What I'm Seeing Now

head_left_image

Roof Algae, Before And After Treatment

This is a post about roof algae, before and after treatment.

Over two years ago I wrote a blog post about the black algae that plagues so many shingled roofs.  Technically this algae is called Gloeocapsa magma.  In the post I published a formula to spray on it to hopefully eradicate the algae.

This is an aggressive algae, which if allowed to grow unchecked can become really difficult to get rid of.  The two lower photos of the following post are of my roof:   Black algae

This algae growth has become a huge problem in our area.  I did not get dinged by the HOA until this fall when, apparently, virtually everyone in my neighborhood did!  Who knows about everyone else, but I was given until October 31 to correct my roof.

In the past two years I had experimented with formulas to get rid of it.  The formula that I published in that post worked only MINIMALLY!  Purchasing three other solutions on line, all GUARANTEED to eliminate the algae was unsuccessful too.

Since my post two years ago the problem had gotten MUCH WORSE.

So this fall I experimented with my original formula.  Here is the result.  The HOA's photos before treatment, and my photo October 21.  There are only two here.

Yesterday's photo was an attempt to mimic the association photo for comparison.  The areas around and under the dormer were the worst on the roof.  I had previously sprayed my new formula on the lower half of that section of roof to see if it worked.  And it did.  These areas around the dormer were very bad, and very solidly black.  This was so, I think, because that is the section of roof with the most slant, and therefore it is the most oblique to the sun.  It took TWO applications of formula.

Again, my photo mimics theirs.  It came out excellently!  This, and the middle section of the roof, only took one application.  There was a lot of staining, but it wasn't as caked and fully developed as the areas near the dormer.

So, what's the formula?

In a 5 gallon bucket mix:

1 Cup TSP Substitute (use the substitute powder because it is more environmentally friendly.  The TSP helps the chlorine to stick to and kill the algae.  I mixed it well in a quart of hot water to melt it before adding it to the solution.  I bought it at Lowe's in a quart carton for $11)
1 Gallon of Water
3.5 Gallons of Clorox
Spray to cover completely over the entire roof surface, but hit the dark areas very, very well.
Rinse very well!

Near the dormer I let the first application sit for five hours before rinsing it.  It worked about 95%.  We hit it again when we did the other two sections of roof.  This second application over the whole roof stayed overnight before rinsing in the morning.

I also sprayed my grass with lots of water before and after the rinsing.  And when the rinse water splashed from the downspout it was very dark with muck.

IT WORKED!

I did my whole roof for about $35.  There is a company in the area doing the same thing but for my roof they charge many hundreds of dollars.  AND, they do not give a guarantee as to how long the job will last! 

My recommendation:  even if you hire a handy man to climb up and spray the roof, this formula is very cheap.  And if it worked on my roof, on which the algae was very developed, it should work on yours!  Good luck!  Again, in severe cases two applications may be necessary.  But rinse well!

 


Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 36 commentsJay Markanich • October 22 2012 02:28AM

Comments

Morning Jay you need to get this to someone and market it.  You should be able to make a lot of cash on the venture but I suspect that is not your style.  thanks for the post and congrats on the feature.  It is well deserved.

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty AR LLC) over 6 years ago

Thanks James.  And again, I didn't know it was featured until reading this!  Not much to market really.

Hey, how about "Handy Roof In A Can?"

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

You've got a really creative mind and your ideas should be put into use by many homeowners who have been problematic about algae problems in their roofs. Congrats on the feature too!

Posted by Bruno & Noel Tarquinii, www.search4homes.us over 6 years ago

Jay, You answered my question about the impact of the clorox on the plants.  Rinse heavily.  I'd be afraid the clorox would whack our flowers without that heavy dilution rinse.  Any negative impact to deck stain or stone sealants?

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) over 6 years ago

Well I'm glad you were able to solve that and, yes you did save a lot of money.  Between this and you hardwood floors, you've saved a ton.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 6 years ago

Thanks Bruno.  Yes, it's a curse, and I am an experimenter.

Yes, Bliz, heavily.  My grass is okay, and I know because the first treatment was 10 days ago and there are no ill effects.  This was in front, and it all discharged onto the grass, so I don't know about the rest.  I would expect it's fine on decks and stone.  But still, I would rinse anything.

Debbie - ha!  That's not all I've done around here!  For sure, I'm worth my weight in salt.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

These crazy HOA's I swear. I got a violation notice for algae on my mailbox! Anyway, the growth cannot be good for the life of the shingle so I suppose it's good to get it off of there anyway. On a sad note, I have seen people pressure washing their shingles.... and blowing off half of the lifespan at the same time!

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) over 6 years ago

This is great advice... thanks

Posted by Judy Greenberg, Coldwell Banker - Buffalo Grove - Long Grove Homes (Coldwell Banker Long Grove) over 6 years ago

  Sounds like a successful recipe.....not an issue we have here...more likely ice dams or wind storms that will be the plague of roofs in our area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 6 years ago

Jay, thanks for the info. I thought it was just dirt from the trees on my roof. Thanks again.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA over 6 years ago

Hi Jay,

I will be brief more so than Sally and David's post. LOL

Will the homeowners association let you install zinc trips at the ridge line of your home?

After the cleaning of the roof the zinc will keep the algae from coming back. 

Just a thought.

Have a great day in Bristow my friend.

Best, Clint McKie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) over 6 years ago

Good morning Jay,

The algae issue use to be non-existent here, but has become a growing problem.  I am going to share your formula for anyone brave enough to climb on their roof (here in Texas, some roof pitches are too scary to tackle!)

Posted by Lisa Von Domek, ....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless! (Lisa Von Domek Team) over 6 years ago

Amazing bit of data about a life source wanting to well...live and on the roof no less...thank you

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) over 6 years ago

Jay, the algae thing is primarilly "cosmetic" is it not?

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 6 years ago

I like your recipe.  I haed a listing once with the same problem.  The homeowner tried to alleviate it with a commercially bought product which did not seem to work all that well.  Not a huge problem in my area, but I am going to bookmark this and share.

Posted by Gary Frimann, CRS, GRI, REALTOR and Broker (Eagle Ridge Realty / Signature Homes & Estates) over 6 years ago

Holy cow, that is great.  I'm glad this can be taken care of, thanks for sharing with all of us.

Posted by Shane Barker (Amerifirst Financial, INC.) over 6 years ago

Oh my!!! You just read my mind. I need to do something with our roof... Another weekend project for my hubby :)

Thank you.

Posted by Tatyana Makarov, Your Greater Hartford Area Realtor (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 6 years ago

Jay -- now that the rainy season has really started, we would be hard pressed to have such an extended amount of time to allow it to soak into the algae.  Thanks for the experimentation and recipe.

Posted by Steven Cook (No Longer Processing Mortgages.) over 6 years ago

Good evening Jay. Sounds like you need to market your mixture. Roof algae can be stubborn. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

Posted by Randy Ostrander, Real Estate Broker, Serving Big Rapids and West Central MI (Lake and Lodge Realty LLC ) over 6 years ago

Fred - when they speak, we have to listen!  Shame on you for a mossy mailbox...

Thanks Judy.  Hope you can use it!

S&D - that may be true!  I hear the algae is moving northward and may arrive in the next few years.

Mike - spore 'tis.  The trees can discharge a tar-like substance too.  And it's acidic if they are oaks.

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

I've looked into those Clint - zinc and copper - a couple of years ago.  They come in various widths.  But, according to what I can find out (and talking with a roofer friend) when the strip is exposed 6" it only keeps things clean down about 7'.  When I asked the association if I could install three strips on my roof they said no.

Lisa - it's coming and it's ALIIIIIIIVE!

Richie - it is truly living and very aggressive!  Now I have to see how long my "treatment" lasts!

Charlie - 'tis cosmetic, but when every roof in the neighborhood looks bad and the HOA speaks, the HOA's demand becomes code.  They dinged people a couple of years ago for fading plastic shutters! They sometimes demand pristinicity!  And sometimes it's hard to comply!

That algae stain on the roof in your photo looks amazingly like, well, like my first Shadowy internet date.  But, like you say, cosmetic.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

I tried three of those formulas, Gary, all "guaranteed" to work.  NOPE!

Me too Shane.  I was running out of formula ideas.

Tatyana - tell him that as an all-seeing mentalist I see a lot of fun in his future.

Steven - it's been a long time coming!  When you spray it on, let it soak in!

Randy - but when I reveal the contents, and people realized they were paying me big bucks for, well, Clorox, well, they would be upset!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Jay, me thinks there are all kinds of terrorists :)  Codifying safety is one thing but codifying esthetics?  I think I would be tempted to tell the HOA what they could do with their algae stains:)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 6 years ago

Shadow Not Algae - they have the power to fine people who do not comply.  The "by-laws" say they can fine people $10 to $50/day if they don't comply.  I don't know how they collect, perhaps liens.

One section of my back fence warped and they dinged me.

Terrorists for sure.  I call them Brown Shirts.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Jay, You should of grabbed some algae samples and planted on them on the HOA officers ; )

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Is this the SAME black stuff that grows on my door, sidewalks and porch

If so, got a "solution" -- really no pun intended for that

Posted by Chuck Ward Local Video Marketing, SMS Marketing, Google Plus Local Pages (Florida Mobile Fusion Mobile, Marketing, Local SEO) over 6 years ago

Don - or drawn on their office walls with it, like bad guys do with blood...

Wow, it grows on a door down there Chuck?  Yikes!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

I agree it is unsightly, but not detrimental. I have a much worse algae / moss problem with my roof. I may give it a try.

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 6 years ago

Perfect for Halloween!

Posted by Lisa Von Domek, ....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless! (Lisa Von Domek Team) over 6 years ago

Try it Jim.  A couple of spots needed two tries on my roof.

Lisa - it makes a lot of black make up for people who might need it!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Good information.  I will pass this along.

Posted by Robert Sole (REM Inspections LLC) over 6 years ago

Great Robert!  It worked for me!  And I had a serious problem.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Thanks Jay always great information to pass along to the folks and helps when it comes from an expert.

Posted by Charles Stallions, 800-309-3414 - Pensacola, Pace or Gulf Breeze, Fl. (Charles Stallions Real Estate Services ) over 6 years ago

Thanks Charles.  It's not rocket science, but it worked for me!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Great post to put in my archives. When we have a really really damp year we get some of this too. Thanks!

Posted by Cynthia Larsen, Independent Broker In Sonoma County, CA over 6 years ago

Well, try it Cynthia.  It worked for me!  My roof was in severe shape.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

This blog does not allow anonymous comments