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Is that Black Stuff on My Roof Black Algae?

Is that Black Stuff on My Roof Black Algae?

black algae or mold on the ceiling

If you are worried about those unsightly black streaks on your roof, you should be. It is most likely algae! Algae growth can dramatically decrease the life expectancy of your roof.

Black Algae is the Problem

Black algae are single-celled organisms that grow in large colonies. They contain chlorophyll like other algae, but they also contain compounds that mask the green color. Their formation on roofs is a common issue in our Houston climate. The colony thrives in warm and humid climates, making it a frequent problem for homeowners in the area. Black algae, also known as gloeocapsa magma, appears as dark stains or streaks on roofs, particularly on asphalt shingles.

This type of algae is not just unsightly but can also lead to damage if left untreated. It feeds on the limestone filler commonly found in asphalt shingles, gradually breaking down the roof’s integrity over time. By eating away at your shingles, it removes the first line of defense against the sun’s harmful UV rays. Algae growth can take 5-10 years off the life expectancy of your roof shingles.

Algae Creates More Problems

As the algae spreads, it retains moisture and promotes the growth of other organisms like moss and lichen, exacerbating the problem.

  • Moss: Mosses are non-flowering plants that produce spores and have stems and leaves, but don’t have true roots. Mosses are tough, adaptive, and some mosses have even been known to survive temperatures of over 200º F (100ºC).
  • Lichen: Lichens are a complex life form that is a symbiotic partnership of two separate organisms, a fungus, and an alga. The dominant partner is the fungus. Fungi do not contain chlorophyll or any other means of producing their own food, so they rely on other organisms for nutrition. Fungi are known for their role in the decomposition of organic matter.


Other Problems: In addition to black algae, moss, and lichen, Houston roofs can accumulate other types of debris that require cleaning such as fallen leaves and branches. These can accumulate in roof valleys and gutters, leading to deterioration, clogs, and potential water damage. Also, Houston’s frequent thunderstorms can deposit dirt, dust, and pollen on roofs, diminishing their appearance and potentially hindering their performance.

No Mess Gutters & Roofing Knows How to Solve the Problem

As experts on all things roof related, we know how to solve this problem. You can rely on us to provide tried and true cures for black algae damage and other common roof issues.

Roof Rejuvenation

No Mess Gutters & Roofing has found customers love roof rejuvenation as a cost-effective way to extend the lifespan of their roof. The general lifespan of a roof is between 15-30 years, depending on materials and other factors like black algae damage.

Roof rejuvenation is the process of restoring the look and functionality of an aging roof. As we have discussed, over the years your roof can become weathered and worn-looking with damage to the shingles, tiles, or other materials that make up the roof structure. Rejuvenating a roof can help to extend its lifespan, prevent leaks, and enhance the curb appeal of a property.

Instead of a roof replacement, roof rejuvenation applies a new protective sealant over a roof we have thoroughly cleaned and repaired. We will clean away all algae, moss, and lichen as well as any other accumulated debris, and repair or replace any damaged materials.  Once your roof is prepared, a special coating is applied to protect the roof from future damage and to improve its energy efficiency.

This protective sealant helps prevent water damage, UV damage, and other types of wear and tear that can affect the longevity and durability of your roof. Sealants have the added benefit of enhancing the overall appearance of your roof by giving it a fresh, clean look.

Roof Cleaning

Regular roof maintenance is crucial to prevent the buildup of black algae and other debris. This typically involves gentle cleaning methods such as our soft wash. Roof soft washing is a method used to clean roofs using low-pressure water and specialized cleaning solutions. This method effectively removes stains, dirt, and algae from the roof’s surface without causing any damage.

Unfortunately, insurance claims for roof replacements can often be denied because a roof has not been properly maintained throughout its lifetime. Keeping tabs on your property and ensuring that the roof is being taken care of with cleanings every few years will ensure that you properly caring for your roof.  By staying proactive in roof maintenance and promptly addressing any black algae or debris issues, you can protect your roof and extend its lifespan while maintaining a clean and appealing exterior.

Call No Mess Gutters & Roofing For Black Algae

If you have noticed those black streaks or have any concerns about the health of your roof, call us to discuss solutions.  You may want to consider a Roof Rejuvenation, schedule a Soft Wash or set a schedule for routine maintenance of your roof and gutters. Yes, Gutters need cleaning too!

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