How To Remove Moss From Roofing and the Best Time To Do It

Moss is a spongy soft bright green live layer that slowly covers the surface of your roof and can make your roof appear somewhat unique and attractive. You almost want it to stay that way forever, especially if you live in the countryside. However, unbeknownst to you, moss growth can wreak more havoc on your roof than you can imagine.

Moss overgrowth in between the roof shingles compromises the structural integrity of your roof. Soon, you are left grappling with issues such as roof leaks, wood rot, and, in the worst cases, roof sinkage.

Professional moss removal treatments are crucial to the well-being of your roof and the rest of your property. Read on to find out how to remove moss from the roof.

When To Remove Moss From Roofs

To make the job of clearing your roof of moss less complicated chose a day that is dry, mild, and cloudy. Performing this task in adverse weather such as when it’s raining, too hot, or on a frosty day will not only make the task more difficult for you, but it will also impair the effectiveness of the cleaning products you use.

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Choosing the Best Roof Moss Treatment

There are plenty of options available when it comes to buying specifically designed moss remover treatments. Many are available as a ready-to-use formula and come with the convenience of a spray attachment already fixed to the container.

Others require you to dilute them or decant them into a handheld or backpack sprayer before application.

I prefer to buy an off-the-shelf and purpose-designed formula as they tend to clear moss quickly and effectively and the results are long-lasting.

It is also possible to make moss-clearing treatments from household products too with the most common being bleach treatments, vinegar, and dish soap. Some methods are more effective than others and tend to offer a short-term fix. I’ll discuss this in more detail later in the article, but first a word of caution about using bleach or detergent to clear moss from your roof.

Removing Roof Moss With Detergent or Bleach

Household bleach and detergent work by suffocating and clearing off some of the moss from your roof but they do not completely clear it.

Commercial-grade bleach and strong detergent are more effective at permanently removing moss from roof surfaces. However, what most homeowners do not consider is the damage these two agents have on the roof shingles.

Roof shingles primarily have a fiberglass layer with an additional protective layer of tar and asphalt. This protective layer keeps the shingles intact in the face of harsh external factors like sunlight, wind, and water. Using strong bleach and detergent will rid you of the moss issue and leave your roof shingles vulnerable as they degrade the protective layer.

Bottom line, if you want to protect your roof, avoid using strong detergent or bleach to remove moss.

Tools for Removing Roof Moss

Moss removal is a manually intensive activity that requires upfront preparation. Whether you are a professional or a homeowner there are tools you’ll need for effectively removing moss. As follows:

  • Extension ladder
  • Moss and algae remover/treatment
  • A soft-bristled brush with a long handle
  • Garden hose and access to a water supply
  • Pump spray bottle
  • Safety rope
  • Safety glasses
  • Protective clothing including gloves and overalls
  • Non-slip shoes

Take Care of Not Damage to Shingles 

Watch out for the safety of your roof during moss removal. There are many ways you can damage your roof in the process.

High-pressure washing your roof during moss removal is a big no-no! once you scrape or brush off the moss from the roof shingles, the debris comes loose.  So no need for high-pressure washing as perhaps you may when clearing moss off pavers or a driveway. Instead, use a hose with normal water pressure to wash the surface of your roof. 

Remember to point the hose downward and not upwards because you don’t want the water seeping into the shingle spaces and causing roof damage.

Using a hard bristle brush instead of a soft bristle brush does an excellent job of removing the moss but also brushes off the surface of the shingles, compromising the longevity of your roof. Avoid pounding and scouring; gentle rubbing and soft brushing are recommended during moss removal.

Use slow up and down or side-to-side motions to avoid lifting the shingles. Work on small sections at a time and be careful not to crack, break or rip the shingles.

How To Remove Roof Moss in 3 Easy Steps

There are many ways to remove roof moss. Here are the basic steps you should follow.

Step 1: Gently Brush and Use a Water Hose To Loosen the Moss

Get to the top of the roof using a sturdy ladder. Put on all your protective gear and bring all the necessary tools, including the moss removal treatment.

Hose off the area with plain water at standard pressure while pointing downwards. Use a soft brush to scrub the moss loose from the shingles gently.

Step 2: Apply Your Moss Removal Treatment

Scrubbing alone may make your roof look new, but it’s not enough. Applying a moss remover ensures a complete cleaning and moss removal process. Whether you’re using a DIY treatment or a store-bought moss killer, apply it generously throughout each roof section. Use a spray bottle to make the process easier.

Keep the treatment away from the deck and siding of your roof because they can cause discoloration

Step 3: Prevent Moss Re-growth

Moss can start growing back barely days after you cleaned it off. Moss removal treatments are great but cannot entirely keep moss from growing.

Installing strips of copper or zinc on the top or bottom edges of the roof will keep moss from returning. Copper is toxic to moss but can cost an arm and a leg, especially when you need to cover a large area. Zinc is an equally effective yet less expensive option.

Consider pruning any branches covering your roof to allow direct sunlight. Remember, moss thrives on cool, damp surfaces.

How To Remove Moss From A Roof Naturally

There’s no shortage of chemical-based products designed to kill moss in stores. The only problem is that while most chemical-based products will help remove moss from your roof, they also stain your roof and corrode the gutters.

If you’re conscious of the environment, you probably wonder if viable natural moss removal methods exist. Yes! There are highly effective natural moss removal methods you could try. They include:

1. Vinegar Solutions

Vinegar is an ever-present household product you keep in your kitchen for other reasons. If you’re hell-bent on removing roof moss, I bet it never crossed your mind that vinegar is the answer to your woes.

Vinegar has about 8% acetic acid. This is the active ingredient known to kill weeds, moss, roots, and other unwanted live growths on your property.

  • Mix two parts vinegar with one part water to make the perfect moss-killer solution
  • Pour or spray the solution on the affected areas covered with moss on your roof
  • Allow the solution to soak for about 40 minutes to an hour.
  • After that, use a garden hose to wash away the loose moss layer. You could also scrape the moss off using a soft-bristled brush.
  • Repeat this process if, after some time, you realize that the moss hasn’t completely died.

Distilled white vinegar and apple cider vinegar are both ideal for roof moss removal.

2. Baking Soda

There’s no telling how many DIY solutions you can make in your home using baking soda. If you want a lasting solution for your roof moss issue, no doubt baking soda is your best bet. There are two ways you can use baking soda to remove moss from your roof. They include;

The Dry Method

Sprinkle baking soda powder over the surface of your roof, affected by moss overgrowth.

Use a soft brush to help spread the baking soda all over the moss.

After about two to three days, check to see if the moss has dried. If the moss has turned from a vibrant green to a darker brown or golden color, the baking soda is working.

Use a scraper or a brush to remove the dead moss from your roof. Wash the residue and debris off your roof using a water hose for a clean finish.

Spray Method

Add about three tablespoons of baking soda to about 950mls water. Stir gently to dissolve all the baking soda and pour the solution into a spray bottle.

Climb up to the roof and evenly spray the solution on all areas covered by moss. You may need several applications to completely kill the moss before scraping and washing all the dirt off.

3. Homemade Roof Moss Killer

Homemade moss killers are effective but cannot match the results a chemical-based moss killer offers. However, if you’re trying to buy some time before calling the experts, below are some common homemade roof moss killer recipes.

  • 3 cups of chlorine bleach + 2 gallons of water
  • 2 gallons of water + 8 ounces of dawn Ultra Dish soap
  • 3 cups distilled vinegar + 2 gallons of water
  • 1 pound of powdered oxygen bleach + 2 gallons of water

For enhanced results, consider wetting your roof with plain water before applying your homemade roof moss killer. Allow the roof to stay wet for 20 to 40 minutes before applying the DIY moss removal solution.

How To Prevent Roof Moss from Reoccurring

Moss growth is a common recurring problem that many homeowners grapple with. It’s annoying when you have to call the experts to help remove roof moss every couple of months. Aside from using harsh chemicals and buying copper to keep moss from re-growing, there are some inexpensive solutions you must try. They include:

Regularly Clean the Roof

Once or twice a year, you should clean your roof to remove accumulated dust and debris.

Trim Nearby Branches

Moss loves to grow on patches of your roof that have shade. Trimming overgrown tree branches allows the sun to reach your roof.

Clean the Gutters

Clogged gutters can store stagnant water. The water can seep into the shingles and cause further damage by staining the siding and rotting fascia boards. Moss grows fast on ever-wet shingles. Cleaning the gutters at least twice a year prevents leaks and moss growth.

Use Moss Resistant Shingles

You never have to worry about moss growth if you install shingles specially made to resist moss and algae growth.

Install Metal Strips

Installing copper or zinc strips on the roof ridges can prevent moss re-growth. The goal is to allow the metal to oxidize and wait for it to rain. The rainwater washes down the oxidized metals making your roof less conducive to moss growth.

Benefits of Removing Moss From A Roof

Moss overgrowth can cause immense damage to your roof by compromising the state of the shingles. Note that ineffective moss removal methods can also cause further damage to your roof as they can tamper with the structural integrity of your shingles and other roof parts.

Avoid moss growth by seeking professional roof moss removal services.

The Impact of Roof Moss Damage

There’s little doubt that moss growth can lead to roof damage, especially if the problem is left unattended for a long time. Moss growth can cause roof damage such as:

  • Cracked or Lifted Shingles: As the moss in between the shingles continues to grow, it swells up like a sponge which often causes the shingles to lift or crack. Damaged shingles can lead to water damage and pest infestation as rainwater and pests can access the roof’s inner, more vulnerable parts.
  • Affects your Warranty: The worst thing about uncontrolled moss removal is that your roof warranty is negatively affected. Your roof contractors will not facilitate repairs on your roof that come as a result of moss growth.

Treating Roof Moss Vs. Lawn Moss

Roof moss and lawn moss may be the same, but the removal method for one doesn’t fit the other.

For instance, using bleach or detergent to clean roof moss is a common effective method for homeowners. However, using strong substances to kill moss on your lawn can cause other unaffected patches of grass and healthy plants to die.

Seek professional help to determine the best way to deal with moss growth in various areas of your property.

Verdict: Removing Moss From a Roof

Even without shade from trees, your shingles retain water when there’s accumulated dirt and debris on your roof. The wetness set the perfect stage for rapid moss growth. Regularly cleaning your roof is imperative to keep your roof moss free.

FAQs Removing Roof Moss

Here are some of the frequently asked questions about roof moss removal.