Algae And Your Roof – What’s the Story?
You’ve surely seen it in your neighborhood – ugly dark streaks on a home’s shingle roof. What causes these black marks first to appear and then spread across a roof? It’s not the color bleeding out of the shingles, but actually, a living organism growing on the roof.
What Is Algae?
What causes the unattractive dark streaks on shingle roofs is a tiny organism, algae called Gloeocapsa Magma. This alga is blue-green, but as it builds up, it appears black on your roof. Algae can occur on any shaded roof, but it grows especially well in warm, humid conditions. If you think that North Carolina sounds like an ideal environment for algae, you are correct. Algae on roofs are especially common in the Southeastern United States. It’s easy for the algae to become airborne and land in your home. If your roof is warm, damp, shaded, or any combination of these factors – the algae will most likely thrive there! Algae is more commonly found on the northern side of a roof, as that side is more likely to meet these conditions.
Algae Affects Your Home’s Appearance
Regardless of the color of your roof, algae will appear black on your shingles. An algae infestation usually starts at the top of the roof and works its way down to the bottom edge. Naturally, the black streaks trailing down your roof will detract from your home’s overall appearance. Algae on your home’s roof can lower the value of the house and the property. In addition to its effect on the property value, roof algae will greatly diminish your house’s curb appeal when you are trying to sell it. A house with an algae-streaked roof can bring down the whole neighborhood’s reputation.
Algae Increases Your Energy Costs
It’s bad enough that algae streaks mar your home’s appearance, but they can also affect your energy bills. Since algae appear on your roof as a black mark, it is darker than your original shingle color. Algae build-up also blocks the reflective properties of your roof shingles. Both of these situations cause your roof to start absorbing more heat, rather than reflecting it. On a sunny summer North Carolina day, your algae-streaked roof shingles will retain more heat – and that’s more heat for your air conditioning system to deal with! The result, of course, is a higher energy bill as your air conditioning works overtime to disperse that extra warmth.
The Effect of Algae on Roof Shingles
Algae grow on the limestone granules in asphalt shingles. As the algae consume the limestone, the shingle is weakened. As time goes on, algae can combine with fungus on your roof to produce a more advanced life form, a lichen. Lichen is much sturdier, more destructive, and harder to remove from a roof than algae is. Furthermore, lichen is a gateway to moss on your roof.
Moss – The Next Step in Roof Damage
Lichen growth can lead to moss taking root in your roof shingles. Since moss is a plant, it will put roots into your roof. Moss roots can grow in between and underneath your shingles, affecting the integrity of your entire roofing system. Moss and its roots absorb water, which means increased moisture in and on your roof shingles. The extra dampness can encourage even more kinds of growth, such as bacteria, mold, and mildew. In the winter, the moisture in moss roots expands as it freezes, which can create cracks in and around your shingles. Moss eventually provides a layer of soil which can allow other plant seeds to sprout. Finally, moss itself is slippery, so it increases the danger and difficulty of working on your roof. Once moss takes hold, your roof has reached an urgent state that will need complex, professional attention.
What NOT To Do About Algae
If you see those dark streaks that indicate algae on your shingles, your first instinct might be to have your roof cleaned. Many homeowners think that power washing is the best way to remove those algae stains. This could not be further from the truth! While power washing may remove the algae, it will also remove the protective granules from your shingles. These granules are critically important – they help reflect light from the shingles, reducing heat absorption; they help protect the shingles from the elements, and they add weight and strength to the shingles. Stripping the granules from your shingles with power washing will significantly shorten the lifespan of the shingles. Additionally, roofing systems are not designed to handle the level of direct pressure that results from power washing. Power washing can dislodge shingles from the roof, ruin the bond between the shingles, and damage sealants around openings in your roof (e.g., a skylight), leading to leaks. Power washing can even spread algae to other parts of the roof, making your algae problem even worse! While the immediate result of power washing may look nice, your roof may develop problems soon afterward. You will see the negative effects as your roof starts to deteriorate within a few years.
A Better Option: Algae Resistant Roof Shingles
Of course, the most effective method for dealing with algae on your roof shingles is to avoid the situation entirely. While roofing experts have designed methods to safely remove algae and its stains from your roof, these treatments can be costly and time-consuming. And if you live in an algae-prone area such as North Carolina, you may find that you need to repeat the process in a few years. Algae resistant roofs are the best way to keep your home safe from this threat. Skywalker Roofing offers Owens Corning algae resistant roof shingles for the best protection for your home. Owens Corning has developed these algae resistant roof shingles using a special, non-toxic formula that inhibits the growth of algae, without damaging the environment around your home.
Benefits of Algae Resistant Roofs
It’s easy to see why installing algae resistant roof shingles is the most cost-effective way to deal with your potential algae problem. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. You can stop algae before it even starts by using algae resistant shingles on your roof. With an algae resistant roof, you won’t have to worry about any of these issues:
- Unsightly Stains – Keep your roof free from those black streaks caused by algae growing on your roof shingles. You don’t want to be the homeowner whose roof detracts from the whole neighborhood.
- High Energy Bills – Your cooling costs can creep up so slowly that you might not notice at first, but as the algae spread, your bill will keep rising. Algae resistant roof shingles help keep your energy bills low.
- Damage Prevention – While the algae itself is not extremely destructive to shingles, its presence does reduce the lifespan of your roof. And it’s clear that algae are also the first step in a process that results in serious roof damage. Algae growing on shingles is a sure sign of roof problems in your future.
- Lower Cleaning and Maintenance Costs – Algae can be cleaned from roof shingles, but it’s a job for a professional. While roof cleaning and maintenance is essential to maximizing the life of your roof, you can reduce the amount of professional cleaning required with algae resistant roof shingles!
If you want to avoid the appearance of dark streaks on your shingles, the worry about damage to your roofing system, and the hassle of repeated roof cleanings – algae resistant roof shingles are the answer. Skywalker Roofing is proud to offer Owens Corning shingles with StreakGuard Algae Resistance Protection to inhibit algae growth. Contact us for more information about installing algae resistant roofs in North Carolina.