Now that the snow is finally starting to disappear around us, Michiganders are starting to put away the snow shovels and bring out the rakes, brooms and fertilizer to get started on spring yard maintenance. One area that can be greatly overlooked when it comes to spring cleaning time is the roof. If you're considering putting your home on the market, currently looking for a new home, or just want to improve your home's appearance, there are a few options you have for getting rid of that blue-green-grey gunk that's chilling between your shingles.
Quick science lesson: the build-up is known as Gloeeocapsa Magma. It's a single-celled typed of cyanobacteria which uses photosynthesis, or in case you can't remember all the way back to seventh grade science class, it can produce it's own energy. Give these little guys water, sunlight, carbon dioxide, a good surface to call home and a bit of additional food and they are all set.
Before starting any cleaning effort on your roof, it's recommended that you call either the roofing company that carries the guarantee on your roof or the manufacturer of your shingles. They may offer a cleaning service, recommend someone or suggest a way to do it so you'll be certain not to void any warranties. If you're not a Do-It-Yourself-er, try calling several contractors before settling on one to make sure you're getting the best deal possible.
For a cheaper, but more time consuming route, there is the DIY option. The Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association recommends using a combination of chlorine bleach, water and TSP- trisodium phosphate.
The best method that will give you the results you want is with a chlorine bleach. It will clean the bacteria on contact and penetrate deeply into the shingles where additional algae may be hiding. The downside of this is how harmful it can be to plants that you do want around your home-shrubbery and grass around the home should be properly covered so they don't suffer the same end as the roof growth.
Another option that is not as caustic and gentle on shubbery is that of an oxygen bleach. Because they are gentler, they won't kill off as much of the Gloeocapsa Magma. While it will get rid of most, if not all of the surface staining, you will likely have to get back up and clean your roof again next year.
Hopefully this information was not only informative but helpful too!
Thanks to Lynn Kincaid of Saver Systems in Richmond, Indiana for the great information.