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Union County Roofers: Article About Removing Black Algae Stains

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Asphalt shingle roofs exposed to the humid New Jersey air often have ugly dark streaks discoloring the surface. Though often mistakenly attributed to mold or mildew, the stains are usually caused by blue green algae. Algae is a common roof invader that spreads with airborne spores and thrives in shady environments with plenty of moisture. Blue green algae typically doesn't harm the shingles, but it can be an aesthetic eyesore that hinders the home's curb appeal and resale value. When algae stains become bothersome, homeowners should use the following tips compiled by experienced Union County roofers.

A thorough cleaning can help remove algae stains, at least temporarily. There are several products advertised on the market, but many are harmful to the environment. It's best for homeowners to mix their own solution using one quarter cup of trisodium phosphate, one quart of oxygen bleach and one gallon of water. They should dilute the chemicals together and let them mix for about 20 minutes. A pump garden sprayer can be used for easy treatment application.

Safety comes first, so homeowners should wear durable rubber gloves and eyewear for protection.

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Since bleach can kill some plant species, homeowners may want to cover the surrounding landscaping with plastic tarps and wet down the grass where runoff will occur too. Now, homeowners can apply the bleach solution to the roof. It's recommended that treatment be done on a cloudy, cool day to prevent the liquid from simply evaporating. After it stews for about 15 minutes, the homeowner should rinse off the solution with a garden hose. A pressure washer should not be used because this can cause powerful premature damage to shingles.

This cleaning method is effective, but it won't necessarily keep blue green algae from returning later. Homeowners who continually suffer with algae stains should take preventive measures by having copper flashings and zinc strips installed. Most strips are around six inches wide and fastened to the roof using galvanized nails. When rainwater flows across the metal, it will create a toxic environment that kills algae. If it's time to reroof, homeowners could wisely invest in algae resistant shingles. They cost a few dollars more per square foot, yet keep algae at bay.

Taming the surrounding vegetation can also discourage algae from growing. Homeowners can trim back overhanging trees and foliage to allow more ample sunshine on shady roof sections. Many of these simple tricks will work in minimizing green stains produced by moss too. Inhibiting growth of these spores is key for keeping a beautiful, healthy roof long term.

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