How to remove moss without damaging your roof

You may be enchanted by pretty moss-covered roofing. But while a green moss-covered roof may look like something out of a fairytale, the effects of moss are more nightmare than fairytale. When moss starts to grow and cover your roof, it’s time for a roof cleaning! 

Cleaning any moss that is beginning to grow quickly is important, and power washing is one of the most common ways for roof cleaning. However, power washing can damage your roof, so let’s take a closer look at the other options for roof cleaning.

Why Is It Important To Remove Roof Moss?

Moss will grow in areas untouched by the sun and can develop rapidly on a roof shaded by trees, a building, or is north-facing. When moss is left to turn into clumpy greenery, almost every kind of roofing will begin to deteriorate. 

Wood and asphalt are very sustainable, but so are metal, clay, and concrete roofing. Moss will drastically shorten the lifespan of your roof, leading to a replacement sooner rather than later.

Moss can be particularly detrimental to the integrity of your roof, filling in any holes between the shingles and tiles and lifting up roofing materials. The lifting shingles allow rainwater and moisture to soak into the structure of your roof, causing decay and rot. Leaks are one of the many side effects of a rotting roof.

When you remove the moss from your roof, you are preserving the value of your house. You will prevent long-term decay and issues that arise when water starts leaking inside your home, like mold and rot.

Additionally, the appearance of your home will improve, which is important when attempting to sell your home.

Removing Moss With a Power Washer

Untreated roofs can quickly develop a thick carpet of moss, algae, and lichen spots. Most roofing manufacturers state that power washing is not recommended for roof cleaning because it degrades the expected longevity. 

Power washing makes sense when used to clean a deck or sidewalk but not when it comes to your roof. Why? Because roofing doesn’t have a solid surface like a deck or a sidewalk. 

Instead, a power washer will penetrate or rip off the shingles from your roof. Homeowners who hack at their shingles with a power washer will have severely damaged shingles, removing the shingle grit. 

Plus, the warranty on their roof can be voided when using a power washer to clean the moss and algae away. 

Other professionals will say that a power washer is one of the best ways to remove tough dirt, moss, and algae, but only when the instructions are followed correctly. Finding stubborn moss build up on your roof? Power washers are best left to the professionals when cleaning your roof.

What is Soft Washing?

Professional roof cleaners use a soft wash with a pressure slightly higher than a garden hose. This way, any long-term damage is prevented, the roof is free of moss, and no warranties are voided. 

Soft washing includes treating the roof with a properly proportioned mix of sodium hypochlorite and surfactant. It is the only method the ARMA (Asphalt Roof Manufacturers Association) recommends. 

It works more like a pesticide spray than a wash, gently removing the excess build-up. The process is completely eco-friendly, as sodium hypochlorite bio-degrades to salt.

This isn’t a quick solution; it can take up to 6 months for the lichen and moss to come down. Roof cleaning professionals are using a soft wash with a biodegradable solution to remove stubborn algae. This is the most effective way to remove moss from your roof.

How to Stop Moss From Growing Back?

Once your roof is rid of moss, you should consider some defensive measures to prevent the moss from growing back.

According to Better Homes & Gardens, one of the best defensive measures is to let the sunshine in where you can. Trim away tree branches, and keep the gutters clear of leaves, branches, and other debris.

A long-term solution is to attach zinc strips to the peak or ridge caps on the roof. You can get these from Home Depot. Water flows over the metal strips when it rains, leaching out moss-retardant zinc particles.

Preventing moss from building up is important when it comes to the integrity of your home. Hiring professional roof cleaners to remove moss is one of the simplest ways to ensure that your home retains its value and is free of leaks.