When you own a residential or commercial property, you want to do everything you can to ensure it stands the test of time. Here in the UK, there are a number of things that can damage a building, however, the cold and damp conditions we have to contend with makes moss and algae growth one of the biggest issues for homeowners.
It can creep up quickly and soon become a costly problem- but what exactly is it, how does it grow and, is it really that bad? Below, we share the answers to all of your moss-related questions and fill you in on how to prevent it from attacking your property.
What is it?
Moss and algae are micro-organisms and are some of the earliest forms of life on the planet. They fascinate biologists all over the world as, unlike most other living things, they’ve barely evolved in millions of years of existence.
Moss is actually a mass of tiny plants called bryophytes and need moisture to reproduce; you can spot moss as it tends to be a blend of yellow, green or brown and has a cushion-like texture. Algae also requires moisture and grows in thin moist mats, making surfaces extremely slippery.
What causes it to grow?
Moss and algae thrive in damp and shaded areas, so the inclement British weather creates the ideal conditions for growth. Experts believe that the 1965 Clean Air Act played a pivotal role in the increased growth of moss here in the UK; although less pollution in the air benefitted our health, the lack of toxic fumes gave way to airborne spores of algae and moss that spread quickly throughout the country. Climate change also plays a part as the warm, damp air enables growths to survive and multiply without being killed off by frost.
Why is it a problem?
However much you’re impressed by the biology of algae and moss, when a growth attacks your home it is not pretty. These microorganisms can grow on any roofing material or surface and the roots can bore into brickwork and solid granite, meaning that walls can fall victim too.
Roots allow water into the surface which enables frost attack and shaling of tiles. Also, when moss and algae grow, natural acids are excreted which then react with the alkaline materials used in construction. This further weakens the tiles and bleaches the colour out, making buildings look tired and unattractive.
Mosses can grow in almost every nook and cranny, causing capillary attraction of rainwater which subsequently leaks through the roof. If mosses are allowed to grow, they can eventually become so large that they dislodge, leaving gaps in the tiles or brickwork and falling out into gutters and blocking them. Whilst large mosses are still on the roof, they add excess weight and sit there deteriorating the surface.
How to prevent it
If moss starts to grow on your property, you can remove it using a pressure washer, cleaning it off by hand or using a chemical treatment. However, why run the risk of having to go to all that effort and cost when preventative action can be taken?
Firstly, keep your roof and walls out of the shade as much as possible so damp areas can dry out in the sun. Remove moist materials from your walls and roofs like overhanging trees and bushes, as well as fallen leaves and dirt. Also, make sure you’ve got good drainage on your roof- poorly drained areas tend to see increased growth of algae and moss.
Finally, for the most effective preventative action, you should look to a roof and wall coating specialist. Roof and wall coating protects your home from all sorts of problems, from moss and algae growth to water damage and corrosion. Rather than scrubbing away at algae on your walls or digging out moss on your roof, with specialist coating you can rest assured that your property is protected.