Algae: What it is and How it Damages Your Roof

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It’s the middle of summer in Seattle and there’s no better time to check and maintain your roof than right now. You’ll have a clear view of everything because of the sunny and bright weather. It’s common to see black streaks coming out of your shingles. Contrary to popular belief, those lines aren’t melted asphalt. They’re actually algae that formed over the course of a few weeks or months, and they can do serious damage to your roof.

Here’s what you need to know about algae and how to deal with it.

What is Algae?

Algae are an assorted group of aquatic organisms that grow through photosynthesis, similar to plants. They don’t need roots or leaves to live, which is why they can thrive almost anywhere, like your roof. The most popular algae known to man are kelp and seaweed. The black streaks you see on your roof are a colony of Gloeocapsa magma.

How Does Algae Damage the Roof?

Algae damages roofs that use shingles. This is because they slowly feed off the asphalt’s limestone. This weakens the roof’s structural integrity, which may cause some shingles to detach. Damage from algae may also weaken your roof’s ability to reflect sunlight, causing more heat to radiate throughout your home. This effect is especially brutal during the summer season.

What Causes Roof Algae?

Unfortunately, algae are unavoidable. Their spores are carried by the wind and eventually settle on surfaces like your roof. You may notice that there’s more of them on the parts of your roof that the sun doesn’t shine on as much, and that they grow more rapidly during rainy or winter seasons. They thrive in moist environments.

It doesn’t mean, however, that the summer sun can just cook them off your roof. Gloeocapsa magma‘s black or green color comes from the sheath it creates around itself for protection against ultraviolet rays. So, how do you deal with algae?

Household Remedies for Roof Algae

One of the best ways to deal with algae is by preventing them from growing in the first place. While you can’t really stop spores from landing onto your roof, you can eliminate them using zinc strips. You can buy these from your local hardware store. Attach them to the highest points of each side of your roof. The rainfall will wash the zinc down onto your shingles, killing the algae before they even have the chance to grow and spread.

If you already have algae on your roof, however, try washing them off with a mixture of 50% chlorine bleach and water. This is best done for small patches only. For larger areas of algae growth, get help from a professional roof cleaner. They’ll use specialized equipment and materials to keep your roof spick and span.

Algae is a tough organism that can grow anywhere, even your roof shingles. You shouldn’t just ignore them because the damage they make could spike up your cooling bills or cause costly repairs. Now that you know how this organism thrives and how to get rid of it, it’s time to add it to the list of things you’ll check during your summer roofing maintenance session.

Get Expert Roof Cleaning

Whether you need to get rid of algae, grime, or random debris on your roof, get help from expert roof cleaners like Renova Exterior Detailing. We use the latest and best techniques and the best materials to keep your roof spotless without damaging its beautiful look.

Give us a call at 206-941-2959 or fill out our online form to request a quote.

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