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 NJ contractor since 1994, and a father, and husband. Contact me for all your construction questions.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Question and Answer for the Day Is ?

Often when driving around, you will see roofs on homes that have black streaks running down them. Could it be from acorns rolling down the roof, is it smut coming from the chimney, or is it the shingles are loosing their granules? Well maybe, but I would be more inclined to say its algae or moss.

This algae is called Gloeocapsa Magma, it is a form of algae that is common in humid and warmer climates. It also appears first off in the North Slope of a roof, this is usually where shade is more dominate and moisture is more often to accumulate there. This is where you will most of the time find the black streak. This roof moss is even more dominate in the Pacific Northwest and Canada as well. Actual moss is found on tree's and rock's. Roof algae and moss spores are believe it or not carried by wind to the roof area, causing it to become infested. Having your roof infested with this moss is dangerous in many ways. Not only does it start to grow underneath the shingle, it acts as a sponge, soaking up all the water after a soaking rain. Sooner or later the moss cause's the roof to leak. If this moss is not treated promptly, you can bank on expensive roof repairs. The algae that accumulates on the roof that is attached to the shingle, feeds on organic matter that is dead. Fungus breaks down a ashpalt shingle, the ceramic granules that protect the surface of a shingle are then loosened and fall off. When this begins to happen, the roof starts to deteriorate prematurely, then will cause the roof's ability to reflect heat rays. When left untreated, this roof algae reduces, the life of the roof, and also your home's curb appeal. Also left untreated you can count on increasing your home's cooling expenses. Most of the time homeowners think traditional ways of cleaning the roof will cure and clean this problem up. Or even consider high pressure washing. Unfortunately the chemicals most often used are hazardous and can do more harm to the roof than is already there. Not only that it is harmful to the landscaping, siding, brick, windows, gutters and awnings. It is more costly to remove the algae or moss than it is to prevent this from happening before hand. If you live in area where this happens often you should make it a yearly practice to clean your roof and apply a preventive spray. Making this a part of your spring cleaning will keep your roof looking fresh and clean. Leaving these strikes unattended not only cause's your roof damage it lowers the value of your home.
A contributing factor for the multiplication of Gloeocapsa magma is due to the higher use of limestone in the manufacture of roofing materials. This is because Limestone is used as a filler, due to its heave nature, adding mass that is associated with a shingle, and is not as expensive compared to asphalt. They are orgasms that feed on this limestone. Therefore when you have damp shaded areas, it tends to then make a great place for algae environments. Once algae or moss is able to present it self on a roof, you will notice it more and more. This algae can then become air born and distribute it self from roof to roof. If your current roof has this problem and is not in a time frame where it is time to replace it, cleaning is your only option. This can be done by the homeowner or a professional, the choice is up to you. Be aware, the do it yourself method can be risky. And most often is really not recommended. There are several cleaning products on the market today that can be used. Doing it yourself, you must know what is the right product that will not only cause you harm but harm to the surrounding area's of your home. No matter who does it, it is important the your landscaping is drenched with water in order to prevent damage. If the spores are not properly killed the first time, you will soon notice those black streaks once again. The reason for this is, the shells are actually getting dyed, and this is what is causing those dark streaks that are visible. Also a good preventative is to place zinc or copper, around the roof near the summit. When it rains the metal will run, therefore wiping out the algae. You will not notice the transformation right away, but note it is a very effective remedy. Think about when you are ready to replace your roof, to use algae resistant shingles. Usually the installer will know if this algae/moss problem is common in your area and install these shingles from the get go. What makes these shingles algae resistant is that they already contain bits of copper granules, already combined with the standard mineral granules. Thus working as the same method as putting zinc or copper strips on the peak of the property. The gain of using these shingles are that the copper is already there, and is being distributed over the total roof, instead of only being on top of the roof. Another benefit is that it reduces the attentiveness of copper at the top of the roof, therefore eliminating a lighter shade at the top, instead of the lower. These copper granules on new roofs are going to hinder Gloeocapsa Magma form getting ahold to your roof, and spreading to a nearby roof !
    

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