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Carefree Gutter Guard
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Issues With Roof Algae

Issues With Roof Algae | Carefree Gutter Guard

While driving or walking around a neighborhood, you may notice some houses have roofs with dark lines or streaks.  You may have wondered what the lines are – are they wear and tear throughout the years, dew, or just signs of an old roof that needs replacing?

Those unsightly streaks are roof algae, a common issue for homeowners in humid climates like Hampton Roads and Greater Richmond. Virginia is subtropical and humid, meaning there is a high percentage of moisture in the air. Outdoors in the summer can feel sticky with high humidity which contributes to the growth of roof algae. Roof algae can harm not only your roof but your gutters too.

Our team at Carefree Gutter Guard is here to fill you in on what roof algae is, how it can affect your gutter system, and how to prevent and treat it. Keep reading to learn about issues with roof algae so you can keep your home looking its best.

How Do I Know if My Roof Has Algae?

You can identify roof algae on your home by taking a look at the roof from the ground. Do you notice black streaks? What about green or white spots or moss that spans the roof? If you notice any of these then your roof has algae. It’s common, so don’t worry just yet- we’ll explain more about it.

What is Roof Algae?

Those unsightly black streaks, green/white spots, and mosses are aquatic plants that grow on roofs and thrive in humid climates. How can an aquatic plant grow on a roof, not only when submerged in water?

Algae stains on a roof are blue-green algae called gloeocapsa magma (say that fast 5 times). These aquatic plants are bacteria that spread rapidly in humid conditions when they’re able to feed on the moisture on roofs. When they spread rapidly they can take over a roof, be pulled down by gravity, and create those downward dark stains or streaks. 

Roof algae can also grow and thrive inside a gutter system, creating issues for homeowners. Algae on a roof and inside a gutter aren’t an immediate concern, but it can and eventually will cause issues for homeowners.

What Damage Can Algae Cause?

Gloeocapsa magma grows and spreads fast, quickly taking over your roof and gutter system. Unfortunately, if not treated, it can cause many issues for homeowners that can result in costly repairs.

This aquatic plant can grow and thrive inside a gutter system, especially if it’s untidy. When a gutter system has a clog or blockage, whether, from a buildup of debris or algae, water flow is impeded. Thus, the gutter can’t collect and drain water away from your home. A gutter system that doesn’t function properly can lead to overflowing gutters, flooding, foundation damage, landscape damage, etc.

Aside from leaving unsightly dark streaks on a roof that could potentially deter homebuyers, roof algae can shorten the lifespan of a roof. Because algae need moisture to survive, they’ll spread in excess across a shaded roof. When they spread across the roof, they’ll retain more moisture and settle into the shingles. Algae that’s made its way between the nooks and crannies of a shingled roof will cause them to deteriorate and rot over time.

How can I treat and prevent roof algae?

Knowing the issues of roof algae, let’s discuss how to prevent the spread of it on your roof and in your gutters. You can’t control the weather, moisture, and humidity levels from spreading algae, but you can take some measures to prevent the spread of algae.

As previously mentioned, algae need shade to thrive and spread. You can help prevent the spread by trimming and pruning trees that provide shade over your roof. Exposing your roof to direct sunlight will help your roof dry faster, resulting in less of a chance for algae to thrive. Another bonus to trimming trees around your roof is that there will be a reduction in the number of spores that can settle on your roof.

For gutters, you’ll need to ensure they’re clean to help stop the spread of algae. Cleaning your gutters at least two times a year is ideal, more so if your home is surrounded by trees. Algae need moisture, shade, and debris to thrive – if gutters are untidy, they quickly become a hotspot for algae to grow and spread rapidly. Half-round gutters or open-top gutters often have debris, and mixed with moisture, can cause a single spore to spread up to a roof.

Roof algae is a common issue for homeowners. If you notice streaks or mosses on your roof then it’s best to contact a roofing specialist. It’s best to avoid cleaning agents from home improvement stores as they can cause more damage.

Roof algae is a nuisance to all homeowners and chances are you’ve had some on your roof or have noticed some unsightly streaks on neighbors’ roofs. Although it’s a common issue here in Hampton Roads and Greater Richmond, keeping trees around your home trimmed and keeping your gutter system clean can help eliminate the spread of roof algae. The K-Guard Leaf Free Gutter System has a curved hood that blocks debris from entering the system, eliminating any possibility of algae spreading to your roof as a direct result of an untidy gutter system. K-Guard guarantees clog-free gutters for the life of the home! Make the switch to K-Guard today to better protect your home from drainage issues – contact Carefree Gutter Guard today for a free estimate!