Is Moss Taking Over Your Roof? Here’s How to Remove It

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Is moss taking over your roof? Here's how to remove it

Moss thrives in damp and shady environments, making roofs a prime breeding ground for this pesky plant. If left untreated, moss can slowly eat away at your shingles and create openings that allow water to seep into your home.

In addition to potential structural damage, moss growth can also affect your home’s curb appeal. A moss-covered roof can give the impression that a house is neglected and uncared for – which can be a turn-off for potential buyers if you ever decide to sell. It can also be a red flag to homeowners insurance companies that generally require roofs to be kept free of moss to maintain insurance coverage.

So, how do you remove moss from your roof? Here’s everything you need to know:

Why Moss Grows on Roofs

Moss is a type of bryophyte that reproduces through spores. These small, lightweight structures can travel long distances through the air and easily settle on your roof. Once they land, they can quickly multiply and form thick mats of moss buildup.

Moss taking over roof

Roofs provide an ideal environment for moss to thrive because they often retain moisture due to rain, dew, or shaded areas. Additionally, the porous surface of most roofs allows for moss to attach and grow a rootlike system (Rhizoids), further supporting its growth.

Roof moss is most common in areas with cool and damp climates, but it can also be a problem in warmer regions during periods of high humidity. In any case, regular roof maintenance is key to preventing moss from taking over your roof.

The Dangers of Moss Growth on Your Roof

Physical Damage

Asphalt shingle roofs (the most common type of roof in the US) are particularly susceptible to damage due to moss. Mosses do not have true roots. Instead, they use an anchoring system of Rhizoids, which penetrate the surface of the shingle and degrade the granular surface, which is designed to protect the asphalt below. When removed, the moss often takes this protective layer of granules with it. This increases the rate of degradation and decreases the service life of the roof. Certain types of moss can also grow between the tabs, lifting the shingle and exposing it to moisture and debris.

Moss physical damage on roof

Aesthetic Issues

Aside from physical damage, moss growth on your roof can also impact the overall appearance of your home. The green, fuzzy patches of moss can make your roof look unkempt and dirty. This can be a major concern for homeowners who take pride in the visual appeal of their homes.

Moreover, moss growth on your roof can make it stand out from other houses in the neighborhood, potentially decreasing its curb appeal and overall value. If you’re looking to sell your home in the future, roof moss may discourage potential buyers and lead to lower offers.

Health Risks

In addition to physical and aesthetic concerns, moss growth on your roof can also pose health risks. Moss is known to harbor bacteria and allergens that can be harmful to humans and pets.

When wet, green moss releases spores into the air, which can trigger allergies or respiratory issues in people with sensitivities. These spores can also attract pests such as mosquitoes and rodents, which can carry diseases.

Moreover, the moisture retained by roof moss can also lead to mold growth, which can further aggravate allergies and cause respiratory problems. This is especially concerning for young children, older adults, and those with compromised immune systems.

Signs of Moss Growth on Your Roof

Why moss grows on roof

Now that we’ve discussed the potential consequences of moss growth on your roof, it’s important to know how to spot it. Here are some signs that indicate the presence of roof moss:

  • Visible patches or streaks of green or brownish-green moss growth. 
  • Accumulation of leaves, twigs, and other debris in the corners or valleys of your roof. 
  • Damp or wet spots on your roof that are slow to dry up.  
  • Raised, bumpy, or uneven areas on your roof. 
  • Green stains and discoloration.
  • A musty or earthy smell.

If you notice any of these signs, it’s essential to take action to remove moss growth before it worsens. Letting roof moss grow unchecked can lead to costly repairs and potential health hazards, so tackling the problem as soon as possible is best.

Preventive Measures for Homeowners

Preventive measures to prevent moss on roof

Here are some preventive measures that you can take to minimize the risk of moss growth on your roof’s surface:

1. Regular Roof Inspections and Maintenance

The best way to prevent moss growth on your roof is to conduct regular inspections and maintenance. This will allow you to catch any potential issues early on and address them before they worsen.

Inspecting your roof at least once a year, preferably in the fall or spring, is recommended. Look for any signs of moss growth and remove it immediately if you spot any. Additionally, keep an eye out for any damaged or loose shingles that may need to be replaced – these can serve as entry points for future moss growth.

2. Trimming Branches that Block Sunlight and Promote Moss Growth

Moss thrives in damp and shaded areas, making it a common occurrence on roofs that are covered by overhanging trees or heavy foliage. To prevent this, make sure to regularly trim any branches that block sunlight from reaching your roofing material. This will help keep the surface of your roof dry and less prone to moss growth. 

Furthermore, trimming back branches and foliage will also help improve the overall health of your roof by reducing the risk of damage from falling debris during storms or high winds.

3. Cleaning Debris Off the Roof to Prevent Moisture Buildup

Debris, such as leaves, twigs, and other organic matter, can accumulate on your roof over time – creating a damp environment that is perfect for moss growth. To prevent this, it’s essential to keep your roof clean and free of debris.

It’s advisable to hire a professional roof cleaner to remove any accumulated debris on your roof. They have the necessary tools and expertise to safely remove debris without causing damage to your roof.

If you choose to clean your roof yourself, make sure to exercise caution and use proper safety equipment, as climbing on a roof can be dangerous. Additionally, avoid using a power washer, as the high-pressure water can damage asphalt shingles and create gaps where moss can grow.

4. Ensuring Proper Drainage and Gutter Maintenance

Moss thrives in damp environments, so it’s crucial that your roof has proper drainage. Ensure gutters are debris-free and functioning correctly to prevent water from pooling on your roof.

Regularly cleaning out gutters is also essential for preventing moss growth. If gutters become clogged, water can overflow and seep into the shingles and underlayment, creating the perfect environment for moss to grow.

Should You Consider DIY Moss Removal?

While some homeowners may choose to remove moss themselves, it’s generally recommended to hire a professional for this task. Professional roof cleaners have the necessary equipment and expertise to safely remove moss while minimizing potential damage to your roof.

Being on a roof without professional equipment is very unsafe and can result in accidents or damage to your roof. Additionally, DIY methods, such as power washing, can actually cause more harm than good. The high-pressure water can loosen or dislodge shingles – damaging the safety and integrity of your roof. 

Not to mention, DIY methods are often not as effective in fully removing moss and preventing its regrowth. A professional roof cleaning company, like Pacific Exterior, will use manufacturer-approved cleaning solutions specifically designed to kill moss and prevent its return.

When to Seek Professional Help

Roof cleaning before solar panel installation

If you notice moss growth on your roof, it’s important to address it as soon as possible. The longer moss is left untreated, the more damage it can cause to your roof.

 Some signs that it’s time to call a professional for help include:

  • Thick patches of moss covering a large area of your roof.
  • Moss growth on areas that are difficult to reach or clean, such as steep roofs or high peaks.
  • The presence of other debris, such as leaves and twigs, mixed in with the moss.
  • Signs of damage to your roof, such as loose shingles or leaks.

If you notice any of these signs, it’s best to contact a professional roof cleaning company for assistance. However, even if you suspect moss may be present on your roof but don’t see any visible signs, it’s still a good idea to have it inspected by a professional. They can identify and address any potential issues before they become major problems. 


If you need a roof cleaning to remove moss, the team at Pacific Exterior is here to help. Our experienced professionals use safe and effective cleaning solutions to rid your roof of moss and prevent its return.

Don’t risk damaging your roof by attempting to remove moss yourself. Contact us today for a thorough and professional cleaning service.

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Avatar for Eric Schnaible

Eric Schnaible

As a passionate Entrepreneur and Innovator, I have over 18 years of hands-on experience as a Commercial and Residential Building Contractor leading operations at E.S.Builders and Pacific Exterior.

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