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Why you should get your house washed and roof cleaned yearly in the south

In Memphis we have a very warm and moist climate for the majority of the year. This type of environment is perfect for growing plants as we all know, corn, cotton and soybeans all grow well around here. What also grows well is other types of organic growth that can be harmful and unseemly around your house or business. We are talking about gloeocapsa magma, better known as blue algae along with all types of mold, mildew and ,the roof destroyer, moss and lichen.

How is organic growth effecting my home?

Other than making a home look dirty with green or black growth around the bottom, in the eaves, shaded areas and on the north facing sides of most homes it can also wreak havoc on the brick, mortar, and shingles of roofs along with accelerating oxidation on vinyl and painted siding. This usually starts with blue algae and mildew growth which gets nutrients from the limestone in your shingled roof. This creates and promotes a perfect environment for moss and lichen to start growing and that’s where your problems get worse since these plants have a root system that will actually grow into your home and can, over time cause significant damage.

3 Reasons to get a yearly house wash

The first reason to have your home pressure washed or soft washed every year is pretty obvious, it just looks better. Keeping the exterior of your home cleaned keeps the entire home looking new longer.

Secondly we are helping protect the home. Leaks can actually occur after moss has found its way into the mortar between bricks which can result in costly repairs. With vinyl and painted surfaces the algae growth can cause oxidation which discolors and actually starts to break down the vinyl over time by taking the protective layer off of the top.

Lastly, resale value and overall property values have been proven to increase with a yearly house wash. You spend a lot of money painting and landscaping your home only to have the sore thumb of organic growth sticking right out there at you. Which is why we work closely with several realtors in the Memphis area when they have homes going on the market whether for sale or rent.

How is organic growth effecting my roof?

Gloeocapsa magma or blue algae is common throughout humid areas in the world. Memphis is one of those areas as well as the rest of the south. This is the start of degradation to your roof which happens in phases. The first noticeable phase is a light “streaking” appearance, which means the algae is starting to take hold. This is followed by the second phase or what we describe as a “tiger striping” or black streaks on your roof. These are clustered cells of the algae of your roof and that is when they become a real problem because they are feeding off the limestone granules embedded inside the shingles, constantly degrading them. The third stage or as we call it the “matting” stage is when your roof has the appearance of being black when, actually it is concentric layers of mucilage which coats the roof. Finally you get to the “full grown” phase of growth and that is when you will notice moss start under the shingle flap and grow outward along with lichen. Both of these have roots and expedite the wear of a roof exponentially.

3 Reasons to get a yearly roof cleaning.

Again we start with the obvious and that is appearance. These streaks and darkening of the roof can and will affect the resale and property values of a roof. The average potential buyer will take one look at this and assume a new roof will be an early expense for them.

Secondly is the longevity of your roof. Yearly roof cleanings will increase the life of your roof and should be routine maintenance. Preventing organic materials from degrading the limestone and actually penetrating the shingles will save you money in the long run avoiding costly repairs and new roof installation. If you want those shingles to last 20 years or longer then a yearly roof cleaning is a must.

Lastly, some insurance adjusters and companies will require that your roof is cleaned before they will inspect or cover you. We see this all the time where home owners can’t even get insured until their roof has been properly cleaned.

Who should clean my house and roof?

We at Midtown Power Washers recommend going with an established company with good rapport. This company would be insured and well educated on the correct process of soft washing using low pressure to ensure no harm is done to the home or surrounding landscaping. Different ratios of sodium hypochlorite will need to be used depending on the substrate and amount of growth, this takes knowledge and experience. For example a roof that is in the 4th phase of growth usually takes 4-5% sodium hypochlorite mix whereas vinyl siding may only need a .75% mix. A company with the above attributes with have a soft wash system that is able to be metered to those exact percentages to give the proper concentration depending on the substrate. Above all else never let someone go to town on your home with a pressure washer. Chemically cleaning is the only proper way to eliminate the growth and keep the asphalt granules on your roof. We think of it like a cancer and if you don’t kill all of the cells then it can and will quickly return, a soft washing with sodium hypochlorite is the Roofers Association of America’s recommended procedure for cleaning. In other words let a trained professional take care of your most expensive investment, your home.

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