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Is Zinc Sulfate Powder An Effective Way To Kill Roof Moss?

Posted March 1, 2024 by Patrick Morin
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Executive Summary

  • Roof moss can grow if there is a buildup of moisture and organic material, and the roots can spread into the shingles and underlying construction layers, causing damage.
  • Zinc sulfate powder poses several risks, including the risk of corroding your roofing materials, damaging the surrounding environment, and lacking longevity.
  • There are several alternative approaches to killing roof moss, like using a brush, natural remedies, and other chemicals.
  • Relying on a professional moss removal service can ensure effective, long-term moss removal as they provide targeted solutions to kill moss without damaging your roof.

Moss is a resilient plant that grows along the surface of trees or rocks—it’s most common in forest environments, but it can grow on any hard surface as long as it has access to moisture and other organic materials. As it grows, it covers the surface like a blanket, and its roots dig their way into the materials underneath.

On its own, moss is a valuable piece of the ecosystem, but when it’s on your roof, it can be a significant headache to remove. Roof moss can dig into the shingles of your roof and the underlying layers to cause damage, making it important to address it early for the sake of your roof’s health.

When trying to kill or remove roof moss, many people consider turning to zinc sulfate powder as a lasting solution. Although zinc powder for roof moss does work in theory, there are a few important considerations you must make before you expect it to be the answer to all your problems.  


What Is Roof Moss?

Roof moss happens when the plant grows along the surface of your roof or into the shingles, often when the roof is wet and has a buildup of organic material on top. There are three types of roof moss that can affect your roof—the roly-poly type, furry moss, and spindly moss.

Moss growing on the roof poses several risks to your home. It can get stuck and grow its way in between the shingles as the roots extend into the roofing materials, which can tear your roof apart. Moss buildup can also trap water and provide the risk of water seeping under the shingles and into the sublayer, causing potential leaks. 

Each of the different types of roof moss poses different risks and different challenges for getting rid of them. All different types can damage, lift, or degrade your roof shingles, so it’s important to have a moss control solution in place.


Zinc Sulfate Powder as a Solution

Zinc sulfate powder, or zinc monosulfate, is a combination of sulfur and zinc, commonly used as an herbicide to control moss. Using zinc powder on your roof works to interfere with the organic processes of moss, killing the plant at the root so that it dies and can be physically removed from the roof.

Depending on the concentration and the weather, zinc sulfate can typically take about a few weeks to months before you begin seeing results. Once the powder kills the moss, you simply just need to brush the remaining elements of the moss from your roof. Unfortunately, there are a few drawbacks regarding using zinc sulfate that are difficult to overlook.


Negative Effects of Zinc Sulfate

Although zinc sulfate may serve as a potential solution to moss on your roof, it’s rare that the benefits outweigh the risks. This powder can come with several critical drawbacks if used regularly on your roof.

Negative effects of zinc monosulfate for roofs include:

  • Potential damage to roofing materials – The number one risk of using zinc sulfate is that every ounce of it is corrosive, and it can corrode components on your roof, like the fasteners, the gutters, the drains, and even diversion systems that direct water away from your home.
  • Environmental concerns – When it rains, the powder will run off your roof and leach into surrounding soil and waterways. The product is toxic to fish and aquatic invertebrates, so runoff can cause potential harm to the local environment and ecosystems, posing a hazard to plants and wildlife.
  • Time needed for results – Zinc sulfate takes time to work, making it less effective than other, quicker methods.
  • Lack of longevity – The benefits of zinc sulfate powder are not residual, as the powder washes off over time, so the moss is likely just going to grow right back next year.

The last thing you want is a roof that is even more damaged than before you started. With the many negative effects, it’s a good idea to look at other options for moss control.


Alternative Methods for Moss Removal

Clearly, zinc sulfate comes with its drawbacks, which makes it difficult to rely on as a safe, long-term solution. Fortunately, zinc sulfate powder is not the only option for removing moss from your roof.

Some other solutions for moss removal include:

  • Physical removal – Using a physical brush or pressure washer can help you forcefully remove moss from your roof. This approach requires a careful touch, though, as using a pressure washer can damage your roof and wear down the shingles, especially if the roots have dug in.
  • Chemical removal – Other chemicals like bleach and potassium salts can serve as options for moss removal. Of course, each of these may pose its own potential risks and have varying levels of effectiveness, so it’s important to do your research.
  • Natural removal methods – Natural removal methods can remove moss without the environmentally damaging side effects of zinc sulfate powder. These solutions can include options like vinegar or water and baking soda.

Ultimately, it’s better to consult professional moss removal services. At Roof Life of Oregon, we use a combination of alternative methods for removing moss from your roof to ensure an effective, long-term result. Instead of a toxic chemical, we use a green, non-toxic, and non-corrosive moss removal solution that is safe for children, plants, and pets.

In addition, we use a pressure washer we built ourselves, designed to remove moss without damaging the roof. This machine provides just enough power to remove moss but is gentle enough to avoid removing the protective finish on your shingles.

Our services also come with a three to five-year no-growth guarantee, depending on the type of roof you have. All together, these methods are more effective in the long term and won’t leave your roof with residual damage or poison the surrounding environment.  


Get Rid of Moss the Right Way with Roof Life of Oregon

Roof moss is stubborn and can be frustrating. However, even if you’re looking for a quick fix, it’s best to avoid using zinc powder for roof moss, which can come with a long list of damaging consequences for little return.

At Roof Life of Oregon, we don’t recommend using zinc sulfate, as there are far better options for controlling moss without damaging your roof or harming the local environment. Using our natural moss removal solutions and a power washing device we built ourselves, we’ll help you remove moss for good. 

We’ll even address any residual damage left from moss that may have affected your roof and provide regular maintenance check-ins to keep your roof moss-free year after year.

Contact us today to schedule a free inspection and find out how we can develop a plan of action that provides a long-term solution for moss removal from your roof.

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