While having roof lichens may seem like an aesthetic problem, it really isn’t. It can damage roofs and will reduce the value of your home if left untreated. All hope is not lost because this article focuses on how to prevent roof lichen and even remove it.

To be fair, there are times when you are going to need the advice of an expert, especially when it’s a problem like Lichen that could cost you thousands in repairs. Our friends over at Picazzo Painting and Pressure Washing are professional roof cleaners with experience dealing with lichen on roofs.

Lichen is formed due to the symbiosis of algae and fungus. It needs 2 vital things to survive; moisture and warmth. Unfortunately, rain and sunlight make it easy for lichen to form on roofs.

How To Prevent Lichen In Roofs

Let’s face it, in some cases, lichen is inevitable. However, there are still some ways to prevent lichen from forming on your roofs.

CREATE ACCESS TO SUNLIGHT: lichen needs both warmth and moisture to form so if your roof  doesn’t get enough sunlight to dry out moisture, it will develop lichen. You should trim off tall trees to prevent your roof from getting enough sun and your flowers will also bloom better. The idea is to get your roof away from the shade and give it access to sunlight.

ZINC STRIP METHOD: another way to secure your roof is using a trowel to lift the shingle and sliding a zinc strip under it. You can use a sealant to make it airtight or better yet, use a roofing nail to secure it. The metal will oxidize over time and make the roof an inhabitable environment for lichen. You can also apply a long strip of metal under the ridge of the roof, when it rains, it will wash down the roof plane for the same effect.

PERIODIC CHECKUPS: The lichen spreads very fast so checking your roof regularly and getting rid of the current lichen will save you a lot of stress in the future.

USE ALGAE RESISTANT SHINGLES: Some new roof shingles come with inbuilt chemicals that will prevent algae. With them, you won’t experience lichen anymore but you may still get some moss.

To be honest, with a periodic pressure cleaning of your roof, no matter the conditions that are around the roof, you’ll be able to prevent lichen pretty well. The second you see any kind of algae or mold on your roof, usually this just means that your roof is starting to look visually dirty.

Scheduling an annual pressure washing will be more than enough to make sure that lichen doesn’t affect your roof. Prevention is definitely the most effective strategy against lichens, especially when you consider the damage that lichens can cause to your roof. Unfortunately,

Lichen has a tendency to actually dig its “roots” into the roofing material and create a massive problem to take off. If you’re not careful, Lichens that are left for long enough can cause permanent damage to your roof that requires additional repairs of the shingles or tiles. You’re definitely going to want to approach Lichens with a preventative approach versus a reactionary approach.

How To Get Rid Of Roof Lichen

The previous preventive measures won’t help you get rid of existing lichen, so try out these methods to keep your roof squeaky clean and sparkling again.

You should either call the Pros to remove the lichen on your roof or do it yourself, if you aren’t confident in your cleaning skills, then calling a professional is the better option.

· When you make the decision to do it yourself, the first thing to do is make sure your roof is structurally sound enough to support your weight. Trust me, you don’t want to fall off.

· You can get rid of lichen by using a pressure hose, this is the safest method because it doesn’t involve chemicals. However, set your hose on low pressure or your shingles might break from too much force.

· You can also use specific lichen cleaning chemicals to remove lichen. If the lichen is tightly attached to your roof, gently remove the lichen manually from the roof and also the wooden panels.

While some would advise using a mixture of bleach and water to clean your roof, it is better to avoid harsh chemicals or harsh scrubbing because this may damage your roof.

As I’ve mentioned already, you need to be very careful when dealing with Lichens that are already on your roof. They can be quite problematic to take off, and you definitely want to avoid using excessive force when removing them.

Your best bet is going to be to use different kinds of surfactants, or soaps, to try and loosen up the lichen as much as possible. If you rely strictly on the force of a pressure washer, or worse, using some kind of tool to scrape off the lichen- you’re going to be in bad shape and have a ton of excessive damage.

Maya Singh

Maya Singh earned her Master’s in Public Health from Columbia University and has spent 15 years in the field of cleaning and hygiene, with a focus on health and environmental safety. Joining our editorial team in 2021, Maya provides insights into effective and sustainable cleaning practices. Her background includes working in public health campaigns and as a consultant for cleaning product companies. In her leisure time, Maya is an avid birdwatcher and participates in community clean-up drives.

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