You’ve just had a beautiful, functional roof installed, and you notice it beginning to grow moss. It may feel inevitable here in the Pacific Northwest, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less frustrating. Or maybe you find that moss adds character to your home. Unfortunately, moss is more harmful than it may look. Moss removal and prevention are the keys to extending the lifespan of your roof.
Why Moss is Bad for Your Roof
The trouble with moss is that in wet climates like ours, the moss turns into a mat that can become several inches thick, which then acts like a sponge, soaking up every bit of water that falls. This then soaks into all sections of your roof, potentially wreaking havoc on your new roof. So as lovely as you might think it looks, it’s important to make sure that moss is eradicated.
A Gentle Approach to Removal
You may be tempted to take an over zealous approach in an attempt to rid your new roof of moss, but it’s essential that whether you decide to brush or scrub your roof too harshly as that can also damage your shingles. The same is true of power washing, as this could chip your shingles, or allow water to become trapped underneath your roof, which is the opposite of what we’re trying to do.
We wanted to give you a few ways that can slow the moss growth on your roof. Slowing moss growth is ideal, because even if you like the way moss looks on your roof, those spores can be damaging to your shingles and the roof’s underlayment, causing you problems in the long run, and potentially expensive repairs.
Instead of doing one massive cleaning every six months, this requires a bit of proactive care that’s ultimately in the best interest of the long-term health for your roof.
Here are our best tips:
Give your roof a light sweep
When moss growth is in its infancy, often you can remove it by just giving a gentle sweep. However, it’s incredibly important that you don’t break or loosen any of the shingles. If you brush too hard, you risk breaking off the protective mineral granules on your shingles. A simple sweep with an indoor broom, rather than a long handled push broom made for the outdoors.
Prune your trees
When you take a look at your roof, you’ll probably notice moss grows primarily in shaded areas on your roof. We aren’t advocating to chop all your trees down (please don’t do that!), but trimming or thinning out the branches allows for more sunlight to get through the canopy and onto your roof. This lets your roof dry more quickly, making it more difficult for moss to grow since moss likes damp, wet areas.
Keep your roof free of debris
Almost everyone’s roof has fallen leaves and twigs scattered around the shingles, and gutters frequently collect their own debris. What you might not know is that leaves and twigs provide nutrients for the moss, and making it easier for moss to spread and grow. Keeping leaves and twigs off of your roof helps keep moss from spreading.
Look for algae-resistant materials
There are algae-resistant shingles, but those are normally installed when you’re getting a new roof altogether, which hopefully isn’t occurring very frequently for you and your home.
The good news is there are algae resistant materials that don’t require an entirely new roof. Consider installing zinc or other metal strips along your roof. You slide these under existing roof ridge shingles, and they will help kill the moss or lichens that were growing there previously.
What happens if you don’t clean your roof regularly regularly?
Moss does not cause immediate issues, but rather slow-moving, long-term damage. Beyond being tough on the eyes, moss growth can damage wood shingle and shake roofs as well as asphalt shingles. As it collects rainwater, the moss can rot the roof surface away over time. Even worse, it can be damaging to you and your family’s health.
How do you know the moss problem is pretty bad?
The most telltale sign is taking a look at your roof – if the moss is thick and blanketing the shingles, you have an overgrowth. You can also check in your attic and see if there is any water damage or moisture coming through.
If the problem gets bad enough, most people opt for a deep cleaning with a chemical solution. This can be done by yourself, or you can opt to call professionals.
Cleaning moss is a seasonal job. If you are proactive, you can take steps which make it harder to grow back after removal. Once your new roof has been cleared of moss, zinc strips or copper flashing can help prevent future moss problems, extending the lifespan of your roof. Additionally, keeping your roof clear of debris like leaves and twigs, which can provide nutrients for the moss, and facilitate its spreading and growth.
Pruning and thinning your trees to allow more sunlight through to your roof can also help prevent moss growth, since it allows your shingles to dry out more quickly after rain.
Roof Professionals in Vancouver, Washington
Keeping your roof looking like new can may be slightly more difficult in southwest Washington, but it’s definitely worth the effort.
If you have questions about moss removal, new roof installation, or roof repair, give our team at Warner Roofing a call. With our expertise, friendliness, and professionalism, we are your resource for any questions you may have.