Do It Yourself Roof Stain Removal

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Roofs often become streaked and discolored from an algae called Gloeocapsa magma. It travels through airborne spores and collects on roofs, mainly in humid parts of the country, where the environment is ideal for growth. Learn how to clean these roof stains, and to prevent the algae from returning.

Gather the Tools

  • To remove your roof stains, you will need: cleaner, sprayer, garden hose with sprayer, eye protection, rubber gloves, safety rope, slip-resistant shoes and a ladder. You may also need metal strips and roofing nails for prevention. The crucial part here is safety: slip-resistant shoes and rope.

Clean the Roof

  • To clean your roof, mix up a premixed deck-cleaning solution or a homemade solution in your sprayer. To make a homemade solution, mix some OxiClean, or other oxygen cleaner, with water. Thoroughly wet the roof-stained area. Be extremely careful working on a soapy, wet roof, as it will be very slick. After spraying on the solution, let in sit for 15 minutes, then scrub with a brush or stiff broom. For safety, keep the oxygen-based cleaner solution very weak. Choose a cool day for the work, as you do not want to let the solution dry on the roof. After spraying the entire roof down, immediately use your garden hose to thoroughly rinse it off. Do not spray upwards on the roof, as this can cause the roof to leak. Do not attempt to power-wash the roof stains for the same reason.

Prevent Stains from Resurfacing

  • To prevent the algae from returning, create an environment that is toxic to it with a roll of galvanized roof flashing. A 5 to 6 inch wide roll is ideal. The galvanized flashing will wear down and release small metal particles that will cover your roof and provide a toxic environment for the algae. Install this under the top row of shingles that are fully exposed. Carefully release the self-sealing tab and slide the flashing underneath this row. Nail the flashing to the roof above the self-sealing strip on the shingle to prevent leaks. If you plan to replace your roof soon, prevention is not necessary because modern roofing shingles include 3M Scotch Guard or other particles to prevent the algae from collecting and growing on your roof.

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