How To Remove Moss From Wood Shingles? [3 Steps]

Looking up to find that your home is covered with green or brown moss can be very unsettling. A small amount of moss may seem harmless initially, but as it grows it can cause many issues for homeowners. But what causes moss to develop on rooftops? And can you prevent it from coming back, if so, how? We've looked into this subject and will answer these questions for you.

Here are the steps to remove moss from wood shingles:

  1. Prep the surrounding landscaping
  2. Apply a moss removal solution
  3. Take preventive steps to prevent future growth

Ignoring growing moss on your wood roof is not the wisest choice to make--especially if you live in an area that has a humid climate regularly. Following these simple steps will result in a moss-free roof both now and hopefully in the future. Let's take a closer look at this moss-removal method.

Molds growing on the shingles of a house, How To Remove Moss From Wood Shingles? [3 Steps]

How To Remove Moss From Wood Shingles

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Wooden shingles of a house with molds growing on it

Things you'll need:

  • Tall ladder with extension
  • Garden hose
  • Plastic tarp
  • Putty knife
  • Push broom with a wand
  • Soft-bristle brush
  • Commercial or homemade moss killer

1. Prep the surrounding landscaping

Start by placing tarps on the grass and any over landscape favorites that you don't want to come in contact with the moss removal solution. Also, do a quick check to make sure that your ladder has a clear pathway to be positioned around the perimeter of the home. This includes removing any rocks, large items, or debris that may block the path of the ladder while you're working.

Click here to see this tarp on Amazon.

2. Apply a moss removal solution

Start at the back of the house and position your ladder against your siding. Next, climb the ladder and spray your moss removal solution onto the roof. Be sure to cover only one section at a time, repositioning the ladder to move to the next section. If you are using a garden sprayer or spray bottle, mix your solution ahead of time.

Next, take a long-handled brush and scrub off the moss. It's best to scrub from the top to the bottom to avoid lifting the shingles and accidentally pulling them out. Be sure not to scrape too aggressively. You don't want to scour or crack the shingles.

Click here to see this scrubber brush on Amazon.

If you have a significant amount of moss on the roof, it may require more than a quick scrub. And if you are using a store-bought moss removal agent, it's best to look at the directions to note how long the solution needs to stay on the roof before you scrub it off. 

Click here to see Wet & Forget on Amazon.

Sometimes moss can become so attached to the shingles that it will require more effort to dislodge. In this case, it's best to grab a simple putty knife to lift the moss from the shingles. To use a putty knife to remove the moss, you will need to climb the roof. If you are uncomfortable with this, it may be time to call a roof cleaning expert.

Click here to see this putty knife on Amazon. 

If not, start at the bottom of the roof and work your way to the ridge, gently lifting away any moss that has become matted on top of the shingles. Use the sharp edge of the putty knife to gently scrape the surface of the shingles. If there is moss between the seams of the shingles, turn your putty knife sideways and use the corners to gently scrape it away.

3. Take preventive steps to prevent future growth

Now it's time to prevent future moss from growing on the roof. Installing copper or zinc strips on your rooftop can help to prevent moss from returning in the future. These copper and zinc strips can be installed just below the top ridge of the roof on both sides.

Start by unrolling the strips. Then, starting at the bottom of the roof, place the strips beneath the last 3 bottom inches of the shingles. You may need to use a prybar or a putty knife to lift the shingle initially. Once the shingle is lifted, nail the strip down with a hammer.

Click here to see these copper strips on Amazon.

Making A Homemade Moss Cleaner

Prefer to make your own homemade cleaner instead? Here are 3 quick DIY moss cleaners that you can make on your own:

  1. Combine 2 ounces of dish soap with 1 gallon of water (Let the solution sit for 5-7 minutes).
  2. Add 1 to 3 cups of white distilled vinegar to 1 gallon of water (Let the solution sit for 5-7 minutes).
  3. Combine 1 pound of powdered oxygen bleach with 1 gallon of water (Let the solution sit for 2-3 minutes).

It's best to apply the above solutions to the roof before scrubbing it with your brush. They'll need to sit for a few minutes so that they have time to loosen the moss from the shingles. If you find that the moss is still proving tough to remove, take your putty knife and manually scrape it away.

Tips On Moss Cleaners

When you start shopping for moss-removing products, you'll find that they typically come in two types: liquid and dry powders. Let's discuss how to use both of them.

Liquid removers

Liquid moss removers typically come in a container with an attached spray nozzle so that they can be attached to a garden hose. These types of removers can be applied from the ground level, negating the need for a ladder or direct contact with the roof.

However, you will typically need a ladder to remove the dead moss after the application. It's important to know that you'll need sufficient water pressure to apply liquid removers to the top ridge of the roof.

One of the biggest benefits of liquid moss removers is that they cover a greater surface area and do so more evenly than dry powder removers. When working with liquid moss removers, it's best to mentally plan out how you will tackle each section of the roof and where you will you start.

It can be challenging to track your progress while you're spraying the roof so this can be helpful to make sure that you are as efficient as possible--and not applying the solution to the same section twice.

Dry powder removers

Powdered cleaners are sprinkled onto the moss in horizontal lines alongside the shingles of the home, typically about one to three feet apart. When it rains, the rainwater mixes with the moss remover, causing it to disintegrate as it runs down the siding of the home. So with these types of cleaners, a bit of planning is necessary to ensure that they are applied before the next rain.

The biggest problem with dry moss removers is that it can be difficult to apply them evenly across the roof. They are also known to leave gray or white streaks on the roof that may take weeks to wash away with subsequent rains. Lastly, dry powder can also blow off a roof before the next rain, causing homeowners to have to re-apply it, which can be a burden.

What Causes Moss To Grow On The Roof?

Moss on asphalt shingles of a roof

Wet, humid weather is the ideal place for moss to grow. Things that contribute to its growth include moisture, humidity, shade, and a surface with a high pH level of 5 or above. Once moss has grown on a surface, it can prove rather difficult to remove, especially in warmer temperatures.

Should You Remove Moss From The Roof?

You should definitely have a plan to remove the moss on your roof, as it will continue to grow and can ultimately create issues for your home. Moss can cause significant damage to shingles by breaking them down and causing them to rot and become ineffective.

Ultimately, this can spread rather quickly across the surface of your roof, making it unsafe and susceptible to damage from rain, snow, and other outside elements. Also, as moss grows and thickens, it will start to raise the shingles, causing them to eventually fall off.

Will Vinegar Kill Moss On Shingles?

Yes, vinegar has proven to be an effective all-natural solution to killing moss on roof shingles. By combining 1-3 cups of distilled vinegar with a gallon of water, you can create your own homemade moss removal solution.

How Do You Stop Moss Growing On The Roof?

One of the most common ways to prevent moss from growing on your roof is to install copper or zinc strips beneath the shingles, which are toxic to moss. The strips are rather inexpensive and can be layered across the roof. The strips can come in pre-cut slabs of two to four feet or in rolls.

When rainwater touches the roof, molecules from the strips washes down onto the roof, creating an environment that discourages the growth of moss and algae. It's also best to keep your roof as debris-free as possible to help prevent moisture-rich areas where moss can grow. This means removing any fallen tree branches, blown trash, and bird's nests as soon as possible.

Molds growing on the sides of a house near the gutters

Wrapping Things Up

We hope that this post has given you all of the information that you need to remove moss from your roof and prevent it from returning. But before you go, be sure to check out some of our other posts:

What Color Siding Goes With A Brown Roof?

How Long Does A Wood Roof Last?

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