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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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.

 

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.

How to Kill Moss on Roof

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Lichen –that green stuff you call moss growing on your roof is a fungus.  Everyone knows that treating fungus is only done with some type of medication; it just doesn’t go away on its own.  What you take for your body is real similar to what needs to happen for cleaning roofs.

Using a pressure washer on your roof is tantamount to scratching an infection and spreading it around. Without treatment these spores are now where they started from to covering your entire roof. Water propels these spores and sends them streaming and breeding along your roof line without the proper treatment after a cleaning you’re left with a bigger problem then what you started with.

An effective chemical to treat any type of moss is sodium hypochlorite at a high percentage. You can’t just go in and buy bleach at the store and spread it around as the percentage of bleach on store shelves is too low in quantity per gallon and too expensive on your pocket-book to actually do its job. On average a roof needs 35-40 gallons of roof cleaning mixture to cover and kill moss on your roof.

The effect is minimal when sodium hypochlorite isn’t given an effective herbicide (penicillin for plants) to help it last longer and kill those spores that are left, from returning.

When you decide to hire your contractor, the type of chemical he uses will give you a good idea on when you’ll have to hire him again. MOSSBEWARE and MOSSOUT are the 2 biggest retail moss killers out there. Sure they do their job but the effects only last for about 60 days before the stuff is back. On average our mixture lasts 2-3 years.

Pressure Washing removes Asphalt Shingle Granules

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Granules, the sand like element that is keeping the rain from destroying your home by way of the roof shingle. Granules are also the reason you should never pressure wash your roof. These delicate granules are held to your roof shingle, layer upon layer by a form of glue. A simple walk on your roof removes some granules, just imagine the damage a pressure washer does to it.

A.R.M.A [American Roofing Manufacturers Association] represents a majority of roofing manufacturers in North America. Their primary concern has been to find common ground on asphalt shingle manufacturing  and the process of maintenance.

Their bulletin on the proper method of roof cleaning 1 is commonly, cited by roof cleaning companies. The three main points of the bulletin were:

  1. Never power-wash asphalt shingles.
  2. Only chemical cleaning can temporary remove and combat algae stains
  3. The only long-lasting way to combat algae is to have AR [algae resistant shingles] installed.

Unfortunately, although Algae resistant shingles are reaching their teen years in service, not very homes being built to this day have them installed due to the higher cost of the shingle compared to a regular asphalt shingle. RCI-online, stated that up to 50% of all roof replacements are done for cosmetic reasons instead of from leakage or wear. 2

Sources cited:

1.http://www.asphaltroofing.org/pdf/tb_217.pdf

2.http://www.rci-online.org/interface/2007-01-ammerman.pdf