Roof Cleaning & Roof Moss Removal
A roof cleaning & roof moss removal will not only improve your roof’s appearance and extend its life – it can also prevent insurance cancellation!
2018 was a sopping wet mess here in Connecticut.
Spring. Summer. Fall. All of it.
But especially the summer.
Yeesh, what a dismal and miserable few months!
We had such grand plans for our gardens that summer, but we scuttled most of those plans because our back yard felt like a Mississippi swamp, and when it wasn’t raining, the humidity withered our desire to do anything outside. Instead of yard work, we stayed inside in a more temperate, air-conditioned climate.
We had a brand new deck, but who wants to sit in a sauna? Hey, at least we enjoyed looking at it from the family room!
While I groused about our unused deck and the dozen or so garden and landscaping projects that would never be started (let alone finished) another problem was silently growing right over my head – an insidious infection that could threaten the life of our roof.
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And I had no idea it was there.
Yeah, yeah, I know – I should look up more often. I’m embarrassed to say that with all of my DIY knowledge and skill that I’ve acquired over the last 6 years – from electrical work to HVAC repair, from plumbing to drywalling – the roof is the one place I’d just completely overlooked.
In fact, I didn’t realize the extent of the problem until this very spring!
Why is roof moss bad?
So, roof moss – sounds innocent enough, right?
Isn’t it what witches and ogres in the Enchanted Forest use for roofing material?
How bad can it be?
Spoiler alert – bad enough to have your homeowner’s insurance cancelled.
Yep, that bad.
If there’s one thing insurance companies are good at it’s covering their asses against avoidable claims.
Left unchecked, roof moss will eventually degrade the integrity of shingles until they’re no longer capable of protecting your multi-hundred thousand dollar investment.
The two most hated words in the insurance world: water damage.
So what’s a poor, misunderstood insurance company to do?
Well for one, they can send inspectors around to look at the roofs of those they insure.
They don’t need an appointment.
In fact, the don’t need to tell you at all.
They can just drive by and have a looksy.
If they see that your roof is doubling as a forest floor, the red flags will fly. You’ve just become a huge liability for them.
Their next step is likely a written mandate to have your roof professionally cleaned or face termination of your policy.
Fortunately, that did not happen in our case.
Roof Cleaning & Roof Moss Removal
Handan and I decided to get our roof cleaned for aesthetic reasons. It was only later that I learned the slippery slope we were on.
You see, I finally started to notice our roof this spring.
And by that, I of course mean that Handan started to bitch about its grotesque appearance, and that drew my eyeballs upward.
We didn’t just have moss. We also had lichen!
I guess I just assumed those white spots were bird crap that would eventually get washed away in the rain.
Nope. Lichen. Moss’s hardscrabble distant cousin.
But wait! There’s more!
Yep. Algae. But not just the green kind!
Nope. See that area that looks wet in the pictures above and below? That’s also algae that’s developed a hard, dark outer coating – black algae!
My roof was freaking petri dish!
Is roof moss removal a DIY project?
I went online to see how I could fix this situation.
It was during this research that I learned just how insidious and dangerous roof moss could be.
And it was during this research that I concluded that there was no way I’d be doing a roof of this size by myself.
You see, I was thinking I could just hop on up there with a power washer and be done with it in a couple of hours. How I’d get my chubby old ass up there and around, I had no idea. I was a roofer for a summer right out of college, so I figured I still had some roof-walkin’ skills. Sometimes my brain still thinks my body can do the things it did half a lifetime ago.
Ah, ignorance. Such bliss until reality intrudes.
Turns out that power washing asphalt shingles ranks among the more stupid things a homeowner can do to his or her investment.
Folks, we DIY whenever possible, but there are some jobs that should be left to the professionals.
Our deck was one such job.
A new front walkway we just had installed is another (the pics in this post were taken before the new walk).
And roof cleaning and roof moss removal is one as well.
All three can be DIY’d, but as we saw with our old walkway (that was either DIY’d or installed by an incompetent pro), saving a few bucks up front can lead to a real pile of crap down the road.
Finding someone to clean our roof
Here’s the part where I got lucky.
I was expecting to find a handful of roof cleaning companies sprinkled throughout the state. I’d then need to call each one, set up an appointment for an estimate and then spend the next couple of weeks waiting for those appointments and comparing prices.
But what I found was that we had a roof cleaning company here in Glastonbury.
And not just any company.
By the looks of them and according to the reviews and testimonials, these guys were like the Avengers of roof cleaning and roof moss removal (without all the infighting and civil war, of course).
I liked the idea of a Glastonbury company. If something went wrong, I knew exactly where to find them.
They called themselves Safe Roof Cleaning, LLC, and they promised and guaranteed precisely what I needed: a clean, moss-free roof with a 5-year guarantee against regrowth.
Bonus for me, they also offer a siding and gutter wash – both of which we sorely needed as well.
They came out and gave an estimate which was in line with what I was expecting, so we agreed to their terms that same day.
Roof cleaning and roof moss removal – how it’s done
The day of our roof cleaning was a drizzly one, but that didn’t stop the Safe Roof Cleaning crew.
Our two-man crew got busy right away. They first attached large plastic bags to the ends of the downspouts. These bags would collect debris and contaminated water.
Then one of the guys scurried up the ladder and began blasting god-knows-how-many years of crud from the gutters.
Some areas were cruddier than others…
The bags did their job. Don’t judge my fence slime. I’ll get around to power washing it real soon. Promise.
After cleaning out the gutters, he started spraying the solution that would kill all the inhabitants of my rooftop petri dish. Meanwhile, his crewmate kept a constant spray of water on the vegetation below to prevent our shrubs from getting killed.
They even cleaned the shed roof!
I walked back around front to have a look at the roof. The spray had already killed the moss. Check out the color change!
After cleaning the roof, they washed the siding and the gutters.
Now, here’s how the moss and lichen removal goes: the spray kills it all almost immediately, but it’s still firmly rooted to the shingles. Over time, the dead moss, lichen and algae dry, the roots become brittle, and all of the crap on the roof starts to blow away in the wind or wash away in the rain.
This doesn’t happen overnight.
It’s a 2-3 month process (and sometimes slightly longer) – it depends a lot on the weather!
But eventually and certainly, the dead stuff will go away.
Ours took about 4 months to almost fully clear (there are still of few small spots of dead lichen that haven’t released yet), but that doesn’t mean it didn’t look 1000% better the next day! The algae streaks were gone right away, and the rest improved over the summer.
Let’s have a look.
One month after our roof cleaning and roof moss removal
Still a fair amount of moss, but at least it’s dead!
All that algae over the garage is gone, with just a tiny hint of staining from where the black algae was.
Three months after our roof cleaning and roof moss removal
Four months after our roof cleaning and roof moss removal
Our roof looks new again even though it’s over 20 years old.
Having the roof professionally cleaned is one of the best home improvement decisions we’ve made. It was money well spent, and now I’m confident we can get many more years from this roof.
I encourage all of you to go outside your house and look up. What do you see? Do you have moss? Lichen? Algae?
If so, I strongly advise you to get your roof cleaned.
It’s the perfect time of year to get it done, so your house will be looking its best come spring.
Maybe you want to tackle it yourself? That’s up to you. If I had a smaller roof, I might be inclined to do so.
But if you’d rather leave it to the pros, just give a quick Google search, and you’ll find what you’re looking for.
And for our readers in Connecticut (or maybe just over the MA border), I urge you to consider Safe Roof Cleaning, LLC.
Since we got our roof cleaned and our roof moss removed, I’ve gotten to know the owner, Josh Scavetta, and I can vouch for the professionalism of his operation.
His crew is knowledgeable, experienced, friendly, and they get the job done right.
If you do decide to go with Josh and his team, please tell them The Navage Patch sent you. He’ll be glad to hear it!
Wow! So much better than before. Happy to say our roof is good. We have professionals come in yearly to power wash the outside, patio, driveway and sidewalks. What a difference it makes. Even being done on a yearly basis it’s amazing how crappy things will become. And living outside Pittsburgh we have the same wet, hot, humid fungus growing weather. Your house and surround area is beautiful. And now it’s clean too.
Thanks, Barb! Isn’t it incredible how fast nature takes over when we’re not paying attention!
Nice one Greg.
Fortunately we have a Concrete tile Roof on our Bungalow in “Old England” (East Kent) so although we have just had the same kind of Summer as yours, The Birds help themselves to the Moss and the Bugs, although I do end up with a Deck with lots of debris all over it, but the Birds are beautiful and doing a great job. We do have to have Gutter Guards in place so they need cleaning.
That’s a lovely “New England” Home you have there.
Thank you, Vince! Oh, it must be nice not to have to worry about your roof, and I bet it looks very quaint!
The roof & siding look great. I too don’t look up that much, except when backing out of the driveway. We once had the gutters cleaned 5 years ago. Last year we had a gutter co. fix a section of loose gutter, but he said they were clean! (after 5 yr.?) After your experience, I will definitely look at our roof more, now if we can get a dry weekend, get our poor deck done.
Thanks for all your posts.
Thank you, Michele! Funny how we can look at our houses every day but miss so much, LOL!
How did you get up so high to get those aerial views of the roof?
Long arms. 😀
Just kidding. I used a drone!
How fun to have a drone to check out your roof!! I need to call a friend with a drone and ask him to bring it over for a look…or maybe buy a drone myself!! I’ve been looking at them…what kind do you have? You roof and siding look fabulous now!
Hi Susan, I have a DJI Phantom 3 Pro. Unfortunately, as I was filming our new walkway installation, a wind gust blew it into an oak tree and it crashed on our driveway. Now it’s a paperweight. Need to send it in to be fixed!
Yep, stay off of the roof! We would all miss your DIY Projects if you got hurt falling on your keester, or head. Great info.
A picture of the top of your abode using the drone was fabulous (jealous), but several pics, you are just bragging! LOL. Gorgeous house and yard!
LOL, thank you, Jennifer! That drone has been great for house shots – too bad I crashed it and need to get it repaired! Ooops! 🙁
Very informative post. I had a metal roof put on the main part of my house years ago but delayed putting it on the addition, figuring I’d wait till the shingles were old. Well, I’m growing lichens now. Think it’s getting to be time to do the addition. I’m too old for roof raking and the thundering noise of hearing the snow avalanche off the roof (in Maine!) is music to my ears!
Thank you, Kathy! I think a metal roof in a cold climate is a great idea! Must be the best sound ever to hear it all come off at once! 🙂
You have a beautiful home. The cleaned roof makes the home look brand new. Here on the west coast (I live in Oregon), your home would be prohibitively expensive. Thank you for your interesting articles.
Thank you so much, Cynthia! Oh, here in CT, real estate isn’t like it is out west. Oregon is beautiful. Traveled there on business many times in the 00s. 🙂
What a gorgeous house! My unit is probably only as big as your deck and pool area combined. But the difference that wash made! Amazing. It really does look like new! There’s kind of an odd satisfaction in those pictures of the dirt and gunk sluicing off the shingles.
Thanks, Jay! Oh yeah, watching all that crud come off the roof was totally satisfying!
Roof cleaning is a pretty simple process. I always wondered why some providers don’t just rinse the roof after the solution has done its thing. Very easy with garden hose pressure. I rinse every roof for instant results.
I was reading your blog and found that you can also use roof moss removal to improve the appearance of the roof. This will not only extend its life but prevent insurance cancellation! Do you have any tips for people who want to clean their roofs?