myth. Nothing can be further from the truth. In fact other than setting your roof on fire power washing your roof is the worst thing you can do to it! Power washing is fine for cleaning hard dense materials such as masonry, vinyl siding and wood decks. However asphalt shingles are fragile. Releasing the high water pressure from a power washer on to your roof shingles will not only remove the black stains but also thousands of shingle granules. Some of the consequences of this include a shortened life span of the shingles, a shingle warranty that is now void and increased utility bills since the shingles ability to reflect the suns energy would be compromised. All caused by power washing.

The proper way of cleaning a roof is with a soft wash process which attacks the algae, moss, lichen and fungus feeding off the shingles but does not attack the shingles themselves. The need to educate homeowners cannot be stressed enough about the importance of selecting only roof cleaning professionals trained and certified in the art of non-pressure soft wash cleaning and restoration.

Dirty Roof Myth Busters No.4

Saturday, April 27th, 2013

“The black steaks and stains are only cosmetic and thus not a priority right now.” This is a myth.

If only I got a dollar for every time I heard that from homeowners. Nothing could be further from the truth. Gloeocapsa Magma more commonly known as “roof algae”, like all other living organisms, eats and multiplies. Its food source is the limestone material found in asphalt shingles and boy do they love to chew on shingles. The manufacturers add limestone to the asphalt shingles as weight filler.

The algae eating away your roof shingles results in premature loss of shingle granules and general deterioration.  Shingle granules are vital to your roof and home because they work to deflect ultraviolet rays and heat away from your roof surface.  If they are gone or covered with algae then you will have a hotter attic and higher AC bills.  You’ll also have to replace the roof a lot sooner.

By investing roughly $200 – $600 now to remedy your algae infested roof you will maximize your roof’s life expectancy and save thousands of dollars in the long run. With the average cost to replace a roof being $4,000 – $10,000 it’s really a no-brainer to keep your shingles clean and functional for a fraction of the cost. So be smart and make it a priority today.

Dirty Roof Myth Busters No.3

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

“Removing the algae and associated black streaks and stains doesn’t really increase the home’s curb appeal.” This is a myth.

  • According to real estate professionals, good curb appeal can add as much as 10% to the value of the home. Why not make your home look every dollar its worth especially if it is on the market for sale.
  • A dirty and streaky roof makes your home look older than it really is. Homeowners spend a lot of money painting the exterior of the house or installing vinyl siding to make the house look newer only to realize the house still looks old and worn down with the streaky roof.
  • The appearance of a home reflects on the homeowners – good or poor. A clean well maintained house makes you look first-class. A dirty looking roof make you look…well you get the point.
  • A clean well maintained home makes for a good neighbor with the community. You might not think twice about how your roof looks. Heck you might not even be bothered by the algae making a mess out of your roof.  But know this. Your neighbors and friends certainly notice and are likely bothered by your roof.

The algae, moss, lichen, black streaks and stains do not appear suddenly on your roof. The streaks and stains gradually appear and slowly spread across the roofs surface. In fact, it spreads so gradually that you might truly not have noticed. Next time you go outside, gaze closely at your roof from all sides. You may have forgotten how good it once looked. If you do see signs of streaks and stains, don’t it ignore any further. Call a professional roof cleaner to have it restored. Not only will your neighbors appreciate it but it will give you a boost of pride.

Dirty Roof Myth Busters No.2

Saturday, March 9th, 2013

Growth of algae, fungus, moss or lichen on roof shingles is an indication of roof decay and time to replace. This is a myth. The presence of any of these organisms on a roof is not an indication of the age or condition of the roof. These organisms are found on roofs that are only a few years old to roofs that are twenty five years old. There’s a phrase in the roof cleaning industry “it’s not old, it’s mold”.

Did you know roughly 50% of all roofs in the Midwest are replaced simply due to their ugly appearance? Most homeowners in the Midwest are not educated yet on roof algae. When a homeowner sees the black streaks and stains they assume the roof needs to be replaced. So they call a roof contractor for an inspection. The contractor claims the roof needs to be replaced and the homeowner needlessly spends thousands of dollars for a new roof. In all fairness to roof contractors many of them, as with homeowners, are not yet educated on roof algae and may honestly believe the roof needs to be replaced. And unfortunately there are some roofing contractors that do realize the roof only needs to be cleaned but will not disclose that to the unsuspecting homeowners.

As long as a roof is properly maintained and cleaned, it will last its full life expectancy of 20, 25 and even 30 years depending on the shingle grade. That is of course hail, fire or a tornado doesn’t take the roof out! If you see signs of algae as evident by black streaks or stains, green moss or lichen which look like small gray spots, call a local non-pressure roof cleaning company for an evaluation. The professional roof cleaner can tell you what is eating your roof and also determine if your roof truly needs to be replaced or just cleaned and restored.

One thing is for sure, if your roof is infected by any of the aforementioned organisms and not property treated by a certified non-pressure roof cleaner as soon as possible, the life of your roof will be greatly shorted and you will be replacing it!

Dirty Roof Myth Busters No.1

Saturday, March 2nd, 2013

The state of Illinois and the rest of the mid-west region are being invaded and most people don’t even realize it yet. Have you noticed any rooftops that have ugly black streaks and stains? Most folks living in this area think those streaks and stains are a number of things including:

  • A sign that the asphalt shingles are aging
  • The shingles are defective and the granules are falling off
  • Tar or creosote seeping out of the shingles
  • Jet fuel
  • Dirt
  • Acid rain

These are all myths! The truth of the matter is that air born algae (mold) lands on the roof and feeds on the material in the asphalt shingles. The technical name for the algae is Gloeocapsa Magma. It grows mostly on the north and west facing roofs which receives the prevailing moisture and shade. The Gloeocapsa Magma is a microscopic organism which is not visible with the naked eye. This hungry organism feeds off the limestone material found in asphalt shingles and multiplies on all sides of the roof. However since the north sides make the most ideal breading ground for the algae, it multiplies and spreads most rapidly across the roof’s north surface. The dense areas of the algae communities are evident by the black streaks and ugly stains which are a protective sheathing that the algae excrete.

This air born algae is more prevalent as you travel south in warmer and more humid climates. Over the years the algae has been spreading across the states. That is why it seems to be more and more noticeable here in the mid-west region. The effects of the algae are not only unsightly but very costly if not treated. If your roof is infected by algae or other organisms such as moss or lichen, have a certified roof cleaner (non-pressure spray system) inspect it as soon as possible.