Shortly after your new roof was installed, the wind carried a once harmless bacteria to your roof top. Years ago this bacteria would have starved and the story would have ended. But in the 1970’s shingle manufacturers changed the composition of asphalt shingles and included limestone as a filler.
Nearly every roof in the country has been replaced since 1976 (30 years ago), and as a result a strange growth has been occurring on roof tops across the country. This growth is the lowly microorganism, Gloeocapsa magma commonly called “Roof Algae”, Roof Bacteria, Roof stains or Roof Mold. This roof algae has been given a new lease on roof top life right over your head.
Today when the wind carries roof algae, squirrels track roof algae, or birds deposit roof bacteria to your roof top, the creature finds a feast of limestone providing it a source of nourishment never before known. Of course, roof algae need more than just food, they require 2 other components to sustain life: Sunlight and Moisture (rain). Yup, you’ve got it! A roof top always has moisture and sunlight. So the party on your roof has been going on for quite some time. Roof Algae are smaller than a pin tip, so even though they have been fed since your roof was replaced, you probably wouldn’t notice them from the ground, but roof algae that are well fed start colonies, and expand!!
Roof Top Woodstock?
Colonies of roof bacteria have been growing over your head. How big is the party you ask? Well, roof bacteria are pretty small, in fact as single celled microorganisms over ten thousand algae live in a square inch. By the time YOU can see the algae, the colony has become roof top Woodstock! A square foot of roof top with roof stains can have over 1,800,000 creatures feeding. That is nearly 2 million roof algae camped out at your roof top Woodstock! That’s why over time, and in different spots you will see the colony begin to appear. Generally, after 2-4 years (within months on the coasts, or very humid areas) the colonies will be large enough to see with the naked eye.
The roof algae are certainly a problem in their own right, but its worse when you consider their groupies! That’s right, groupies! When algae setup a Roof Top Woodstock, they invite friends like mildew, mold and fungus. These friends live off of the organic waste products from the bacteria. So when you get millions of algae on the roof, the mildew, mold and fungus join the show.
Much like the roof algae, mold and fungus are airborne and also tracked by birds and squirrels. In the past fungus and mold had no chance on a roof top (unless leaves or branches littered the roof) because fungus and mold require organic food. Asphalt shingles, even with limestone offer no food to mold and fungus. But as we now know, roof algae feast on inorganic limestone, which creates ‘organic algae waste’ which makes for a feast of fungus food!
And this a problem?
Everyone likes a great party, but this roof top party is in a word: ‘trouble’. Our roof tops make up over 40% of the visual appearance of the home, and the cleanliness of our roof is as important as keeping the grass cut. Neighborhoods property values and home owner pride are impacted by how people ‘feel’ about your home and how you feel about theirs. Keeping neighborhoods clean, keeps communities strong!
Beyond the way roof stains makes us feel, the trouble is more measurable:
The stains caused by roof mold, and roof algae:
* Reduce shingle life
* Create neighborhood eyesore
* Increased air conditioning bills
* Reduce Property Values
* Allow mold to work its way inside
* Introduce Risk of Bird born Bacteria
The bottom line, your $10,000 shingle roof will last half as long as it should.
Costing you $10,000 more than it should!
Roof Cleaning… Yes.. roof cleaning
As unusual as it may sound, your roof may be cleaned. Considering the shelter it provides from sun, rain and airborne particles, the roof constitutes the largest and most expensive mechanical system in your home. Care should be taken to keep the roof clean and stop the party. Solutions for this range from professional roof cleaning services, to do-it-yourself roof cleaners that can be sprayed on, and rinsed off. In any case exercise care so as to not damage shingles, or the roof. Choose a roof cleaner that is simple, effective and proven.
Over the course of the last 2 years, roof cleaning businesses have been experiencing an increase in volume that is requiring the addition of trucks and crews. For savvy individuals, a roof cleaning business has very low startup costs, and can create a sustainable income.