Does your roof have black streaks running down it? Did you know that those black streaks are actually a type of bacteria called Gloeocapsa Magma? Did you also know that if left untreated, it will cause serious damage to and destruction of your roof, requiring a premature roof replacement?
Let’s answer some questions about Gloeocapsa Magma and other organisms that live on roofs.
“So what causes this stuff to grow on my roof?”
The answer may surprise you. Since around the 1980s, fiberglass roofing manufacturers have been using limestone in the asphalt of the shingles as a cheap filler material. The limestone allows the shingles to hold more moisture, along with living organisms. This results in a perfect environment with plenty of food for Gloeocapsa Magma (a type of Algae), lichens, and mosses to thrive. The Gloeocapsa Magma begins life as one spore that lands on your roof from a nearby tree or a neighbors roof, then begins to multiply and spread. The rain drags the spores down the roof, spreading the algae and creating the ugly streaking appearance on a roof.
“Well what’s so bad about these little organisms living on my roof, they can’t hurt much can they?”
YES! Since they feed on the moisture and limestone in the shingles, they’re literally eating away at your roof! This causes granule loss from the shingles over time, leading to premature degradation of the roof, which results in a total roof replacement earlier than expected. It’s also a huge eyesore to what may otherwise be a beautiful house, reducing curb appeal, resale value and more.
“So how do we get rid of it?”
Fear not, all of these damaging organisms can be safely killed and removed, preserving the integrity of your roof as well as restoring your homes curb appeal. The process involves spraying a chemical solution containing bleach and soaps onto your roof via low pressure. This part is important. The amount of water pressure used on a roof should be as little as possible, so as to avoid damaging the roof even further. Some contractors may opt to use extremely high pressure from a pressure washer to clean your roof or even manual scrubbing of the roof with brushes. This is not the correct way to do the job and will surely damage the shingles. The whole idea is to extend the life of your roof, remember?! Our system uses less pressure than a typical garden hose, so there will be no additional damage done to any roofs we clean. You’ll sleep well at night knowing that you have saved money in the long run by extending the life of your roof as much as possible.
“Won’t the bleach hurt my plants and lawn?”
Sodium hypochlorite. That’s the name of the active ingredient found in bleach. While it does have the potential to cause damage to plants and lawns, if used safely and responsibly, the risks are negligible. When diluted with water, sodium hypochlorite breaks down and becomes totally non-harmful to the environment. You can rest assured that we are proficient in the handling and application of all our materials, and proud of our results.
“What if I have moss or lichen on my roof?”
If there is any moss or lichen growth present on a roof, our treatment process remains nearly the same. Frequently when moss is present, so are leaves, pine needles, sticks and other debris. We remove the majority of this debris using a leaf blower prior to chemical treatment. This ensures that the chemical can effectively penetrate the organisms. The biggest difference in treating this type of growth, is time that it takes to achieve the final result. While the black streaks of algae (Gloeocapsa Magma) will come off immediately after treatment or the first rain, larger organisms such as moss and lichen have much more developed root structures holding onto the shingles. Since it’s not safe to forcefully remove them without damaging the roof, we have to let mother nature take its course. After treatment, the chemical will immediately kill the moss and prevent any future growth, signified by it turning white. A few weeks later the roots will begin to decompose and release from the roof. Rain will then assist the removal process the rest of the way, washing the dead organisms off the roof. This whole process can take anywhere from a few weeks to 6 months or more depending on how developed the growth was. Some roofs with heavy amounts of growth will require a re-treatment after a few months to remove the remaining organisms.