Soft Wash Roof Cleaning
In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania you might have noticed an incredible outbreak of roof stains in your neighborhood, including your own home…you’re not alone. The stains that appear on your roof are living organisms that infest and methodically reduce the lifespan of your homes roof shingles. Roof Cleaning is the inexpensive solution to having a new roof installed.
These organisms feed on the base of the shingle (primarily the limestone filler) and dig holes to trap water, causing the granules to loosen, thus the premature deterioration of the shingles. Which will greatly reduce the life expectancy, leading you to believe roof replacement is your only option. It is certainly not, Roof Cleaning is the answer!
An infested roof can certainly harm your property value and home’s curb-appeal as well, especially if you are trying to sell. Being it is a living organism (a type of mold), it can potentially spread to other areas of your home.
If you ask a “roofer” for his opinion on an infested roof, he will tell you to replace the roof, for obvious reasons, he’s looking for work. Think about it, if your homes deck, siding or concrete were dirty or stained would you replace it? The answer is obvious, it makes much more financial sense to safely clean than replace.
Which is good news! Because your roof can generally be cleaned for a fraction of what it would cost to replace a new roof. And the cleaner we use is based on what is recommended by ARMA (American Roofing Manufacturing Association).
Compare a roof that's half cleaned, what a difference!
Black Mold/Algae (Gloeocapsa Magma), Moss, Lichen and the results after cleaning.
A Little More Roof Cleaning Information
Gloeocapsa magma is a species of cyanobacteria. Cyanobacteria are an ancient line of photosynthesizing bacteria, which photolyze water generating oxygen gas. Ancient cyanobacteria were ancestral to the chloroplasts of all plants on earth. Gloeocapsa magma may resemble “algae” in that they are green, but in fact cyanobacteria are bacteria whereas algae are single-celled eukaryotes (cells with nuclei) that are closely related to plants.
Impact on human habitation
Gloeocapsa magma has gained notoriety in the Southeastern United States, but, it is also spreading throughout the Midwest. This particular type of cyanobacteria is responsible for creating black stains and streaks on roofs. The bacteria accumulate over time as it feeds on moisture and calcium carbonate. This accumulation begins to show the black stains as the cyanobacteria develop their dark and hard UV-protective outer coating.
The main reasons for the rapid spread and noticeability of these cyanobacteria are thought to be:
Rising humidity and temperatures combined with more and more bacteria spores promotes their spread with these favorable conditions.
Fiberglass shingles are made with limestone as a filler (in the asphalt). These shingles hold moisture and organic “bacteria food” material longer (especially on the North-side in the Midwest of the USA) than the paper/asphalt/ceramic shingles of the 1980s. This cyanobacteria causes substantial destruction to roofs causing shingle decay and loss of reflective power. Over time, Gloeocapsa magma breaks down the shingles by feeding off of the limestone granules embedded in the shingles. This decreases a roof’s ability to reflect ultra-violet rays of light and shortens the life of the roof.
Once the bacteria have become noticeable, the stains will continue to worsen year to year. As the bacterial colony grows, gravity pulls it downward, resulting in the smear-like stain down roofs. Most “experts” within the subject area conclude the bacteria to be harmful, if left untreated, as the growth holds moisture within shingles causing premature aging, rotting, and/or granule loss.
The buildup of Gloeocaspa magma on residential properties has led to earlier roof replacements, lowered property resale values, insurance companies canceling policies and increased utility costs as the black stained roofing draws in more heat.
There are many available options for the eradication of Gloeocapsa Magma, the most common being an application of Sodium Hypochlorite as well as Copper Sulfate. The preferred technique of application of these chemicals is low pressure washing. This will avoid costly damage to the structure. Many roof cleaning contractors offer this method of cleaning.