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The Benefits of Eco-Friendly Roof Cleaning: An Interview with Mark Armstrong of Roof Shampoo

Tell us a little bit about your company and its foundation.

Our company, Pro Exterior Shine Inc was formed in 2011. We became an authorized Roof Shampoo® Contractor that same year.

The Roof Shampoo® products and state-of-the art equipment were developed by Exterior Surface-Brite, Inc. which was formed in 2004 after the founders began noticing dark streaky stains on roofs that seemed to be popping up everywhere. Back then many homeowners had no idea what was causing the ugly roof stains. People were theorizing all sorts of possible causes such as acid rain, jet fuel, and even duck poop! Everyone now knows that the dark stains infesting millions of roofs nation-wide are actually caused by algae growth with roots that wrap around the granules on asphalt and fiberglass shingles.

The folks at Exterior Surface-Brite also observed that homeowners and contractors were attempting to clean the roof stains either by using chlorine bleach and phosphate concoctions or high pressure power washing. It was clear to them that high pressure would damage the integrity of the shingles, that phosphates are harmful to our waterways, and that bleach is a toxic chemical dangerous to the environment and to the people using it. They determined there was a huge need for a safe solution to the problem of roof algae, moss and lichen colonies so they worked with engineers and chemists to develop the eco-friendly Roof Shampoo® products and equipment in use today by contractors coast-to-coast. Roof Shampoo® contractors appreciate the opportunity to offer their customers this much needed service in a way that is thoughtful of environmental concerns. In return, we receive overwhelming appreciation from our customers who can now enjoy renewed curb appeal and a healthy roof.

Exterior Surface-Brite is a company that values quality, innovation, eco-friendly technology, and above all else, customer satisfaction. Their "A+" rating with the Better Business Bureau is documented evidence that they comply with the rigorous standards and requirements set forth by the BBB Standards of Trust.

Exterior Surface-Brite is the recipient of the prestigious GreenPeople Seal of Approval. To receive this honor Roof Shampoo® products and services underwent a Green Assessment and were checked against stringent eco-criteria, ingredients, supply sources, organic or other certifications, and the effect the product or service has on consumers and the environment.

Roof Shampoo® Contractors are independent contractors who provide professional, eco-friendly Roof Shampoo® roof cleaning services. Only those contractors listed on www.roofshampoo.com are authorized Roof Shampoo® service providers. Roof Shampoo® contractors have abundant lists of satisfied customers which include thousands of residential homeowners, community and condominium associations, historical societies, commercial property owners, and real estate agents who refer their clients to Roof Shampoo® Contractors.

Can you briefly explain your eco-friendly roof cleaning process?

We actually go onto the roof, not stand on the ground and spray bleach all over everything like many companies do. We take great care to maintain the integrity of the shingle while on the roof as well. We wear special boots with dense, replaceable foam pads on the bottom so any scuffing or twisting motion will break away the pad, not the granules on the shingle. We then spray our eco-friendly solution on the shingle. This causes any algae, fungus, moss, or mold to release from the granules entirely, root and all. Because of this, we are able to then wash everything off of the roof with a high volume, low pressure rinse thoroughly eradicating any vegetation.

What is the danger of using various chemicals to clean my roof?

Bleach can corrode roof fixtures such as flashing, underlayments, valleys, and boots. Consumer Reports® warns NOT to use the chlorine bleach solution described by the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association due to its damaging effects. Bleach will also permanently kill plants. Consumer Reports® Senior Editor praised the Roof Shampoo® method after having his own roof cleaned with Roof Shampoo®. Chlorine bleach has an intense chemical odor. The toxic fumes can drift a block away, exposing your neighbors as well.

Many contractors will add phosphates to their mixture as well which have been proven to poison watershed systems and have become illegal to use in 16 states, including Michigan.

In general, what is the importance of periodically cleaning my roof?

There are many good reasons to get a Roof Shampoo®. We have listed 7 important ones below:

Stop the damage that roof staining organisms are doing to your roof. These organisms, specifically algae, lichens, and moss are feeding off the organic material in your shingles. In other words, your shingles are their food source. The longer they are allowed to stay and feast off your shingles, the more damage they will cause.

Roof algae, lichens and/or moss can eat through your shingles and into your roof deck causing wood rot. When the wood rots, moisture gets in through the cracks and creates an environment hospitable to mold growth. And mold growth in a home can pose health risks to people and pets. Don't ignore roof stains. With a gentle, eco-friendly Roof Shampoo® costly roof repairs can be avoided BEFORE any permanent damage to your roof deck occurs.

Your insurance company can cancel your homeowners policy for having a dirty roof. Insurance companies are increasingly demanding that homeowners have their stained roofs cleaned. And they often only give a very short notice to do it. We've seen cases where the homeowner was given less than a week to comply or lose their insurance coverage. That's why it is SO VERY important to be proactive and have those roof stains professionally removed BEFORE you get that notice from your insurance company. Insurance companies know that untreated roof stains will negatively impact the overall integrity of the roof, which can also lead to mold growth INSIDE your home. Roof stains are seen as 'risks' that could cost them money in a claim.

A roof covered with algae, moss etc. is no longer able to efficiently reflect sunlight. The algae covered shingles absorb heat, thereby super-heating your attic and increasing your cooling costs. A Roof Shampoo® safely, gently, and completely removes the staining, restoring your roof back to its natural health and efficiency.

Having your roof cleaned by a Roof Shampoo® professional is the cost saving alternative to premature re-roofing. There is absolutely no need to prematurely re-roof when your roof can look like new again for a fraction of replacement costs.

Restore the beauty of your home. A dirty roof detracts from your home's curb appeal. You clean your siding, porches, and walkways. You may even apply weed control and fertilizers to spruce up your lawn and garden. But if you ignore those ugly roof stains, no matter what else you do to improve your home's exterior, those stains will be the main focal point of your home's exterior. And, if you are hoping to sell your house, roof cleaning is a must!

The integrity of your shingles and your roof can be compromised by these roof staining organisms which can actually attract animals to your home, and ultimately into your attic. Algae, lichens and moss can penetrate the shingles allowing moisture to get into the sheathing. This moisture can cause wood to rot. The odor of rotting wood attracts animals. Critter Control expert and President of Tennessee Wildlife Management, Inc. explains how a roof treated with Roof Shampoo® can help prevent an animal invasion. He states that animals "are actually attracted to the smell of rotting wood (mildew and mold) because in nature they have learned to associate that smell with food and shelter. Nine times out of ten, when we see an animal entry through a roof or fascia board, they have chosen to go through where wood has started to rot. They did not choose that spot randomly, nor did they just decide to go house hunting."

What are some damages that can occur with my roof if it is not cleaned properly?

If your roof is improperly cleaned various types of damage on the roof and around the home can occur, such as granule removal from high pressure cleaning, damage from bleach to any metal flashing on the roof, damage to landscape from use of bleach as well as poisoning of wells and watershed areas from the use of bleach and phosphates. Improperly rinsed roofs that were treated with bleach will also continue to kill landscape for weeks after the application.

What are the most common causes of roof stains? Anything I can do to limit these?

The most common cause of roof staining is shade and moisture. This is the environment that algae thrives in. This is why you typically see black algae stains on the north faces of your roof or under a tree that is to close to the house. The underlying cause of the algae in the first place is the addition of limestone to the slurry that the shingle is composed of. In the past, shingles were formed from asphalt and cotton. When the use of fiberglass and other synthetic materials came about, they were too light so limestone was added to the shingle to give it weight. Every time it rains the limestone leeches onto the surface of the shingle where the airborne algae lands and colonizes. Though a cleaning should last several years we believe our annual shingle maintenance program is the best way to keep it from coming back. Zinc strips are DEFINITELY not the answer. They are as ineffective as they are ugly. The strips are only effective for about 3 or 4 feet and completely lose their algae fighting ability after about 2 years when the algae inhibiting minerals have been completely depleted.

What's the best way for people to get in contact with you?

The best way to contact my company personally PRO EXTERIOR SHINE, which services Oakland, Macomb, Wayne, and Washtenaw counties, is by calling us at: 800-494-3711 There are several other Roof Shampoo® contractors around the state of Michigan as well. The best way to find them is to go to our main website at: www.roofshampoo.com and click the "locate a contractor" button.

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Darlene Lindquist

They told me I needed a new roof, but all I needed was it to be cleaned! Looks like a new roof. Your company saved me a lot of money! Thank You again!