You have seen it. That roof that has strange discoloration or streaks. It might even be your roof. Its only a matter of time in our North Texas climate before time catches up with your roof. Debris and algae can lead to staining, and in some cases it can even be defective shingles themselves that cause staining. While there are many factors that contribute to roof stains or discoloration the good news is most are simply cosmetic. However, in those rare cases it could be a serious underlying issue. Here is a simple guide to help you determine what may be the cause of the roof stains or discoloration on your home.

Debris Stains

Stains on your roof that are caused by debris may be various shades from brown to black. They can be caused by organic and inorganic matter. If your roof has areas that collect organic matter that falls from trees such as leaves and bark you may notice brown to black colored stains in those areas. The natural colors of the organic matter over time can leach out and onto the shingles causing surface level stains. This is particularly true with lighter colored shingles. Using a soft bristle brush and soapy water will remove most of these stains with easy.

Algae Stains

Reegions with high humidity are the most likely to struggle with algae stains on roofing shingles. In fact Algae is probably the most common type of staining on homeowners roofs. We are defiantly not experts on all the various types of algae that may be present, however, we have seen enough to know there are many types! The algae is typically a dark green or brownish color. Algae will almost always be found in the shady areas of your roof because most types cannot endure the harsh UV rays during Fort Worth’s blistering summers. The good news is that may home supply stores carry a variety of cleaning agents you can apply to your roof that will kill and remove any algae growth. Just be sure not to overly aggressively spray down or scrub your roof leading to premature ware.

Extractive Bleeding

Extractive bleeding is much less likely the problem but much more difficult to resolve. Sometimes this staining is confused with algae, however, it can be in full sun no problem and usually will be very dark on the problem shingle and the staining flow down onto the shingles below. It could affect only a handful of shingles on your roof or in the worst case, can affect many. The cause of this staining is when the pigment used on the shingles asphalt matting starts to leach out onto the shingles colored granules. When this does happen is almost always shows up very soon after the roof is installed whereas debris or algae stains are issues that progressively occur over long periods of time.  This issue can only be resolved by removing the defective shingles and replacing them.

Can you fix the roof staining yourself?

In most cases, Yes. You can certainly do it yourself if you feel comfortable getting onto your roof to do simple cleaning of debris or apply a spray product to kill any algae. However if you are in doubt about being able to safely do the work, or if you are concerned that you may have an extractive bleeding issue, its best to call your roofing contractor of choice.

Whatever your choice, keep safety first.