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Three Lies You've been Told About Your Roof Shingles

There are many myths that are told in the construction industry. In the roofing sector, many homeowners are told a lot of stories that are presumed factual when in fact they are not true at all. Your local home inspector should be able to provide you with some details about your roof that will give you an indication of the life expectancy. The three myths are:

1. Roofs have a 30-year guarantee

2. Manufacturer's are now producing a roofing material that is fungus and algae-resistant

3. The best way to clean and or remove algae and fungus is to use bleach or a high pressure hose.

In the following article we are going to expose these myths and provide possible solutions for roof care and roof maintenance.

Shingles Do Not Have a Solid Guarantee

Manufacturers produce shingles in various classes of lifetime guarantees. For instance, you have the 25-year,the 30-year shingle, the 40-year, and lifetime. Manufacturers produce them in those segments. The fact is, a 30-year shingle will not necessarily last 30 years (although it may).  The expected life expectancy of a 30 year roof is 25 years.

If the 30 year old roof is seriously neglected, installed properly, contained inadequate ventilation the roof may last 12 – 15 years.  And the manufacturers know that their warranties are so watered down and or contain various ways to void the warranty they usually receive little call backs from consumers.

There’s No Such Thing as an Algae-Resistant Shingle

Since asphalt is so expensive – manufacturers have moved towards crushed limestone as a filler instead of asphalt. In all actuality there are more algae on roofs today due to the producers using less expensive petroleum based products such as asphalt.

Manufacturers today are selling shingles that claim to be fungus and algae resistant. The resistance really only lasts for about two years- it is then completely prorated out within a 2 year period. This claim is very misleading for homeowners, By the 2nd year the warranty is over and around the 2 year mark is when fungus will start to grow. How convenient.

With that being said there are simple solutions to solve the fungus problem, which leads us to the third issue.

The Best Way to Clean Your Shingles

The fungus that grows on your roof is called gloeocapsa magma.  It’s a simple fungus that grows on the shaded side of the tree and additionally it grows on your roof by attaching to the shingles.  It lives on the little oil that is left in the asphalt shingle and it also really loves the crushed limestone filler, which leads to the unattractive streaking on your roof shingles.

Most homeowners don't realize that this fungus attaches to their roof and leads to damage over time. By the time the homeowner realizes the streaking, its too late.

Gloeocapsa magma can be removed safely with an approved environmentally friendly product. There are many products on the market for removing the fungus but some may be inferior. Some home inspectors or other industry professionals may recommend a water and bleach formula. The use of bleach should be avoided.

 Keep in mind. More than half of the products out there on the market contain bleach, which is not environmentally friendly and may cause damage to your roof  Some contractors or home inspectors may claim home owners can remove the fungus with a pressure washer.  Some contractors will typically use a high pressure washer, set the setting to low and spray the roof to attempt to detach the fungus from the shingles. However, the pressure washer may cause damage and compromise the roof shingles that is not noticeable until years down the road. This may lead to pre-mature roof failure, corroded flashing, underlayment, valleys and boots.

The best way to clean your roof is to use an approved roof cleaning product from your local hardware store that specifically states that it does not contain bleach and is non acidic. We recommend you follow the application instructions on the product you plan on using. Most product application consist of spraying the product on the roof and after a specified time frame, take a soft brush to the shingles.

Save Money Through Proper Roof Maintenance

Roofs are not made to last forever and eventually you will need to replace your roof. Essentially, the idea is get the full life expectancy out of the roof.  Just like other components in the home such as the heating unit or a vehicle you need to maintain your roof.

Bob Vila said it best “inspect the roof routinely, clean it periodically as it’s needed and make minor repairs in a timely way and you can greatly extend the roof’s lifespan”.

When you hire a home inspector they should provide advise on weekly, monthly and yearly maintenance issues. Your home inspector should advise on roofing maintenance solutions for your roof. This may be depend on the location of your home, how much shade the roof receives and the condition and growth of fungus on nearby roofs.

The Author Adam Clark is the owner and operator of Shield Guard Home Inspections. Adam Clark is a local Home Inspector located in Saratoga NY that has performed over 8500+ Inspections Phone: (518) 649-9111

The information provided is for informational and educational purposes only.


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