What Are the Black Streaks on My Roof? Can Soft Washing Remove Them?

Black streaks on your roof are a harbinger of bad news, unfortunately. There’s nothing good to say about Gloeocapsa Magma, a hardy blue-green algae species that easily multiplies and spreads. Detrimental to your roof from any way you look at it, black streaks caused by Gloeocapsa Magma can really cause some damage to your shingles—and if left unchecked, it can reduce the expected lifespan of your whole roof.

A primer on spotting Gloeocapsa Magma algae growth and how to remedy the problems it causes with techniques such as soft washing can help you face this all-too-common black-streak culprit head-on.

Recognizing Gloeocapsa Magma

Nipping the growth of Gloeocapsa Magma in the proverbial bud before it starts is ideal but easier said than done. That’s because this nasty blue-green algae life form is invisible in the earliest stages. It only takes on its characteristic black color when it becomes more advanced. Because of this, an entire roof may be affected by Gloeocapsa Magma, but you may only see black streaks on parts of the roof.

Gloeocapsa Magma and Shingle Destruction

These destructive roof algae are attractive to asphalt shingles due to their high concentration of limestone in the shingles’ aggregate layer—which is the layer necessary for protecting the shingles from UV rays and weather damage. It’s worth mentioning that when algae destroy the crystal-like granules on shingles, they don’t do as good of a job deflecting the heat from the sun, so your energy bills are greater. Over time, the presence of Gloeocapsa Magma (and their feasting on your shingles) can lead to degradation of the roof to such an extent that replacement is the last option remaining.

Cleaning Black Streaks from Your Roof

Fortunately, with the right cleaning methods, Gloeocapsa Magma can be conquered, which can help your roof last longer. Non-pressure methods, including soft washing, are recommended by the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association (ARMA) to kill off this oh-so-persistent algae. Using a pressure washer can result in removing not just the algae but granules from your shingles, which sets your roof up for unnecessary deterioration (and might just void your shingles or roofer’s warranty).

Soft Washing: Gloeocapsa Magma’s Worst Enemy

Soft washing (power washing’s gentler, less violent cousin) is an algae removal method that involves using special cleaners that are applied using a low-pressure technique that eradicates Gloeocapsa Magma without roofing damage. Soft washing doesn’t just do the job—it also lasts up to three times longer than pressure washing.

A Word About DIY

Thinking you might clean the roof yourself as part of your overall home improvement plan, armed with a garden sprayer and good intentions? It’s not a good idea to DIY removal of black roof stains since only a trained professional has access to the chemicals and equipment needed to do the job right the first time—which can help you avoid paying thousands of dollars for a new roof in the near future. Your soft-washing roofing specialist can also discuss the prevention of algae growth through the use of copper or zinc and zinc strips. If you are interested in any of our professional services, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Don’t Wait Any Longer

If your roof has these telltale black streaks, don’t put off reaching out to EcoTek Power Wash for experienced soft washing to remove black streaks and for other roof cleaning services in the local area. We’re proud to be one of the leading soft washing companies in Baltimore, MD, and Arlington County, VA. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!