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Is the roof that protects your building really hurting your building instead?

Is the roof that protects your building really hurting your building instead?

Each spring a common sight around Long Island are homes and other buildings being power washed.

The results are fresh looking exteriors that are free of dirt and grime that is thrown in the air when walkways are shoveled and streets are plowed.  In many cases, a dark greenish/black stain that appears with the presence of mildew, algae and moss.  But once the exterior walls of the buildings are cleaned, the property owners believe the job is done.  But what about the same greenish/black stains on the roof?

The black patches and streaks on most roofs are caused by bacteria called Gleocapsa Magma. This bacterium is responsible for most of the roof staining in the United States.  Fungus and other organisms such as mildew, algae, moss, and lichens are additional threats that can develop due to the same conditions that breed Gleocapsa Magma.  For these organic contaminates to develop and thrive, moisture and warm conditions need to be present.  Because the roof of your home or building enjoys more direct sunlight than the rest of the structure and moisture may have built up in the porous roof tiles on your home or in standing water on flat roofs (such as on apartment buildings and commercial properties), your structure may not be as healthy as you would like to think

Algae, mold, mildew, bacteria, and fungus all contain spores that can aggravate allergies and compromise respiratory health. When these organisms grow unchecked on roofs and exterior surfaces, their spores have easy access to homes and buildings. They find their way through roof vents, ride in on wind or on the coats of pets, and get tracked in by feet.  The end result is that family members, employees and customers who visit homes and businesses with un-cleaned roofs could suffer serious health issues and if any of these people have compromised health due to disabilities, the health risks could be worse

Additionally, It is widely accepted by experts that these organic contaminates are harmful to roofs.  Bacteria and organism buildup on shingle roofs also causes more heat absorption, which dries out the shingles and ages the petroleum asphalt layer.  This is the cause of shingle curling, becoming an additional cause of deterioration.  As almost all forms of algae, fungus, mildew, and lichen have filament root systems, as they grow into surfaces they create cracks and fissures.  Rain, moisture, heat, and dry air access the cracks during warmer weather, leading to further deterioration and breakdown of the surface materials.

Roofs that are darkened by bacteria and organisms absorb more heat than clean, lighter roofs that reflect the sun. A dark, heat-absorbing roof means an air conditioning system that will have to run longer to keep a home comfortable. This requires energy, which costs money. For the health of your family, employees & customers as well as the health of your residential & commercial budgets, having your roof cleaned on a yearly basis makes sense.