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Why Are There Black Streaks On My Roof?

There are two types of roof damage in the world. Those that make sense—like cracks, or missing shingles, and those that do not, like those unsightly black streaks hanging out all over your shingles. What is that and what causes it? Can you make it go away? Find your answers by following along with the roofing specialists at APCO!

Our roofing service team is dedicated to offering superior solutions and roofing replacement/repair for our Columbus, OH clients. Contact us online to learn more about your options!

Algae or Bacteria?

If you look around a bit online you’ll soon discover that this ugly little roof annoyance is known by its scientific name: Gloeocapsa magma. You’ll also probably see some folks calling it a form of algae. And while this is sort of close enough, it’s not quite right. This is actually a strand of photosynthesizing bacteria called a cyanobacteria.

It’s kind of like mold, kind of like algae. In the sense that it behaves quite similarly and feeds in the same way. Once this bacteria cultivates on your roof it spreads and grows by feeding on moisture and the calcium carbonate that naturally resides in many forms of shingle. This unfortunately means it has ample supply to flourish, and as it does it will develop that signature black, carapace-esque discoloration, which is actually a type of UV protection the bacteria creates for itself.

What Are the Risks?

There’s a lot of debate about whether or not Gloeocapsa magma is actually dangerous for your roof in and of itself. The American Roof Manufactures Association has deemed the annoyance little more than that: just annoying. And ugly. But there’s another issue that they warn about when it comes to the cyanobacteria: it can increase your risks for lichen growth.

Lichen is a composite organism that flourishes in the presence of algae, mold, and cyanobacterium. And lichen is absolutely dangerous for your roof. Once it takes hold it is extremely hard to get rid of, able to grow back even after being completely desiccated. Additionally it can cause a lot of potential damage, including:

  • Shingle separation
  • Lost granules
  • Rotting and further mold infestation
  • Increased risk for premature roof replacement

Enough Science! How Do I Get Rid of It?

The good news is that the problem, though a very common one, is actually quite easy to remedy. The simple application of copper sulfate incorporated with a pressure washing typically does the trick, assuming you catch the Gloeocapsa magma before lichen begins to form. This can be handled most simply by contacting a trusted roof service provider, since contractors will have the tools, knowledge, and materials readily available. The treatment is also fairly cheap overall and will leave you with a nice, fancy clean roof.

Choose to Work with the Best Columbus Roofing Company

APCO was founded over 50 years ago and has been a leading roofing contractor in the Columbus area ever since. We offer premier installation and repair services for all types of roofs, including shingle, slate, and cedar.

APCO offers high quality roof repair, restoration, and replacement throughout the following cities and their surrounding areas: Bexley, Columbus, Dublin, Gahanna, Grove City, Lewis Center, Pickerington, Powell, Reynoldsburg, Upper Arlington, and Westerville.

To learn more about APCO’s roof installation and services for homeowners throughout the Columbus, Ohio area, contact our roofing contractors today.

Columbus Ohio Windows | Columbus Ohio Doors | Columbus Ohio Gutters | Columbus Ohio Roofing | Columbus Ohio Siding | Columbus Ohio Sunrooms | Columbus Ohio Handyman Repair. APCO provides sales and installation for siding, windows, doors, gutters, roofing, decking and sunrooms, plus handyman service and repair, in the following central Ohio cities: Columbus, Buckeye Lake, Upper Arlington, Westerville, Plain City, Whitehall, Worthington, Circleville, Delaware, London, Granville, Grove City, Groveport, Hebron, Heath, Harrisburg, Hilliard, Logan, Millersport, Johnstown, Galena, Granville, German Village, New Albany, Newark,Pickerington, Lancaster, Marysville, Bexley, Blacklick, Brice, Canal Winchester, Dublin, Gahanna, Grandview Heights, Powell, Lewis Center, Lithopolis, Lockbourne, Pataskala, Shawnee Hills, Marble Cliff, Summit Station,Sunbury, Reynoldsburg and Sunbury.