blog Archives - Twin Cities Roof Cleaning

Restore Your Curb Appeal

Don’t be the house in your neighborhood with the stains and dirty roof.  Twin Cities Roof Cleaning will help you have the cleanest roof in your neighborhood.  We have helped our clients in St. Paul, Minneapolis as well as all over the Twin Cities.  We stride to be the best roof cleaning company in Minnesota.

Roof Algae Health Concerns

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by Dr. Victor H. Morgenroth

Dr. Morgenroth is a semi-retired, adjunct professor of neurology at UM. He was a principal administrator in the Environment Health and Safety Division of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) for 20 years; prior to that I was a Group Leader in the Toxicology Division at the Center for Food Safety and Nutrition in the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Previously, he was on the faculty of several medical schools in neurology, pharmacology and psychiatry.

Having your roof cleaned actually makes sense. I know most of us were slightly put out by receiving a roof cleaning notice from the Keys Gate Management Association. Although it read a little like an ultimatum and you probably wondered who the inspector of your roof was and what their qualifications were, it turns out that roof cleaning is not a bad idea at all.

It isn’t just aesthetics. While people like to say that dirty roofs lower a property’s value and may make it hard to sell, the “dirt” on a roof actually shortens its life span and can even present a health hazard. Furthermore, the “dark stains” on a roof act as a sponge to absorb the sun’s heat, which causes a rise in the temperature inside a home or building, creating higher air conditioning bills.

The dirt isn’t just dust – It’s alive. Some of the black or very dark roof stains are caused by a resilient type of algae, Gloeocapsa magma (a type of blue-green algae commonly found in climates with warm, humid summers). The algae grow in standing water, as well as in our lakes and ponds. The algal spores are carried to our roofs from the water sources by the wind and birds, and then from roof to roof where it grows and feeds on the limestone filler in asphalt shingles and the real dirt on tile roofs maybe in some cases the tiles themselves. Worse still, as the algae grow, they retain water and foster the growth of other roof inhabitants.

The black stains are also very likely to harbor a number of molds or fungi. Unlike algae the fungi on our roofs lacks chlorophyll. They are unable to manufacture food from raw materials. So, it must get nutrition from some form of organic matter. To thrive, these heterotrophs, who used to be called saprophytes, also require a warm, humid environment.

Fungi normally begin their life cycle as an airborne spore that settles on roofs, especially the asphalt-shingle ones. The spores on the northern exposure of the roof stand a better chance of survival because that portion of the roof is the last part to dry after a rain or morning dew. This raises the humidity on the surface of the shingle, thus creating a perfect feeding and breeding ground.

The tar used in roofing is fossilized, dead organic matter — and an important food source for fungi. Asphalt, at the granule base, is normally consumed first. Once these granules dislodge, accelerated deterioration will occur. Ceramic granules represent the outer hard shell that protects against hail and other falling debris. Ceramic granules protect against damaging UV radiation and insulate the roof against extreme heat. So you can understand that their dislodgement by the growing fungal colonies can be detrimental to our roofs’ longevity. Surprisingly, the blue-green algae are also food for the fungi.

While not all mold (fungi) and algae pose a health danger, some are harmful, especially for us older folks, younger children and people who suffer from asthma and respiratory problems. Their spores, which are on your roof, can get inside your home because they end up on the driveway and walkways from rain, and are easily tracked inside. They can even be drawn into our air conditioning systems and eventually populate our ducts.

Different mold species can have varying health effects, but it is important to remember that any excessive mold growth needs to be taken care of, regardless of the species. Any excessive mold growth can lead to increased allergies, toxicity, and house/building structural problems.

In conclusion, during the digestion of substrates, fungi secrete enzymes into nutrients in order to break down complex compounds into simpler compounds that can be taken up by the fungi and used as nutrition. These digested nutrients produce secondary metabolic byproducts called mycotoxins that are released to give the fungi a competitive edge over other microorganisms and fungi. Unfortunately, mycotoxins can also be toxic to humans causing a variety of responses including cold/flu-like symptoms, sore throats, headaches, nose bleeds, fatigue, diarrhea, dermatitis, and immune suppression. Some mycotoxins may also be carcinogenic and teratogenic. Molds that have been known to potentially produce these toxins are Acremonium, Alternaria, Aspergillus, Chaetomium, Cladosporium, Fusarium, Penicillium, and Stachybotrys.

Why Should I Have my Roof Cleaned?

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There are many reasons to get a your roof cleaned. We have listed five important ones below.

1) Restore the beauty of your home. A dirty roof detracts from your home’s curb appeal. You clean your siding, porches, and walkways. You may even apply weed control and fertilizers to spruce up your lawn and garden. But if you ignore those ugly roof stains, no matter what else you do to improve your home’s exterior, those stains will be the main focal point that you, your friends, neighbors and visitors will see. Also, if you are hoping to sell your house, roof cleaning is a must!

2) Stop the damage that roof staining organisms are doing to your roof. These organisms, specifically algae, lichens, and moss are feeding off the organic material in your shingles. In other words, your shingles are their food source. The longer they are allowed to stay and feast off your shingles, the more damage they will cause. It’s important to schedule your roof cleaning as soon as you notice staining to stop the ongoing damage these organisms are doing to your shingles.

3) Having your roof cleaned by professionals is the cost saving alternative to premature re-roofing. There is absolutely no need to prematurely re-roof when your roof can look like new again for a fraction of replacement costs.

4) A roof covered with algae creates a situation where the granules on your shingles are no longer able to efficiently reflect sunlight. The algae covered shingles absorb heat, rather than reflecting it, thereby super-heating your attic and increasing your cooling costs. Our Service safely, gently, and completely removes the staining, restoring your roof back to its natural health and efficiency.

5) The effects of roof algae, lichens and moss can actually attract animals to your home, and ultimately into your attic. The integrity of your shingles and your roof can be compromised by these organisms. Algae, lichens and moss can penetrate the shingles allowing moisture to get into the sheathing. This moisture can cause wood to rot. The odor of rotting wood attracts animals.

3 Roof-Cleaning Methods for Ugly Stains

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If you’re confused by conflicting information when researching roof cleaning services, here’s a break down.

Roof staining organisms such as algae, lichens and moss feed off the organic material in shingles. In other words, they eat the roof. The longer they go untreated, the more damage they will cause.

Homeowners often find confusing and conflicting information when researching roof cleaning services. To assist homeowners with making informed decisions when deciding on which roof cleaning contractor to hire, this article describes the differences between the three main roof cleaning methods.

1. The eco-friendly, non-bleach, low pressure roof cleaning method

Roof cleaning companies that use this method use high-grade eco-friendly products that do not contain toxic chemicals such as chlorine-bleach, phosphates or other chemicals that can kill vegetation and pollute waterways. This method also uses a low-pressure rinsing system, avoiding the use of damaging high pressure scrubbing or brushing.

Pros: Typically, the results with this method are instant and complete. Algae, lichens, and moss are completely gone before the contractor leaves the property. Technicians use eco-friendly roof cleaning products such as roof shampoo and equipment designed precisely for safe, gentle roof cleaning. Contractors who use this method clean the roof while preserving the integrity of the shingles and without damaging the landscaping.

Cons: This method may cost a bit more due to the cost of high quality eco-friendly products vs. inexpensive chlorine bleach mixtures.

Tip: When hiring a contractor who uses this roof cleaning method, pick one who guarantees that the algae, lichens and/or moss will be completely gone before they leave your house. Also, look for a contractor who offers an annual roof stain prevention program.

2. The chlorine-bleach roof cleaning method

Roof cleaning contractors who use sodium hypochlorite (chlorine bleach) mix it in high concentrations with other chemicals such as trisodium phosphate, also known as TSP.

They spray it on the roof and wait for it to dry and then re-apply it several times as needed. Stains and moss or lichens that don’t come off on the day of treatment may eventually come off with rain in the months to come.

Pros: The bleach method can be less expensive than other methods because the chemicals are inexpensive and the technicians generally don’t get on the roof to rinse or inspect after the application.

Cons: Strong chemical odor and results that may not be instant, particularly when moss and lichen colonies are involved. There is also a possibility of posing harm to people and pets if exposed to the fumes or fluids. The effects of bleach on landscaping can cause permanent damage to plants, trees, grass and shrubs. Contaminating bleach and phosphates can leak into waterways in watershed areas.

Tip: Roof cleaning contractors who use chlorine-bleach typically don’t advertise or divulge that they use bleach. If they need to wet down plants before, during, or after treatment or use a runoff recovery system or cover plants during the roof cleaning process, these are indicators that a harsh chemical such as chlorine bleach is being used.

3. The high-pressure power washing method

Some roof cleaning contractors use high pressure power washing methods to attempt to remove roof stains.

Pros: Can’t think of any.

Cons: Not only is this method damaging to shingles, but it’s also not an effective way to remove organisms that cause roof stains. The high-pressure power washing method leaves root systems behind, so the algae will often return rather quickly.

Tip: If you’re not sure if the contractor will be using damaging high pressure, ask him to hold his hand under the spray. If he can’t do that, then the pressure is too high and can damage your shingles.

Knowing the pros and cons of the three main types of roof cleaning services means homeowners will be well prepared to ask the right questions to make informed decisions. Not only will removing ugly roof stains greatly improve a home’s curb appeal, but the roof will be restored to its natural and healthy energy efficient state. A clean roof is a healthy roof that should last for years to come.