Algae Resistant Shingles: An effective way of moss and algae control.

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Many homeowners have had their roof fall victim to unsightly algae and moss . This is a common occurrence in areas that experience high levels of humidity. Aside from high humidity, algae can also be carried to your roof through airborne spores. Seattle is located in the national danger zone for roof moss and lichen. Fortunately, today’s homeowner has the option to choose algae resistant shingles, also known as AR shingles, to avoid this problem.


The History of Algae Resistant Shingles

Algae resistant shingles date back to the 1980’s when roofing materials were produced that contained alternative kinds of mineral granules, such as:

  • Zinc
  • Copper
  • Galvanized Metal Powder

When AR shingles were first produced in the 1980’s, they were considered to be a premium option in roofing materials. By the 1990’s, algae resistance became a standard option and was available in most brands of shingles.

How Do Algae Resistant Shingles Work?

AR shingles work by using copper that is included in the roofing granules that make up the shingles. The copper is not noticeable to the eye; however, it will keep algae from being able to survive on the surface of your roof. The copper or zinc materials found in AR roofing materials also respond to rain which activate the algae fighting action. Moisture generally works to help promote the growth of algae, but with these special shingles, it helps to further protect the roof.

AR shingles tend to be more expensive initially, but when considering the cost of having to have the algae removed from your roof on a yearly basis, they are well worth the initial investment and will help to protect your roof for many years to come.

How Effective Are Algae Resistant Shingles?

Some brands of algae resistant shingles can help keep your roof free from unwanted moss and algae for up to 20 years. Products containing copper have been reported to be ten times more effective than zinc at keeping algae at bay. The copper is generally time released and will work to resist algae and moss build-up over a long period of time.

It is also important to note that adding some type of copper ridge or hip shingle containing copper will not work on an existing roof system that already has live algae or moss present. It will not kill the algae, but rather works to provide resistance to it before it starts.

No one wants to think of fungus taking over their roof, causing damage as well as ugly staining. In choosing algae resistant products when replacing a roof, you may be spending more money upfront, but for the protection and peace of mind that comes with it, it’s worth it.

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Moss on Roof

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What You Need to Know about Preventing Moss On Roof

Roofs that have a porous surface, such as wood and asphalt shingles, have a tendency to develop moss on roof. What can you do to prevent this happening to your roof? If you don’t want to replace the roof, you should clean the entire surface with gentle raking and then treat the roof with a chemical treatment  mixed correctly and done by a professional. This sort of care, performed regularly can work very well to remove moss on roof and prevent its return.

If your existing roof is of a material that can be painted, there are types of paint that have a metallic or mineral content that will help deal with the problem of moss on roof. Again, this is a solution that will have to be tended to regularly.

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Your roof has a tremendous amount of exposure and takes a beating from the elements day-in and day-out. Any maintenance measures or treatments used on your roof will need to be repeated at least annually and possibly two times a year, dependent on the shade and vegetation your home is surrounded by.

In the long run, the best thing to do to prevent moss on your roof is to start out with a roofing material that is moss resistant. Among moss resistant roofing materials are chemically treated shingles that are algae resistant and metal roofing, such as aluminum sheeting, galvanized steel and copper. In fact, metal roofing is so effective at preventing moss on roof, that the addition of metal strips to the peak of a non-metal roof will help kill off existing roof moss and prevent it from returning.

If you don’t like the idea of metal roofing, you can get specially treated roofing shingles of a variety of types that will help control moss problems. Shingles that are intended to deflect moss on roof are called AR Shingles. The acronym stands for “algae resistant”. This type of shingle material is treated with granules of copper or zinc to retard moss growth. When it comes time to replace your roof, be sure to look for materials with the AR designation to help keep the moss off your roof.

 

Black Streaks on Roof

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Chemical Cleaning to Remove Black Streaking from Roofing

Gloeocapsa Magma is the scientific name for those black streaks on your roofing. Gloeocapsa is a form of algae that lives in wet humid climates. These streaks of black are not as evident in the Seattle-Tacoma region due to the majority of roofing material being of dark coloring. If your roofing substrate is light colored, it’s very probable that these stains will be found on your home.

Although, Gloeocapsa Magma is not harmful to roofing, the appearance of a home suffers tremendously. When selling a home the algae stains should be an issue that is dealt with before the home is placed up on the market. These stains are a red flag to potential home owners who may not know exactly what that black stuff is and whether or not it’s harmful to the roofing.

Soft wash roof cleaning with chemicals is a superior method of removing Gloeocapsa. This method of roof cleaning gets rid of these unsightly black streaks while keeping the integrity of the roofing intact. Power washing is not as effective at eliminating Gloeocapsa. It is also very damaging to roofing shingles. Read more here………….

In the picture to the left, a chemical solution is sprayed on the roof. Each chemical in the mix does a certain job. Within 25 minutes, the picture to the right shows the roof stains are almost completely gone. The mix continues to work on the stains and streaks until the next day of rain. After the roofs first shower, the roof is looking its best.

Going from being a white roof covered in black to being a white roof again has strong selling value for a home. Soft Washing is a great way to safely and effectively remove black streaks from your roof in Seattle. Whether your home is up on the market or you just don’t like coming home to a dirty roof, consider chemical cleaning when hiring a roof cleaning contractor.


 

Soft Wash Roof Cleaning Seattle

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Chemical Roof Cleaning

Soft-washing involves the use of chemicals to clean roofs. This method is employed to lessen the amount of damage caused by power-washing. Power-washing on average removes 3-4 layers of granules per cleaning . A roof is known by its years of life:

  •  A 20 year roof has 20 layers of granules.
  •  A 50 year roof has 50 layers of granules.

The soft-wash method when used properly is far more beneficial to roofing substrate then power-washing. No granule loss happens when chemicals are sprayed on your  roofing. Additional benefits include:

  • The elimination of all moss spores that cause moss to grow in the first place.
  • A much longer lasting finished product; on average the process lasts 2-3 years

ARMA [Asphalt Roof Manufacturers Association] recommends soft-wash cleaning for proper roof maintenance. ARMA is the association that governs the making of asphalt shingle roofing. They are the leaders in the industry in the production and proper cleaning methods of roofing materials.

The difference in the finished look of the product : power-washing versus chemical cleaning is nearly indistinguishable, when the proper chemicals are used. A soft wash roof cleaning company generally use a few standard chemical products:

  • TSP [trisodium phosphate]. Known for its ability to remove algae and rust stains
  • Sodium Hydrochloride 10% or higher: known for its ability to kill moss and clean shingle.
  • Borax Lo: A soap like product known to aggressively kill weeds, spores and moss residual.
  • Isopropyl Alcohol: used when aggressive moss has been growing for long periods of time.
  • Surfactant:  used to slow the mixtures path down to the gutter line.

When mixed properly these chemicals generate a long lasting safe products to roofing material. These chemicals are not readily available to the average consumer and the mixtures of this chemical call for exact amounts for a strong enough product. The procedure of soft wash roof cleaning in Seattle is best left to a professional roof cleaning company.

 

Cedar Roof Cleaning Seattle

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Cedar Roof Cleaning Seattle

Why cedar shakes turn grey

When wood is exposed to the effects of sunlight and moisture, its surface begins to change. This change is commonly called weathering. The initial change from reddish brown to silvery gray is the result of the ultraviolet rays from sun exposure.This usually happens within the first year of installation. Eventually the roof will take on a darker gray color. This indicates that your roof is being colonized by micro fungi. PWNG specializes in cedar shingle roof cleaning in Seattle

Should I oil my roof?

Originally your cedar shingle had only 3% of its weight as oil.[1] The effects of oiling a roof are temporary. UV rays break down the oils applied to cedar shakes in most instances within 3 years. Maintaining the oil on your roof should be a tri-yearly occurrence. The oils allow natural contraction and expansion that the cedar shake experiences, due to changes in weather such as:

  • Rain
  • Snow
  • UV exposure

These stresses to the wood cause micro-cracks. As an example, a butchers block , needs to be dried and should never be put away wet. When it is left out wet and the heat in the home is turned up or it is near a stove, it warps and cups like in the picture below. The warping is caused by:

  • Expansion
  • Contraction
  • Lack of Oil

Every butchers block made of wood, instructs the buyer on oiling with mineral oil.  The exact procedure should be applied to cedar shakes.

How to keep the appearance up

You can periodically clean your cedar roof in Seattle with a power washer. The top grey layer of exposed cedar is removed and you’re left with a fresh new layer. This should only be done for maintenance. On average ¼-3/16 inch of cedar is removed per cleaning. When deciding to apply stains and oils, keep in mind that, the sun will break down any coating or stain applied, eventually. In summary, cedars appearance if left outside in any sunlight: is grey. This is its natural color and there is no product on the market today, which can withstand 365 days of rain and sun a year.

Why you should very rarely power wash your roof

Losing 1/5 of your roofs life in one cleaning, should only be done in extreme circumstances .When excessive moss and fungi have been left untreated on your roofing, it is time to power wash. You should go in knowing that you are power washing to remove debris and moss that’s accumulated. Yes your roof will look great. This is only temporary though. There is no way short of trapping your entire roof off; to prevent the weathering caused by UV exposure. We are there to remove debris and moss and apply a moss control agent. This should be done at most once every 5-7 years.

Moss Control

Our process for cedar roof cleaning in Seattle is to use a safe organic compound known as Potassium Salts of Fatty Acids.[2]Mixed with some simple household detergent to make it stick, this chemical blend naturally kills all moss spores.

Periodic Maintenance

PWNG can’t stress enough that cedar shake roof restoration in Seattle is a maintenance issue .Applying our chemical blend once a year is fairly inexpensive, under $400 in most instances. The local average of replacing a shake roof is. between $350-550 a square [10×10 feet] .Budgeting this as a yearly maintenance cost is a lot less expensive then replacing your entire roof


[1] Oregon State University Extension Service (Publication EC1271)

[2] http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/psfagen.pdf

Roof Moss Removal Seattle

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Removing Moss from Roofs

The moss on your roof has been introduced to your substrate by airborne spores that periodically pollinate their surroundings. In high winds these spores travel. Regardless of where it came from we are going to be discussing how it spreads, what damages it causes to roofing materials and the proper way to remove it.

How Moss Grows

Moss spreads thru its spores, it has no vascular system. It is of the plant family Bryophytes. Bryophytes absorb water through their leaves. It receives nutrients by absorbing it through photosynthesis. Since it has no vascular system it must find a damp place to live. Roofing makes a very great abode, as it is one of the dampest places on a home. Seattle has an average of 150-days of rain a year, making Seattle one of the rainiest places in America. The combination of location and environment make roof moss in Seattle, a normal occurrence.

Damage to Roofing

Moss grows in mats 1-3 inches tall. These mats act as a dam and do not allow water to flow freely down your roofing into your gutters. Water begins to pool at portions of your roof affected with moss growth. The shingles underneath aren’t allowed to naturally repel water or breathe.  In a very short amount of time, when left untreated, moss will completely destroy a roof.

Methods of Removal

There are several methods of removal that are practiced by roof cleaning contractors in Seattle:

  • Power washing
  • Manual Scrubbing with a  stiff bristle brush
  • Chemical Treatment

Chemicals to Kill Moss

No method is complete without the use of a biocide after the cleaning has been done. The preferred chemicals to kill moss are:

  • Zinc Powder
  • Copper Powder
  • Sodium Hypochlorite

Roof cleaning contractors in Seattle know that cleaning a roof, without administering of moss inhibiting chemicals is likely to cause moss to return very rapidly. When applying chemicals the manufacturer’s directions for proper application should be observed. Improper application or insufficient use of chemicals when mixing will cause damage to the roofing material or dilution to potency not suitable for killing moss.

Conclusion

Moss is a very destructive force to roofing materials. Proper application of moss killing chemicals can only be administered by an experienced roof cleaner in Seattle. There are several methods of roof cleaning but all must end with the application of moss killing chemicals.

We provide roof moss removal services to the following cities in Washington State:

Alderwood- Ames Lake- Arlington -Auburn- Ballard- Bellevue-Belltown-Bothell-Bridle Trails-Brier-Burien-Covington Crossroads -Des Moines-Edgewood-Edmonds-Everett-Evergreen-Fall City-Federal Way-Ferndale-Granite Falls-Hunts Point-Issaquah-Issaquah Highlands-Juanita-Kenmore-Kent-Kingsgate-Kirkland-La Conner-Lake City-Lake Forest Park-Lake Goodwin-Lake Stevens-Lynnwood Madison Park-Magnolia-Maltby-Maple Valley-Marysville-Medina-Mercer Island-Mill Creek-Monroe-Mountlake Terrace-Mukilteo Newcastle-North Bend-Overlake-Parkland-Puyallup-Rainier Valley-Redmond-Renton-Rose Hill-Sammamish-Sand Point-SeaTac Seattle-Sedro-Woolley-Shoreline-Smokey Point-Snohomish-Snoqualmie-Spanaway-Stanwood-Tacoma-Totem Lake-Tukwila -University Place-White Center-Woodinville-Yarrow Point

Methods of Roof Moss Removal in Seattle

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Over 10,000 roofs are replaced per year due to water intrusion, in the Seattle area. Roof Moss is a major contributing factor to the number of roof replacements. Moss grows in patches 1-3 inches wide. Homes with infrequent sunlight or under foliage are the most prone to moss growth. Large patches of moss trapping moisture in 1-3 inch mats create water dams that then begin pushing water underneath roofing substrate. The roofing material is never left to dry out.The consequences are:

  • Rot.
  • Mildew
  • Buckling

What is Roof Mold?

Bryophytes are soft plants that grow in mats and clumps. They reproduce through periodic release of airborne spores. They have no vascular system to feed themselves as plants with roots do. Bryophytes therefore grow where moisture is prevalent. The Seattle region with between 72-88 days of sunshine a year is an inviting environment for moss growth. Our lack of sun is the reason moss grows so heavily in the area. With no ability to control our amount of sunshine, we are left to do periodic maintenance.

Differing Methods of Moss Control

You can speak to any 2 roof cleaners in the country and the proper method for roof cleaning and moss control is always up for debate. There are standard methods of moss control practiced around the country these methods are:

  • Power washing to remove moss.
  • The use of zinc strips.
  • Chemical treatment.

Power Washing 

Pressure washing without adequate chemical treatment afterwards is the least effective method in killing moss. Without the use of a moss inhibiting chemical you’re left with a roof that will need another cleaning almost immediately. There have been several studies done on the damage a power washer can do to asphalt granules.  ARMA [Asphalt Roofing Manufactures Association] recommends not using a pressure washer on asphalt shingles for roof moss removal. Their primary concern is the loss of granules. Although not as good on asphalt shingles, a power-washing is probably the only effective way of properly cleaning cedar and metal roofs.

The metal roofing vent prevents moss growth.

Zinc Strips

Zinc Strips are effective means of containing moss growth. Due to the cost and the amount of coverage required to kill moss, many times it is unfeasible to use this method. For Zinc strips to successfully control moss growth they must be placed every 3 feet from the tip of the roof to the gutter line. This method is very unsightly and many homeowners do not like the look of Zinc strips going down their entire roof line. The picture above shows CLEARLY, that zinc and metal DO stop moss from growing. Where the metal vents are present; no moss is growing directly beneath them.

To effectively use zinc strips:

  1. Two inches of zinc should protrude the asphalt shingle.
  2. They should start at the ridge cap and end 3 feet above the gutter.

Chemical Treatment of Moss

Chemical treatment, also called soft wash roof cleaning, in our opinion, is the most effective means of moss control. Using the right chemicals, completely kills all moss spores and prevents new moss from rebuilding. Most soft wash roof cleaner’s offer warranties of 1-5 years, they are secure in offering these warranties because they know that it took years for this moss to grow on your roof and it will take years for it to grow back, provided the right chemicals are used in strong enough doses.

The decision on what method is the right method for roof cleaning in Seattle is always up for debate. PWNG uses the chemical soft washing method to soundly control moss. We stand by our service and offer a 1-year warranty with every roof cleaning in Seattle. We look forward to any comments or questions our readers might have and we welcome an open discussion on roof cleaning.