Algae, Algae Everywhere!

Over the past 20 years more and more roofs have been attacked by an algae that has always been around. It was not imported from another country and our climate is

Why is there no algae in the middle of this roof?

Why is there no algae in the middle of this roof?

pretty much the same as it has always been.  So where did this creature from the black lagoon come from? This black or green staining on roofs has been the source of frustration for many of us homeowners. We have this beautiful home and landscaping and then there is this grungy, grody, ugly roof. It’s like detailing a beautiful car and leaving the wheels covered with grease and road tar.

It all started when shingle manufacturers began using fiberglass as the base mat for making shingles. Because it is much thinner than the rag base material once used, they chose to use limestone as a filler to “beef up” the shingles. Guess what one of algae’s favorite foods is? Yep, this cheap and plentiful filler has now become the food source of the ever present algae spores floating through the air.

However, metal poisons the algae and it does not grow when a metallic substance is introduced to the fiberglass shingle roof. Just like the picture shows, the metal antenna stand has killed the algae below it and the roof is clean. The best way to get rid of algae is to let mother nature and copper strips installed at the top of your roof do the work over time. Some will tell you to use a diluted bleach mixture to clean the roof, but that can harm landscaping and damage the shingles. Don’t even use power washer and shingles in the same sentence. That can make a bad situation worse as your shingles go flying across the neighborhood from the power washer blast!

Tim Carter from has some good advice for what we have been talking about. Take a look!

How to Cope with Roof Moss

If you need some help doing the things Tim describes, give me a call and we’ll talk about it.



Top 7 ways to decide: “Do I need a new roof?

 # 1 – Valleys Go First: Most roofs last a minimum of 17 to 20 years depending on the pitch of the roof and how many valleys and obstacles are on the roof. The steeper the pitch the longer the roof will last. If you can easily walk on your roof, then that roof should last the minimums stated above. Valleys are usually the first area to go bad as that is were water accumulates in a trough before it leaves the roof. Some asphalt shingle roofs have lasted up to 30 years.

#2 – Plumbing Stacks: Roofs put on within the last10 years experience deterioration with the plumbing stack boot made of neoprene. It has a tendency to dry out and crack allowing water to run down the pipe into your home through the walls. Sometime the only evidence of a leak can be found in the basement or wherever the first bend in the pipe is located. Installing a new boot will last the remaining life of the roof. If you are in need of a new roof, use a lead plumbing stack cover which will outlast any roof system.

#3 – Granule Loss: When a roof reaches the end of its life the granules on the shingles come off more readily as the asphalt that holds them in place begins to deteriorate. Watch for granules in your gutters washing out onto your lawn, or the roof turn dark as the asphalt is exposed. Shingles may begin to curl when asphalt breaks down allowing water to penetrate the core of the shingle.

#4 – Poor Ventilation: Another major factor that determines how long your roof will last is ventilation. If there is inadequate ventilation, problems like condensation in the winter and excessive heat in the summer will shorten the life of the roof system and cause major damage to the wood deck.

#5 – Exhaust Vents: Most homes have at least one type of exhaust fan that exits into the attic. The most popular is the bathroom fan, but others include kitchen exhaust and dryer vents. If the fan exit through the attic it is important that it also is vented to the outside of the roof. If not this hot moist air will cause severe condensation in the attic and even mold growth.

#6 – Storm and Animal Damage: Storms may cause the roof to be replaced before the normal life of the roof is reached. High winds can blow shingles completely off the roof or hail storms can damage the toughest of shingles. Hail loosens the granules on the shingles creating dark spots on these shingles. The result is a shortened life span of the shingle. The loss of granules will allow the moisture to penetrate the core of the shingle accelerating the decomposition of the shingle.

Animal damage, though limited to a specific area, is an indication that the roofing material or wood substructure has deteriorated to the point that animals can more easily remove the shingles, siding, or roof deck to get to the attic for shelter. This may require only a repair, but it is a good time to inspect the remainder of the roof to determine the overall condition of the roof.

#7 – Masonry and Counterflashing: The breakdown of chimneys and other masonry walls are an indication of roof replacement. If water is coming in along the chimney wall or masonry wall it is either because the counterflashing is failing or the masonry itself is absorbing water.

Deterioration can also occur on the concrete chimney cap which allows moisture to enter as well as weaken and destroy the entire masonry structure. By checking the caulking and maintaining the chimney with masonry sealant, the cost of repair or replacement are avoided.

Chimney’s are Part of the Roof and Home too!

Homeowners tend to maintain only what can be easily seen. It’s not until a problem develops do we realize there’s a roof on the house. What can be even worst is the lack of attention given to a chimney.

There are different types of chimneys on roofing systems.  I thought I’d focus more on the more common brick chimney.

Completed Chimney with Cut Mortar Joints
Completed Chimney with Cut Mortar Joints

Brick chimneys are an important part of your home maintenance due to the moisture and condensation brought out by the heat and air conditioning from the inside and the heat and cold temperatures from the outside.

The brick chimney has a metal counterflashing installed at the base of the chimney for protection. If the counterflashing is not cut into the mortar joint the caulking will loosen and moisture will make its way inside of the building. If the flashing is not constructed of aluminum, painted steel or galvanized steel, over time it will rust. If you’ve ever touched rust, the orange color steel particles end up on your fingers. Ultimately, it will run down your roof and stain the shingles. That is an undesirable sight.

Showalter Roofing sprays the chimney with a seal coat or silicone so the chimney remains water resistant. Some bricks are more porous, and will absorb additional water than other bricks.  The chimney cap is made from concrete that too can break up over time.  If water gets its chance to get inside the chimney cap, the chimney will need to be tuckpointed or completely replaced. A costly issue.  There are coatings which protect against water penetration called Crown Coat, a great product that Showalter frequently uses.

This summer, be sure to look on top of the roof. Be sure to check your shingles and the chimney.

Chimney Caps

Have you noticed that there is too much or too little draft coming through your chimney flue?  Has there been an increase in your energy bills due to a drafty chimney?  Maybe, you have found water damage around the path of your chimney?  If so, than you may consider installing a chimney top or cap.  Chimney caps are an inexpensive guard against many problems that might occur in relation to owning a chimney.Chimney Top

Standard caps are made from a number of different materials and serve multiple functions.  Theses materials include steel, stainless steel, copper, and aluminum.  Most models feature side screening which keeps most birds and small animals out of the chimney.   Some people use a chimney for a gas fireplace or a wood fireplace, some for a wood-burning stove.  A chimney top serves as an access point to oxygen, protection from uncontrollable elements such as rain and wind, and a way to keep unwanted visitors out of the chimney flue.

Overtime, the chimney tops on your home may gradually form rust depending on the type of metal that was used during installation.  This rust has the potential of running down the chase and leading to imperfections in your chimney as well as your roof.  With over 25 years experience providing quality installation of architectural metals, Showalter Roofing and their trained staff of professionals can install a quality chimney top to your home.

The Clean Up Process After a New Roof Installation

One of the most important aspects of any roofing job is the clean-up process. As with any construction project there is always going to be debris of some sort to clean up and remove from the project site. Prior to every installation, our primary focus is protecting all the landscaping around the entire home. With the prestigious details of home landscaping these days, protecting their delicacies can be tricky and quite an involved process. In the past we have used plywood to protect the ground and flower beds from falling debris, as well as hanging tarps from the roof in order to funnel all the debris into one specific location.

Once the installation has been completed and all the major debris has been removed from the site, we will use mechanical equipment such as blowers to clear any remaining excess debris from the roof, gutters, ground, and landscaping areas. This includes blowing away from porches and patios potential debris that has strayed away from the tarps and plywood. Finally, we like to comb the entire lot of the home including all landscaping areas with a magnet to pick up all nails and other hazardous metal objects from the site. Our goal is to leave the premises the way that it was before the roofing project was started, if not better. If our customers do not notice anything on the ground or in the gutter than we know we have successfully completed the project.

Protecting the home and the landscaping is the key to an excellent roof installation!


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