Removing Mold From Roofs Before Your Insurance Carrier Threatens To Cancel Your Homeowners Insurance Policy.
Q: What causes the mold on my roof? How can I get rid of it? How can I keep it from coming back?
A: The black mold-like stains and streaks that appear on roofs, particularly light-colored asphalt shingles, is actually a blue-green algae (Gloeocapsa magma). Commonly found in climates with warm, humid summers, it does no damage to the roofing, but it certainly does looks bad.
You could replace all the roofing with new shingles dark enough to disguise the staining, or with shingles laced with copper granules, which are lethal to algae. But that would only make sense if the shingles were worn out.
Recognizing Exterior House Mold
The tell tale signs of exterior house mold include fuzzy or powdery spots, usually brown, black or green in color, or less commonly in a range of purplish reds. Direct sunlight dries moisture, stopping mildew and weather damage in its tracks, so exterior house mold is most often found on the side of your home that receives the least sun exposure. For most homeowners, this means the northern side. If you see dark spots on an area of your home's exterior that is more exposed to moisture than to light, you have probably discovered mold.
The Good News About Exterior House Mold
Although exterior house mold can be unsightly, it will not do more than cosmetic damage to your home (excluding your roof). In fact, mold serves as a kind of alert system that will warn you about areas of your home's exterior that may be vulnerable to more serious kinds of decay. Where moisture collects, mold will follow, and where mold thrives, rotting will soon occur, especially in vulnerable, porous materials like stucco and wood. By identifying exterior house mold and treating its causes, you can stop structural decay problems before they start.
What To Do If You Spot Mold
When you find exterior house mold, the first step is to thoroughly clean the area, killing the spores before they can reproduce and spread further. Head to your local hardware store and pick up a cleansing agent that combines peroxide, which will exterminate bacteria and spores, with a gentler detergent, which will attack the cosmetic blemish created by the mold. Once you've gotten rid of the mold that is present on your home today, start working on preventing the problem from recurring.
The Primary Causes Of, And Solutions To, Exterior Mold
Mold is a symptom of moisture permeating your home's exterior that usually occurs when there is a combination of excessive wetness, and a vulnerable material, like unsealed or unpainted siding. Just as there are two causes of exterior house mold, there are two ways to prevent mold from growing. One way is to decrease the moisture in the area where mold is growing. The other is to give your home an added layer of protection against the wetness. By using a combination of these two techniques, you can stop exterior house mold from growing and spreading.
Moisture builds up in areas where breezes don't circulate easily, a problem that often occurs if you have landscaping like shrubs or vines close to the side of your house. To prevent outbreaks of exterior house mold, arrange your landscaping so that it won't trap wetness on the sides of your home. If this doesn't do the trick, consider adding a gutter or downspout above the problem area, or building a slight roof overhang to help shield the area from rain.
Q: What are these black specs on the side of my house?
A: Artillery Fungus (aka “Shotgun” Fungus) appears as tiny black specks with a “head,” as we like to call it. It originates from organic mulches and literally shoots itself at 1/10,000 of a horsepower, attaching itself to vinyl, wood, windows, trim, downspouts, your car, or anything else in its’ path. We have seen a slight increase in this fungus over the past few years. If you have ever had artillery fungus on your siding, you know how difficult it is to remove. Unfortunately, our cleaning methods can only remove a minimal amount of artillery fungus. There is no known method currently available to remove artillery fungus 100%. We do recommend as an initial step that you immediately remove the mulch to prevent further damage to your home. This fungus develops in organic mulches. It is usually a greater problem in spring and fall, under cool, moist conditions with a temperature of 50 to 70 degrees. Can this fungus be prevented? For locations plagued with this problem, consider switching to an inorganic mulch such as stone, pea gravel, etc. Or, a yearly addition of fresh mulch, so it completely covers old mulch, may lessen the problem, though it still may reoccur. We recommend complete removal of existing mulch prior to the application of an inorganic mulch, in order to lessen the chance of recurrence. Shotgun Fungus does not grow on cedar, redwood, or cypress, which are rot-resistant woods. Avoid mulches made of wood chips or ground up wood pallets. Stirring up the mulch regularly to keep it dry retards the growth of Shotgun Fungus.