Lichen is a small, plant like organisms that tend to grow on the surface of roof tiles. While they are not immediately harmful, lichen can cause long-term damage to your roof and even lead to respiratory issues for occupants of a property.
In this article, we’ll tackle lichen and explain what you need to do to keep lichen at bay and effectively prolong the life of your tile roof in Australia.
What is Lichen?
Lichen is s type of fungi that is known to grown on roofs, sidewalks, trees, and walls. If you’ve ever walked through a damp laneway or trail, you will have seen lichen on rocks, walls, and footpaths. Lichen can be green, white, purple, or even orang. With more than 20,000 known species of lichen, the exact appearance will depend on the environment and the type of lichen that is growing.
Lichen is an important part of the natural ecosystem. The plant is completely unique as both algae and fungi lie symbiotically within it. If you’ve noticed lichen growing on your roof, then one thing is for sure – it didn’t crop up out of nowhere. Lichen is extremely slow growing which means that by the time you notice it on the surface of your roof, it has likely been growing for months.
Why Does Lichen Grow on Roof Tiles?
Roof tiles provide an ideal natural ecosystem for lichen to grow and thrive. There are a range of different reasons why lichen might choose to grow on your roof including the presence of moisture, the lack of plants nearby, and the ability to get more sunlight (just like your solar panels).
Another reason that lichens grow on roofs is the presence of moisture. Lichens require moisture to survive and grow, which means that a damp roof in New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania, and Victoria as often the ideal natural environment.
Lichens are able to grow in places where most plants cannot. If there are no other plants around, then your roof is a pretty neat option for lichen to call home. Certain roof types are more predisposed to growing lichens, so it’s a good idea to check with your roofer before you build.
What Happens When Lichen Is Not Removed From Roof Tiles?
Lichen and roof tiles are not a match made in heaven. In fact, when left unattended, lichen can run rampant and cause serious damage to your roof tiles. Here are some of the most common problems that can occur when lichen is not removed from roof tiles:
Moisture is trapped: Lichen has a nasty habit of trapping moisture, which can lead to the growth of mould and mildew.
Accelerated deterioration: Lichen can cause your roof to deteriorate faster and can also lead to health problems for those inside the home. Just like mould, lichen can cause respiratory issues when left untreated on your roof.
Unsightly appearance: A lichen-ridden roof is a sure-fire sign that a home has not been as well cared for as it can be. Lichen on your roof can lower curb appeal and even lower the perceived value of your home when you’re looking to sell.
There is nothing charming about a neglected roof. Unless your home is a set for the Lord of the Rings, you’ll want to make sure that lichen is cleaned and removed ASAP.
How to Remove Lichen From Roof Tiles
Removing lichen from your roof starts by identifying problem areas. Firstly, you’ll want to identify which type of lichen is growing on your roof. Generally speaking, there are two main types of lichen: foliose and fruticose. Foliose lichen looks like flat, leafy growths, while fruticose lichen appears as small, shrub-like growths. Once you’ve identified the type of lichen, you can choose the best method for removal.
For foliose lichen: start by using a stiff brush or pressure washer to remove the growth from roof tiles. Best sure to work carefully so that you don’t cause any new damage to your roof in the process.
For fruticose lichen: you’ll need to use a chemical solution. There are many commercial products available, or you can make your own by mixing bleach with water at a predetermined level.
Once the lichen has been removed, you’ll want to take steps to ensure that it doesn’t just grow straight back. This usually includes trimming trees and surrounding shrubs that are touching your roof. From there, you can install a copper strip around the edge of your roof and apply a fungicide to the affected roof tiles. With a little effort, you can prevent lichen from damaging your roof and effectively prolong the life of you roof.
Just like anything, you get what you pay for. Paying a professional roofing company to tackle the lichen on your roof can be one of the best investments that you make for the longevity of your roof. Get in touch with a local roofing professional to diagnose and treat lichen before it becomes a serious and costly problem on your roof.