You may think a bit of moss growth on your roof adds character to your home, but that green carpet covering your shingles can wreak havoc on your roof. Moss grows in areas that get little to no sunlight but a decent amount of moisture buildup. This is why you will typically see moss growing on the north side of trees, fence posts and yes, roofs.
But no matter where you see moss growing on your roof you should address it as quickly as you can to avoid damages.
The Dangers of Moss Growth
In nature, moss plays its part. But on man-made structures, moss can have a devastating effect. Moss grows in blankets and establishes its roots on the shingling of your roof. These roots can actually start to lift your roofing shingles and deteriorate them over time. This will result in the immediate need to spend money and replace broken or damaged shingles.
In the long run, though, shingles that have been lifted up by moss roots can expose the underlayer of your roof to moisture which can cause even more damage. This is the beginning of roof erosion.
This exposure to moisture can cause mold and bacteria growth, which can eat away at your roofing and cause leaks and holes. Not to mention the respiratory health issues caused by breathing in mold. The exposed roofing can allow water and moisture into your inner roofing structure and even your home.
Besides the structural and health dangers that moss can lead to, it is dangerous to walk on a roof that is covered in moss because it can be very slippery. If you feel that moss on your roof has already caused significant damage, reach out to a roofing company to check it out for you. On the other hand, you just need to get the moss off your roof but no damage has been done, keep on reading!
Getting Rid of Moss and Dispelling Popular Misconceptions
So you are aware of the dangers and are ready to get rid of your moss but which method should be used. First, some misconceptions about getting moss off your roof should be addressed:
- Bleach – It is often recommended that homeowners use bleach to weaken and wash away moss. This is a method that needs to be executed very carefully for it to be a viable option. That’s because bleach is very corrosive and can eat away at your flashing, which can cause leaks in the future. Bleach can also discolor your shingles, making them look uneven or older than they actually are. Your vapor barrier can be compromised if you spray your roof with bleach and there are broken or cracked shingles. Bleach will kill moss, but it can also kill other plants and vegetation that you did not intend to kill.
- Pressure Washing – Pressure washing your moss away should only be done if you are very experienced with the practice. Pressure washers can cause more damage to your roofing and shingles than moss and in much less time.
Both of these methods are still technically viable, but you have to be way more careful with them than other methods such as:
- Hand Scrubbing – You can start by gathering your garden hose and a sturdy scrubbing brush and wetting down the moss affected areas moderately. When the moss is good and soft, you can go to work on them with the scrubbing brush.
- Roof Cleaning Solutions – If scrubbing isn’t enough, you may want to consider a ready-made roof cleaning solution. Many roof cleaners are moss and mildew specific. Some can be mixed with water and applied to the affected areas without having to rinse. They work by killing the moss so that it deteriorates and fades away altogether. Other store-bought solutions can be hooked up to your hose and sprayed on the moss-covered section of your roof. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this yourself, see if you can find a roofing contractor near you to clean it professionally.
- Home Made Solutions – There are also safe home roof cleaning solutions you can make. One of them is a mixture of 8 ounces of dish soap (you can replace the dish soap with 1 and a half to 3 and a half cups of vinegar) and 2 gallons of water. You can apply this mixture with a garden sprayer or backpack sprayer.
Keeping Moss off Your Roof
Now that you have the moss off of your roof, it’s time to think about prevention, so you don’t have to tackle this chore again. Here are some ways you can prevent moss from growing on your roof:
- Trim Trees – One of the simplest ways to ensure that moss doesn’t grow on your roof is addressing a root cause: lack of sunshine. Moss can’t grow where the sun goes so make sure you trim overhanging limbs from trees and branches that are blocking direct sunlight from your roof.
- Zinc and Copper Strips – Applying a bit of science can go a long way. Zinc and copper are the natural enemies of moss. Pick up some zinc or copper strips from your local hardware store and place them under the uppermost layer of shingling on your roof.
- Clean you Gutters – Gutters that are clogged with leaves and plant debris are a breeding ground for moss. Keeping your gutters clean will lessen the likelihood of moss growing on your roof and soffits.
- Clean your Roof – Moss needs a substrate, such as dirt, to grow in the first place, so cleaning your roof once or twice a year is a great way to prevent moss growth. After each cleaning, you can also put some baking soda on the ridgeline of your roof since the baking soda will make an unsuitably high pH condition in which moss cannot grow.