Many homeowners come in contact with or know the headache that comes from moss growing on their rooftops. New Jersey homeowners can be extremely sensitive to this invasive plant. Receiving over 47 inches of rainfall in an average year, the moist climate of New Jersey can be a breeding ground for moss growth and, therefore, the trouble it can cause to roofs.
All homeowners desire to maintain a functional and secure household, so any plants, debris, or elements that threaten a roof’s integrity become a pest. Moss is no different. However, moss does not need to be a headache for New Jersey homeowners. Knowing how to properly clean your roof of moss and prevent further growth in the future can help save the lifespan of your roof and your home as well.
Why Does My Roof Grow Moss?
So why and how does moss grow on your roof anyway? Moss is a plant that can grow on nearly every surface type; it simply loves dark, damp areas. The air becomes filled with moss spores from fully-grown moss which lands on your roof. Then shade and moisture help the moss begin to grow and spread across your roof’s surface.
As wind leads particles to your roof and leaves or twigs fall onto its structure, the debris and other organic materials on your roof give moss the sugar and nutrients it needs to survive and grow.
Shaded areas where the sun cannot evaporate all of the moisture on your roof provides the perfect region for moss to flourish. It typically thrives on the north-facing sections of your roof, which is the shadiest and dampest region.
The Negative Side Effects of Moss
While moss may appear to be a seemingly unthreatening plant, moss truly can cause severe damage to a home. Like most plants, moss grows roots, and as the moss on your roof grows so does its root system, which can burrow under your home’s shingles, lifting them and damaging your roof.
As an extremely moisture-absorbent plant, moss growing on a roof or burrowing itself below shingles can cause excess moisture to sit atop your roof and therefore damage the roof and the existing structure below with mold and rot.
How to Remove Moss
Removing moss requires both killing the already existing moss and a physical removal process. Using harsh, rough movements to clear moss off your shingles can actually cause damage to your roof. Killing the moss with a moss removal agent or a 50/50 mixture of water and bleach can make the physical removal less labor-intensive and less likely to cause damage.
Do not use a pressure washer to remove moss from your rooftop. The powerful spray of a pressure washer can cause the shingles on your roof to raise or warp and can cause more damage.
Spray the moss removal agent over the moss with a manual pump garden sprayer, and allow the agent to kill the moss for 15 minutes or more. Once it has died, which should be indicated by the moss changing from a vibrant green to a dull brown color, scrap the dead moss from the rooftop and hose the remaining area down to remove any residue and agent lingering on the roof.
If the moss-covered portion of your roof rests above any plants, consider covering them with a tarp to help prevent the bleach or moss-killing agent from harming them as well.
Take the proper safety precautions for yourself as well. A damp roof can be slippery and dangerous; you should utilize a safety harness or anchors to help prevent you from falling. However, the easiest and safest solution is to call in a professional.
Should You Hire a Roofing Contractor?
Hiring a roofing contractor to remove moss can prove more beneficial than a DIY removal process. Climbing onto any roof with a slope or moisture can be unsafe, and a professional knows what measure to use to ensure safety and precision. Not to mention that any damage the moss may have caused to your roof will be much more noticeable to a professional, and that professional can easily repair your roof before further damage occurs.
While many believe hiring a contractor can be costly, the safety risks and damage that goes unnoticed can be far costlier in the long run. A good roofing contractor can remove moss and complete a roof repair consultation to keep it in top shape. Let a professional catch damage that is hard to find and fix it before larger problems occur.
How to Prevent Moss
To prevent moss from growing on your rooftop, remember that moss is attracted to damp and shaded areas. Eliminating either of these items will help reduce moss growth.
Trim tree branches away from your roof to eliminate shading, as any overhang from branches will inevitably shed sticks, leaves, and seeds onto your roof. Remember to remove the twigs and other debris from your rooftop. You should also be sure to clear your gutters from any gunk that can collect in them. Clogged gutters can lead to a buildup of water, which leads to more mold growth.
Zinc and copper are excellent elements for keeping moss growth at bay. By installing zinc or copper flashing strips under you shingles, rainwater will cause a layer of these metals to roll across your roof and prevent or kill unsightly moss growth. Having a professional nail the flashing under the shingles will prevent damage from occurring to the shingle themselves.
Take Back Control of Your Roof
Don’t wait for moss to damage your roof. It’s time to take actions. American Home Contractors is ready to help remove and prevent that pesky moss. Schedule a free roofing consultation with us today. Let us ensure your roof remains in top shape for protecting your home from the elements. Call us at (908) 771-0123 to get started.