How Do Plants Damage Your Roof?

Plants Damage Your Roof

Besides heavy snow and high velocity winds, can plants damage your roof as well? While vegetation itself does not necessarily harm shingles, moss and algae mimic sponges and retain levels of moisture that will contribute to the breakdown of roofing materials. Learn how plants grow on roofs and what homeowners can do to control and limit the harmful effects.

Moss Development

Moss is a copious plant sending off wind-driven airborne spores that make their way onto roof surfaces. Given enough water and shade, moss can develop on asphalt shingles. For this reason, homes with minimal sunlight and surrounding heavy foliage incur the most moss growth. Moss retains water, which seeps through the spaces in the shingles, penetrating the roof deck. Over time, mold will develop and subsequent rot will destroy the structure of the home’s roof, creating a safety hazard and unwanted early roof replacement. Plants growing in between shingles can also cause buckling, leaving the sections at risk of tear-off in the wind.

Prevent Growth of Roof Vegetation

The first step for property owners with significant moss growth on their roof is to increase the amount of shingle sunlight exposure and trim overhanging tree branches.

Leaf debris should be promptly removed from the roof’s surface. Homeowners will benefit from keeping the gutters clean so water flows away from the roof as quickly as possible, with no blockages.

To reduce the chance of moss growth, professional roofers can install zinc strips close to the peak. The six inch wide strips are inserted underneath the top level of shingles with a few inches exposed to the elements. When rainwater hits, zinc, a natural moss killer, runs off the strip and down the slope of the roof, wiping out the moss and developing spores. It is recommended that homeowners contact the roofing manufacturer and original roofing installer to ensure zinc strip installation will not have an adverse effect on the roofing warranty.

Before settling on replacement roof materials, investigate moss-resistant asphalt shingle options. Homeowners may also benefit from a metal roof if the property is in a heavily wooded area with not much direct sunlight.

Hire Professional Roof Cleaning

Using specialized roof rakes, professionals will clear all plant growth from the roof. No pressure washers will be used, as high-powered sprays can cause additional damage, but a gentle flow of water may be utilized to fully wipe all moss particles from sight.

Certified roofers familiar with warranty limitations and shingle properties can recommend and apply effective plant removal treatments that will remove moss to the satisfaction of the homeowner without incurring any further harm to the roofing materials.

For more information on how plants damage your roof and steps you can take to eliminate moss and other vegetative growth, contact Knockout Roofing today.