Your home’s roof is an essential feature that may develop some unwanted growth. Lichens are a part of nature that you may find on or inside your roof, and understanding it will help you eliminate it. Learn more about what lichen is and how to get rid of it to keep your roof free of any significant green.

What Is Lichen?

You may have seen lichen in different parts of forested areas or on stone paths where there’s typically moisture. This growth is a symbiotic relationship between various algae and fungi. The fungi are the dominant agent and create similar growth and appearance in lichen.

The algae gain energy from photosynthesis to provide nutrients for the fungi, and the fungi provide a structure for the algae to live in. Lichen grows in numerous parts of nature and may also grow in various human-made structures. The growth has a light or dull green color and a clustered appearance with multiple bumps or a splattered effect on surfaces.

The Hazards of Lichen

Lichen may be a bad sign when found in certain areas. On trees, a spreading patch of lichen is a warning sign of a dying tree.

The presence of lichen is indicative of a toxic environment in commercial buildings. Rapidly growing lichen occurs as a result of nitrogen and sulfur dioxide present, which you can often find in factories that burn materials. Look for the presence of lichen to discover if the building area is hazardous to your health.

Homeowners should ensure there isn’t a growing lichen patch on their roofs. Lichen is one of the most hazardous growths to have on your roof’s shingles since it can greatly weaken the surface.

The presence of lichens in any building results in damage to stone and woodwork due to their chemical makeup and the amount of moisture they build up. Sidewalks, driveways, shingles, walls, and any other surface may deteriorate faster when there’s a strong presence of lichen, especially in the winter when the moisture freezes.

The Benefits of Lichen

Although lichen is typically undesirable, its growth has a few perks. Since lichen absorbs moisture, it regulates how much moisture may build up on a surface. Areas that experience a significant amount of runoff may benefit from the presence of lichen to lessen the amount of water.

Lichen may indicate the presence of toxins because pollutants in the air allow it to grow. The lichen absorbs the pollutant, cleaning the air and extending its symbiosis to humans. However, it’s important to remember that these benefits are specific to controlled settings when there isn’t rapid growth that overtakes a surface. Although lichens may benefit parts of your home, they may be the cause of its deterioration.

How Lichen Grows on Your Roof

Lichen may find its way onto your roof in various ways. Algae and fungi make contact when the wind blows them onto the same surface, such as your roof. Once they’ve begun bonding and reproducing, more wind may cause faster growth from any organic debris blown onto its surface, providing necessary nutrients.

Trees in your area lose leaves that may end up being the fodder lichen needs to grow. All they need is a windy day to blow the leaves onto your roof that slowly break down and feed the lichen.

Nearby patches of lichen may also spread algae spores that travel through the air and embed themselves into your roof shingles. The spores eventually grow and may find some fungus to interact with, creating continuously growing lichen.

Where To Find Lichen on Your Roof

You’ll usually find lichen out in the open since it requires air to grow. Check along the surface of your roof where organic debris latches onto the shingles.

Inspect loose shingles that may catch leaves and become a primary location of moisture buildup for lichen to thrive. Lichen spreads in patches and has a noticeable discoloration, making it easy to spot, especially against the darker colors of asphalt or concrete shingles.

Getting Rid of Lichen

The presence of lichen on your roof may be alarming, but you can use several techniques to eliminate it. Because of its deep-rooted nature, you’ll need to approach removing lichen from your roof carefully to avoid removing the shingles.

Begin the removal process carefully and apply various chemicals in moderate doses before applying more for a thorough cleaning. Use non-abrasive scrubbers to avoid damaging the shingles and causing a loss in durability.


Bleach is a cleaner that resolves numerous messes and stains; it’s especially effective for organic growth. Use a mixture of water and bleach and apply it directly to the lichen to avoid causing chemical damage to the shingles. Make sure you apply the bleach around the afflicted area to reduce the chance of spreading the growth.

Use a long-handled brush to avoid contacting the lichen, causing it to spread to other surfaces you touch. Start with small circular strokes and slowly work your way outward. Rinse the area off to determine if you need to repeat the process and how much damage the lichen caused.

Water and Soap

The classic mixture of water and soap is enough to remove lichen from most surfaces. You may need soap with a pH level of 11 or higher to dissolve the lichen’s attachment to the roof. Apply a layer of warm water and soap and let it soak into the lichen.

Use a long-handled brush to scrub away the growth with moderate pressure. Avoid dipping the brush into the water and soap bucket after touching the lichen as remnants may attach to the side so the bucket or contaminate the mixture.

Outdoor Cleaner

Numerous outdoor cleaners specialize in getting rid of organic growth. Look for options that don’t include harsh chemicals that could damage your roof.

Many formulas have an all-in-one purpose and can clear up mold, mildew, lichen, and many other growths found around homes or on roofs. Spray the cleaner on top of the lichen, making the removal easier as it breaks down.

Hire a Roofing Company for Removal

Many roofing companies like Conde Roofing and Construction offer services for roof repair. These services include the removal of organic growth, such as lichen.

Our residential roof repair service team will effectively clear your roof and create a lichen-free environment. Replacing and repairing shingles is a common service, and we’ll resolve any moisture or debris buildup that may lead to lichen growth or roof damage.

Lichen growth is a common effect of nature that can cause damage to your roof. Knowing what lichen is and how to remove it is important to protect your roof and ensure proper maintenance. Contact us today to learn more about lichen and its effects on your home. Together, we will tackle the problem and ensure your property remains in good shape.

Lichen: What It Is and How To Remove It From Your Roof