Blue-green algae usually brings images of lakes and waterways clogged with algae causing damage to the ecosystem, not a roof. However, algae is commonly found on roofs across the USA and Canada. Typically, it will appear as dark black stains or streaks.
If you’ve noticed it on your roof, you may have mistaken this common algae for mold or mildew. What you’re actually seeing is the hard, dark coating the algae creates to protect itself from UV rays. This blue-green algae, known as Gloeocapsa magma, spreads easily. So, if your neighbor’s roof has it, it’s likely coming for yours as well.
Can this Algae Damage My Roof?
Anything growing on your roof is likely to cause you some concern, and rightly so. After all, your roof is arguably one of the most important structures on your home. It protects you and your family from the elements. Any damage to your roof can mean costly repairs.
The good news is that according to the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association (ARMA), there’s no evidence that asphalt shingles are damaged by the algae. However, if you have a reflective or “cool” roofs, the change in color and covering of the original roofing material can result in detrimental effects. Furthermore, black streaks are not in the least bit attractive. Any proud property owner will tell you that roof stains are not ideal.
What Can Be Done About the Algae?
Luckily, algae is fairly easy to remove from your roof. All you need is a solution of half bleach and half water. You can apply it to the roof using the proper precautions and a scrub brush. After you’ve finished, you’ll want to rinse the roof thoroughly. Remember to make preparations for what to do with the solution as it runs off the roof, as this concentration of bleach could damage other areas of your home or your landscaping.
You can also prevent future invasions of algae by installing special stainguard shingles. These shingles contain copper ions that prevent algae growth. However, if you’re not planning on a shingle replacement anytime soon, there are other basic maintenance projects that can help minimize algae propagation. We recommend you trim back tree branches that cover the roof to allow more sunshine to reach the roof. In addition, you should regularly remove debris like leaves and twigs that hold moisture in place, encouraging algae growth. You should also take care to ensure that your gutters are cleaned regularly. This can also avoid excess moisture sitting on your roof which can result in algae growth.
The Bottom Line on Blue-Green Algae and Your Roof
Blue-green algae isn’t dangerous for your roof, but it’s not desirable either. Through simple maintenance and mitigation techniques, you can remove and prevent its growth. We recommend that you use caution when working on your roof. When in doubt, leave your roof maintenance, including algae cleaning, to the professionals at Tom Byer Roofing Service. We have the professional equipment and experience to safely work on your roof and remove the algae. Call Tom Byer Roofing Service today to discuss your roof maintenance services.