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Three Types of Moss & the Damage Done to Your Roof

Posted June 30, 2022 by Patrick Morin
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Moss grows on every single continent; yes, even Antarctica. 

It’s an important part of many ecosystems, but there are also places it grows where it can be harmful, like on your roof.

Moss growing on your roof doesn’t only impact your home’s curb appeal, it can lead to significant damage to your roof and home. It’s important that you know what to look out for to keep your roof in good condition.

Learn what types of moss grow on roofs, how to prevent moss growth, and how to get rid of it.

Roly-Poly Moss

This type of moss is bright green in appearance. It can even seem to glow depending on the time of the year. It grows on shingles and works to get under them, damaging them in the process. This causes problems not only for those damaged shingles but for the function of your whole roof. 

Once a shingle has been lifted from its proper place there is more chance for more moss to grow, but also for that wet, spongy moss to do damage to the materials under the shingles. This can lead to leaks, and if left unchecked will likely lead to you needing to replace your roof. 

All that this moss needs to germinate is for the spores to be exposed to high amounts of moisture. This happens easily in the rainier than average climate of Portland, OR. When this moss begins to grow it is also fertilized by any debris or dirt on the roof, allowing it to grow even more. 

Roly-poly moss is different from the other types of moss we’ll discuss because it works to get under the shingles and lift them out of the way, rather than disintegrating the shingles like Spindly roof moss or rotting them away like Furry roof moss.

Spindly Roof Moss

Spindly roof moss is different from roly-poly moss or furry roof moss because it tends to attach to the shingles of your roof and then essentially disintegrates the shingle. If allowed to grow unimpeded, this moss can destroy large sections of your roof, which can lead to entire sections of your home being damaged.

This type of moss often comes from tree branches hanging over the roof. Particularly, the Japanese or Laceleaf maple tree or any kind of birch tree can contribute to this moss. It can be harder to spot than the others, but it is no less of a problem.

It is also fertilized by the dirt and debris found on your roof, and by high moisture levels. Moss also thrives in the shade, so the wet and overcast cool months in Portland can help to create the perfect conditions for the moss to thrive.

Furry Roof Moss

While the other two types of moss can grow on almost any roofing material, the furry roof moss can only grow on wood roofs or very infrequently on tiles. It is fuzzy in appearance and frequently has leaves growing with it.

Furry roof moss is different than the others because it grows on rotted wood. This means that if you have this type of moss on your roof, you also have some wet rot. This is a definite sign of decay on your roof. 

Because this type of moss grows on rotting wood the best way to avoid it is by keeping good roofing maintenance so you can avoid any rot in the first place. If you have a flat roof, you need to pay extra attention to your roof to be sure there’s no place where there could be standing water.

Getting Rid of Moss

If you notice moss growing on your roof the best thing you can do is to get professional help to remove it. While there is a lot of information out there about how to DIY moss removal, some of those so-called fixes can wind up causing even more damage to your roof.

Additionally, due to the sponge-like nature of moss, it is very slippery, making it very dangerous to go onto your roof with it.

Our trained professionals are equipped to deal with and remove moss the right way. We’ll remove debris that is feeding, and sometimes concealing the moss, and then treat your roof with one of our non-toxic fast-acting treatments.  

Moss Prevention

The best way to prevent different types of moss from growing is by keeping up with your roof maintenance. This can help to prevent any moss from growing in the first place.

Trim Tree Branches

Tree limbs that hang over your roof, or that provide a lot of shade are a big cause of moss growth. Keep these branches trimmed back to avoid them dropping debris onto your roof or providing the shade that moss thrives in. 

Clean Your Gutters

By regularly cleaning your gutters you can help to avoid them getting clogged and overflowing. When this happens a lot of the debris, dirt, and water from the gutters will end up on your roof, allowing moss to grow. Not to mention the many other issues that clogged gutters can lead to.

Keep an Eye on Your Roof

You should be sure to do a visual inspection of your roof regularly in order to catch any issues before they have a chance to get worse. Keep an eye out for signs of damage such as broken or missing shingles, standing water, large debris, or obvious moss growth. 

Pay Attention to What Types of Moss Grow on Roofs

It’s important to keep your roof in good condition to protect everything beneath it. Now that you know what types of moss grow on roofs, you can be active in working to prevent them and the damage they can bring with them.

If you’re in Aloha, Happy Valley, West Linn or anywhere in the Portland area looking for moss removal services, or a full roof inspection, get a free quote today!

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