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Algae stains on roofs


Neal Lewis
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Hi Kim,

On those roof cleaning pictures, is the "algae" removed and killed off, or just bleached? We use Sodium Hypochlorite not bleach, bleach is a very weakened form from Chlorine.

Sodium hypochlorite *is* bleach.

And you didn't answer the question.

In your area, how long does it take for algae to form on a new roof?

Florida is more susceptible than the northern areas, but in reality anywhere the weather conditions such as high humidity and a long rainy season are prime for recurrence.

We have a guy that has soft wash cleaned in Fl over 50,000 roofs, never causing any roof damage. He has designed through out the years a product that carry's a 5 yr warranty. In essence if they can offer 5 yrs in Fl, it would be safe to say the cleaning process in areas like Mi. it could fall into a possible 7-10 yr warranty. ( We have had a roofing business in Mi. for 27 yrs or so, and are opening up a roof cleaning business in Fl, and possibly looking at Mi. as well)

You didn't answer the question. And Jim the Variables ARE??? Hmm. many.

After a good roof cleaning, how long does it take to come back?

There are a variety of factors for a re-infestation, after a "good" roof cleaning and the right way to clean are two factors. The right way is to kill the algae( general term here, ok?) or other growths is probably a big factor.

The other cause is your neighborhood, if it is really bad it probably will make its way back to you. I could get into the whole science thing that this stuff has been around since time and can survive the trip in space, but you get my point. All in all it is very hardy, and using the wrong cleaning method can bring this back fairly quick, a year or two?

You didn't answer the question. Again variables involved?

Do you consider the cleaning procedure to be cosmetic, or do you figure removal of the algae will prolong the life of the roof covering?

The removal of the algae, is not the way I would word this, I would say that in killing it, it will follow the normal process as with anything that is dead, it will decompose etc.

As far as the cleaning being cosmetic, here is a link to read what has been talked about from a roof cleaners point of view:

RCIA

That link has nothing to do with the question.

My personal thought as a roof replacement company working in Mi. we are starting to see the shingle granules being compromised, a loss of some granules might be acceptable, but the weathering in addition to significant loss of granules in my opinion add up to premature failure. We recently replaced a 10 yr old roof and I posted the images on the web site I posted here. You can decide if you view those images and format your own opinion.

Aesthetics are one part of the equation, as in FL many HOA's enforce this cleaning, in the north as in Mi. not so much, but There are many that have very expensive homes and value the curb appeal of their 400k home. So that would motivate them.

Increased heating costs are another issue as well, and if anyone has read and understood that what is growing on the roof attracts the Sun's rays to keep it alive, this is a part of that equation.

Here is a link to some elementary science from 3M and Discovery Science, while elementary it will give a basic understanding. Kind cool stuff.

Lots of words, but nothing addressing the simple question that was asked.

All in all it is way more complex than I would have ever anticipated, but interesting.

Hope this helps you understand this a little more.

Take Care,

Kim

Aside from your laudable aversion to pressure washing, I've heard nothing from you that indicates you have any specialized or complete understanding of roofing at all. You write lots of words, but most of them make no sense. And, so far, you haven't contributed anything meaningful to this thread that hadn't already been amply expressed by others. As far as I can see you're about a half step above the link droppers that occasionally pepper this site.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

Well Jim thanks for the warming welcome, and link dropping?. I could have put more links in here than I did if I was link dropping, No not link dropping.

Networking maybe the better title. But if none of this makes any sense to you well I am really sorry, as no I do not have a PhD, nor am I technically a roofer, my husband is. (yes I am female) But in co-running a roofing company for over 27 years, I would not say I am illiterate either.

( butt & run the shingles ( re-roof), pyramiding the valley, gables, mansards, drip,counter flashing etc. ) terms I am familiar with.

Do I have exact scientific answers to these questions asked, no?, and if anyone else did then why have they not been answered as of yet.

Why don't you take a shot at the answers, as you seem pretty savvy. Do you have an explanation the questions I was asked, if you do please tell.

If my being here is a bother, well that is simple, I can disappear. I am not gaining that much from being here. But hey it is all good.

Take Care Jim.

Mike for you I have a guy in your area if you would like, pm if you prefer, as I do not want to link drop in your forum.

Kim R

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Marc,

Thank you and yes there is a lot to learn, as learning is a never ending process. We do work constantly on the process, as well as any science we can find to understand this issue. Please come visit and check it out as some of you may choose to add this on to the current services you may offer. We are an extremely welcoming bunch who truly want to educate as many who are willing to learn.

I would really like to know if this "Algae etc." has ever made it's way inside from an inspectors point of view.

Take Care,

Kim R

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Marc,

Please come visit and check it out as some of you may choose to add this on to the current services you may offer. We are an extremely welcoming bunch who truly want to educate as many who are willing to learn.

Take Care,

Kim R

Already have. It's a new home tab on my browser.

Marc

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Well Jim thanks for the warming welcome, and link dropping?. I could have put more links in here than I did if I was link dropping, No not link dropping.

Networking maybe the better title.

Ok, networking then. Link droppers, at least, have the virtue of writing short posts.
But if none of this makes any sense to you well I am really sorry, as no I do not have a PhD, nor am I technically a roofer, my husband is. (yes I am female) But in co-running a roofing company for over 27 years, I would not say I am illiterate either.

( butt & run the shingles ( re-roof), pyramiding the valley, gables, mansards, drip,counter flashing etc. ) terms I am familiar with.

I'm not looking for someone with a PhD, but I don't like wasting my time reading nonsense either. Brandon asked clear questions. You responded with nonsense. That has nothing to do with PhDs, your marital status, your gender, your experience in the roofing industry, or your display of roofing terminology. It has to do with your inability to directly address questions that reach to the heart of this discussion.
Do I have exact scientific answers to these questions asked, no?, and if anyone else did then why have they not been answered as of yet.
He didn't ask scientific questions. His questions have to do with your experience as a roof cleaner. They're the sort of questions any prospective client might ask. Yet instead of simply answering the questions (including addressing the variables, if necessary) you talked about stuff that had nothing to do with the questions. Your answers remind me of the way used car salesmen respond to questions.
Why don't you take a shot at the answers, as you seem pretty savvy. Do you have an explanation the questions I was asked, if you do please tell.
I don't know the answers. If someone asked me, that's what I'd say. But then, I'm not in the business of roof cleaning. I'm in the business of answering questions honestly.
If my being here is a bother, well that is simple, I can disappear. I am not gaining that much from being here. But hey it is all good.

Take Care Jim.. . .

Oh, for Gawd's sake, cut the passive aggressive crap, it's embarrassing. If you have something meaningful to contribute, go for it. I'd like to learn from you. But if all you've got is "pressure washing is baaaad," then you're contributing nothing new to the conversation.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Well Jim thanks for the warming welcome, and link dropping?. I could have put more links in here than I did if I was link dropping, No not link dropping.

Networking maybe the better title.

Ok, networking then. Link droppers, at least, have the virtue of writing short posts.
But if none of this makes any sense to you well I am really sorry, as no I do not have a PhD, nor am I technically a roofer, my husband is. (yes I am female) But in co-running a roofing company for over 27 years, I would not say I am illiterate either.

( butt & run the shingles ( re-roof), pyramiding the valley, gables, mansards, drip,counter flashing etc. ) terms I am familiar with.

I'm not looking for someone with a PhD, but I don't like wasting my time reading nonsense either. ( you could have moved on there is plenty of other stuff here to read) Brandon ( key word here Brandon ) asked clear questions. You responded with nonsense (.Once again your opinion Jim)

( "Well I do not think that is for you to decide how Brandon thinks or do you have the habit of telling people how to think or what to think" )

That has nothing to do with PhDs, your marital status, your gender, your experience in the roofing industry, or your display of roofing terminology. It has to do with your inability to directly address questions that reach to the heart of this discussion. ( Once again Jim that is your opinion pressed towards others, than you must truly be the expert here- if you do not have the right answer than how do you know that mine were the wrong answer)

Do I have exact scientific answers to these questions asked, no?, and if anyone else did then why have they not been answered as of yet.
He didn't ask scientific questions. His questions have to do with your experience as a roof cleaner. They're the sort of questions any prospective client might ask. Yet instead of simply answering the questions (including addressing the variables, if necessary (way too many) you talked about stuff that had nothing to do with the questions. Your answers remind me of the way used car salesmen respond to questions. (And your responses remind me of a person who contributes nothing more than cynical commentary to whom ever listens to you. )

He didn't ask scientific answers, (which means what? What you were really asking for Jim was for me to offer a precise spoon fed answer. As if that would actually have changed your snide dialog)

Why don't you take a shot at the answers, as you seem pretty savvy. Do you have an explanation the questions I was asked, if you do please tell.
I don't know the answers. If someone asked me, that's what I'd say. But then, I'm not in the business of roof cleaning. I'm in the business of answering questions honestly.

(You didn't answer the question Jim. Well then you must be inept.)

If my being here is a bother, well that is simple, I can disappear. I am not gaining that much from being here. But hey it is all good.

Take Care Jim.. . .

Oh, for Gawd's sake, cut the passive aggressive crap, it's embarrassing.

("there you are telling me to be embarrassed" ) If you have something meaningful to contribute, go for it. I'd like to learn from you. But if all you've got is "pressure washing is baaaad," then you're contributing nothing new to the conversation.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

Jim for Gawds sake then why are you responding, is it that you troll through the boards, in a grand attempt to embarrass any one that strikes you the wrong way. Really Jim, I think you insult Brandon's intelligence by speaking for him, do you do this in all topics, tell people what is garbage or not. And I will assume that you have labeled my statements as passive aggressive, then you must have taken PSY 101. So I guess then the point is to never speak until your an expert. If education was done your way, well Jim the world would be full of "Jim's" And as far as not contributing nothing new to the conversation you sir have filled the topic with hot air and meaningless fluff more than I at this point.

Jim you have a great life and I am really glad your in Oregon[;)]

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Really Jim, I think you insult Brandon's intelligence by speaking for him
When Mr. Katen speaks (writes), others are smart to listen. Having him keep a conversation going is by no means an insult. It's not like he pushed me aside to reply; I was away, and he kept the conversation going.

KimR,

You really did not answer my questions.....

You'd gain a lot more respect by saying "I don't know, let me find out", than you ever will by beating around the bush and not answering the question.

PS: I've learned that you need a thick skin to participate on home inspection forums. As recently as yesterday, I let someone else's comment get to me. I typed a reply, cooled off before I hit send, and hit delete instead.

Have a good evening.

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Jim is an amazingly astute individual, and occasionally he's a butt and roasts folks that blather nonsense. Personally, I like it when he's a butt; his butt-iness usually goes right at the heart of an issue.

I don't have a dog in this hunt; algae doesn't seem all that much of a problem in Chicago.

That said, I haven't found anything in anything the roof cleaners have been saying to have much validity.

And, calling it science is stretching a bit. It's a roof. It's got algae on it. I've yet to see algae cause any problems (in Chicago) other than making roofs ugly.

Is it really a problem (all you folks where there is an algae "problem")?

If algae is all that much of a problem, why don't I see much of anything about it on any of the mfg's. websites, other than some new additives in their products? I'd think that if algae was such a huge "scientific" issue, the mfg's. would be all over it, with big bold pages on their websites warning us of the problem.

Have I got that wrong?

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In my area (northeast Ohio) people that ask a local roofer to replace their shingles will more than likely get a sales pitch to upgrade to shingles that contain the copper granules that retard algae growth. Those home owners that wait for a hail storm and the insurance company to pay for new shingles will more than likely get non-treated shingles installed by an out-of-state-jobber that buys-in-bulk so that he-can-bid-low.

When the algae shows up, nothing is done. In this depressed area, people are not spending money on cosmetic house items. Lawn service, house washing, house and trim painting, not to mention the interior maintenance items are all deferred, as the homeowner has not the money to pay for it and/or the skills to do it themselves.

So, Algae shows up in my area, but not as priority one. It (Algae) doesn't get reported in my inspection report, not even as a Maintenance Item.

Ezra Malernee

Canton, Ohio

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Jim and other forum members,

I apologize if you felt that I came here to stuff your forum with nonsense or links. My only intention was to be able to work with your organization and share some information I have, as well as to learn from your experiences. I am sure that many of you see a lot of things that homeowners will never see, as many will never step foot on their roof. Your experiences will allow us to educate the public in an unbiased manner. What the return is for your profession is to be able to understand any options that are available when you are consulting on an inspection.

As far as my conversation with Mike, I never really understood what position he has been dealing with in WA., I do now, after researching roof cleaners in his area, and that is only a fraction of the U.S.. Many of these guys are ruining the roofs and the consumer's are being scammed and ripped off. That to me and our forum is unacceptable.

I would welcome any of you to visit our forum if you would like to see where our integrity is at. The members are very dedicated to the work and workmanship they do.

Jim if you have an opportunity, spend an hour over on our site. If you feel there is a potential benefit for your industry great, as we would like to add input from your profession as to the damages you have seen as an inspector. As well as your knowledge of the exterior possibly contaminating the interior through roof,gable,soffit or ridge vents.

Jim your apology is accepted and appreciated. I think there is a lot that can be learned from various points of view, and am looking forward to learning more of what this forum has to offer.

Sincerely,

Kim R

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Jim is an amazingly astute individual, and occasionally he's a butt and roasts folks that blather nonsense. Personally, I like it when he's a butt; his butt-iness usually goes right at the heart of an issue.

I don't have a dog in this hunt; algae doesn't seem all that much of a problem in Chicago.

That said, I haven't found anything in anything the roof cleaners have been saying to have much validity.

And, calling it science

(the science involved is the cyanobacteria itself, how it grows, what grows symbiotically with it, is it causing premature roof failure, the chemicals required to kill off the growths, is it possible that people sensitive to allergens reacting to it's presence, these are my questions and they require a scientific answer)

is stretching a bit. It's a roof. It's got algae on it. I've yet to see algae cause any problems (in Chicago) other than making roofs ugly. (Or replaced too soon for whatever the reason, homeowner looking for curb appeal, or the roofer selling a roof, it costs a fraction of a new roof)

Is it really a problem (all you folks where there is an algae "problem")?

( Florida has HOA's and it is mandated in the many by-laws in associations)

(Michigan, if you had a 400k house 12 years old, and black claw marks running down the roof front, would 600 set you back to make your roof look new again, or to be able to sell on that curb appeal, or a prospective buyer wanting it replaced at the expense of the seller, I don't know,what do you think?)

If algae is all that much of a problem, why don't I see much of anything about it on any of the mfg's. websites, other than some new additives in their products? I'd think that if algae was such a huge "scientific" issue, the mfg's. would be all over it, with big bold pages on their websites warning us of the problem.

( if roofing suppliers made a golden shingle that actually lasted the full stated life, then this more than likely result in diminished sales as well as skyrocketing the shingle price, so they while attempt to make improvements in the process, is it really good for their business?, secondly the costs in use of limestone as a filler, they are using a very cheap filler which equals more profit. and algae loves the moisture in the limestone, My 2 cents) ( any manufacturers warranty is usually useless by the time "algae" makes its appearance, -prorated warranty) Car,appliance,audio company's etc, very rarely build to last any more, how many toasters have you bought in your lifetime? just some food for thought)

Have I got that wrong?

Take Care,

Kim R

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Hi Kim,

On those roof cleaning pictures, is the "algae" removed and killed off, or just bleached?

Removed during the process NO, Killed, YES, The term bleach means to whiten or lighten, or make translucent, Yes "translucent" but KILLED to decompose.
In your area, how long does it take for algae to form on a new roof?
I live In Parrish, Fl. my neighborhood has an age of 5-7 years, "Algae" prevalent for the last two years depending on the orientation of the home. Some worse than others, some homes appearing on the all roof ridgecap only.
After a good roof cleaning, how long does it take to come back?
Using quality methods in FL. approx. 7-8 years or more.
Do you consider the cleaning procedure to be cosmetic, or do you figure removal of the algae will prolong the life of the roof covering?
BOTH

Brandon,

Hope this one is better if not let me know what more details you need.

Take Care,

Kim R

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OK. I'll grant you some things.

I can see where the cosmetic benefits of cleaning a roof are worthwhile. If one wants to make their house look good, cleaning a funky roof is a cost effective solution. Easily worth the expense, IF the roof isn't power washed. A company that can provide a good service is a good company.

I won't grant you a few things.

I won't grant you that roofing mfg's. are into some form of planned obsolescence. Yep, there's been some well known problems, but by and large, modern roofing materials are a miracle of engineering.

Roof problems are almost ALWAYS a function of poor roof design and installation, and that includes material choices. Algae is a problem, but I still think it's a cosmetic one.

And, imagining there's some health risk from the bacteria on the roof is really stretching. I suppose there could be someone, somewhere, that is genetically predisposed to react negatively to roof algae, but if I ever, ever read of any advertisements saying this is a health hazard, I'm going back to my original skepticism. When the medical profession indicates it's a problem, I'll pay attention.

Mold is gold is bad enough, but if the roof cleaning guys start up with the "your roof could be killing you" stuff....................[:-banghea

Thank you for taking the time to educate us in here about what you do. The fact that you came back and answered questions and generally behaved like a serious vendor speaks to your integrity.

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Kurt,

Thanks for the words and I really look forward to learning more than posting, you guys really do have some great info here. I just wish I had more hours in the day.

Thanks to all of you for the insight and hope you all have a great holiday!

Take Care,

Kim R

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here are some samples of 10 year old shingles that have been cleaned, what is your take on if there is granule loss?

One question, have you ever inspected a roof before and after a non-pressure cleaning?

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Here are some samples of 10 year old shingles that have been cleaned, what is your take on if there is granule loss?

One question, have you ever inspected a roof before and after a non-pressure cleaning?

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Hello Kim,

Granule loss is evident in the 1st and 2nd photos. Look at the black areas. That's asphalt, not black granules. How do I know it? Look at the shadows. Light source is at the top. Doesn't prove a thing anyway because age is also a factor in granule loss.

Try it on a new 3-tab. Rinse with water and let it dry before the 'before' photo is taken because new shingles have loose granules right out of the bundle.

I've never witnessed a 'non-pressure washer' cleaning. Still learning about the 'non-pressure' process on your forum and others like it and I may get into that business on the side, but without the chlorine.

Marc

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Marc,

If you do not use chlorine for cleaning, what method are you leaning to?

I think the best way to get to the bottom of this topic is to find a roof with moderate to heavy stains, do a before and after soft wash cleaning inspection.( 10-15 yr old roof , not a 25 yr for obvious reasons )

I have seen the difference and it might be best if as inspectors you could witness it first hand, if you have not done so already.

Take Care,

Kim R

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Marc,

If you do not use chlorine for cleaning, what method are you leaning to?

I think the best way to get to the bottom of this topic is to find a roof with moderate to heavy stains, do a before and after soft wash cleaning inspection.( 10-15 yr old roof , not a 25 yr for obvious reasons )

I have seen the difference and it might be best if as inspectors you could witness it first hand, if you have not done so already.

Take Care,

Kim R

Oxygen bleach. Isn't that what SoftWashSystems.com offers?

Marc

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