roof moss removal

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Roof Moss Removal Cost

Most people remove moss from their roofs because they don’t like the look of it but moss can in fact cause other problems if left untreated. Roof moss removal cost is usually charged by most contractors by the square footage but there are other factors that can alter the price. Moss can be removed in one of two ways, either by hand or by using a pressure washer. The average price per square metre for hand removal and a biocide treatment is £9 and for pressure washing, the average price is £16 per square metre. So what does this mean in terms of a whole roof as most people don’t know the exact measurements of their roof? The average figures look like this..

  • Small roof moss removal cost – hand removal and biocide treatment - £443, pressure washing - £785
  • Medium roof moss removal cost – hand removal and biocide treatment - £512, pressure washing – £906
  • Large roof moss removal cost – hand removal and biocide treatment - £580, pressure washing - £1,026

Last Updated: October 2022

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Of the two methods of roof moss removal, the cheapest cost is hand-scraping. You can reduce the price even further if you leave out a biocide treatment but this just means the moss may re-grow more quickly and you have to repeat the process again sooner. Pressure washing is the alternative - it is more expensive although it can be quicker but there is always the risk of damage to the slates or tiles.

An alternative to a pressure washer is a high-pressure cleaner; this is called a dirt blaster. It has a special rotary nozzle that easily lifts dirt and moss. Dirt blasters are sometimes too vigorous to be used on period or weathered roofs so there is another tool called a V-ray which uses water spray heading in a downwards direction so the water does not penetrate into the roof.

What are the factors that influence roof moss removal cost?

The cost of cleaning and removing moss from your roof will vary and is dependent on a number of different considerations.  These include:-

  • The accessibility of the roof for the cleaning company
  • Whether or not the property is listed and requires extra care – a listed building may not be a candidate for pressure washing because of the risk of damage
  • How much moss and debris is on the roof currently
  • The size of the roof
  • The design of the roof – a complex roof with different pitches and gullies always take longer

Are there likely to be any hidden costs?

The biggest hidden charge when you are budgeting for roof moss removal costs is literally what the moss could be hiding underneath it.  Moss that has been present for a long period of time may be removed to reveal damage and deterioration which is going to need repair and refurbishment.  Roof moss can hide a multitude of problems.

Why does moss proliferate on roofs?

Moss just loves the British climate.  It can survive without any nutrients other than water which is why it grows happily on hard surfaces like rocks, walls and roofing materials.  When the moss is ripe, the moss spores can be blown about and start spreading and growing.

What kind of damage does moss cause?

Untreated moss that is allowed to accumulate can cause damage to roof tiles and longer-term damage to the actual roof structure through the retention of excess water – moss effectively acts like a sponge.  It is an incredible limpet-like plant that can adhere to any surface without seemingly needing any form of nutrition other than water.  Moss weakens roof tiles and slates and widens cracks and it is surprisingly difficult to remove in its entirety. It can weaken the bond where cement and other materials are used to hold roof joins together.  Roof moss has thin root-like growths known as rhizoids and even when the main plant is removed, there will still be tiny traces of the roots on the surface of the roof material which have to be carefully lifted away.

A proliferation of moss will also cause problems with blocked guttering because inevitably, some moss will work loose and be washed down the roof during bad weather, blocking rainwater goods and causing further problems.

Pitched roofs are designed for the water to travel down the roofing material into guttering which then carries it away from the property.  Moss can impede the progress of the rainwater and absorb the water instead of allowing it to drain away.  Water can begin to accumulate in the wrong places.  If moisture travels underneath the roof tiles or slates then it can start to rot the wooden components of the roof itself which may lead to costly repairs later on.

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Why spend extra money on a biocide treatment?

A biocide treatment is a chemical agent which will kill and remove the existing moss and slow down the process of recolonisation, it is the same type of treatment used to remove moss from patios and driveways.  Without the use of a biocide treatment, moss will return even more quickly and increase the cost of roof moss removal.

Are there ways to save money on moss removal?

Moss removal isn’t a complicated task – it just requires roof access and a moss scraping tool.  For most householders, the issue lies with access to the roof – single-storey buildings like bungalows are not usually a problem as they can be accessed with the average ladder and so can be tackled by the homeowner but a standard house with a ground and first floor are not usually within the reach of most people plus there are significant safety issues when working at height.

How to find the right contractor to remove moss from a roof?

Cleaning roofs and removing moss is very popular at the moment, there seem to be literally hundreds of companies that offer this service so how do you know which one is the best one to choose?

It is really important to find a reputable contractor as cowboy roof cleaning companies can do a lot of damage to your roof and some of it may not be visible to you from the ground when they have finished.

Ask for a word of mouth recommendation from a friend, neighbour or colleague but bear in mind that they may have a house with a roof very different to yours; what might work wonders on a modern property with concrete tiles may not be suitable for an older period property with delicate rosemary tiles or slates.

Social media community or neighbourhood groups can be a good source of recommendations and also give the opportunity to view properties nearby that have had their roofs cleaned by the firm you want to use.

Obtain three or four estimates; accepting the first quote you receive will almost always mean you end up paying more money than you need to.  Obtaining a few quotes will give you a feel for how much you should be paying.

Always check out what the process is if the roof is damaged.  Ask the contractor what their policy is if there is damage and whether they carry insurance.

How to minimise the growth of moss

The main way to minimise the cost of roof moss removal is to use a biocide treatment that inhibits the growth of the moss in the first place; this can reduce the frequency of roof moss removal and thus the cost.

Moss and algae grow faster where there is an absence of sunlight or in damp shaded areas. If you have trees near the property then keeping the branches trimmed back will allow sunlight to break through and remove the dark, damp canopy that moss loves. Sometimes it is possible to remove trees and this can alter the proliferation of moss hugely; unfortunately, it is not always permitted to just cut trees down indiscriminately.  If you want to remove trees then you will need to check first with your local council.

Installing copper ridges on the roof can also help to prevent moss from growing on roof tiles.  When rainwater falls on the ridges, a coppery residue is released which runs down the roof discouraging moss from growing.

Some companies sell anti-moss coatings which can be applied after the roof has been cleaned and the moss removed.  First, the roof is usually covered with a primer which has to be left to dry for several hours.  Next, the coating is applied as a smooth moisture-proof layer which makes it harder for moss to adhere to the tiles or slates beneath.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why can’t the moss just be left for heavy rain to wash away?

Heavy rain can have a similar effect on roof moss as pressure washing but unfortunately, heavy rain will just wash the moss away into the guttering causing blockages or it will accumulate on the ground in a mess, creating surfaces that are hazardous and slippery.  Water can be useful for removing moss but the moss needs to be manually collected from the roof.

Are there any health issues for the residents of the house associated with moss on the roof?

If there is a lot of moss on the roof of a house then there may also be algae.  Algae grow in standing water and like the damp conditions that moss also thrive in.  Damp staining on a roof can be algae and the presence of algae can encourage other unwanted visitors like mould and fungi.  Whilst mould spores and algae cannot directly penetrate from the roof into the upstairs rooms, their presence is generally undesirable particularly if the household contains people who suffer from respiratory conditions like asthma.

Does roof moss cause any other problems?

Roof moss does just look very unattractive and can considerably reduce the kerb appeal of a house if it is for sale on the open market.  It can also convey to a prospective purchaser rightly or wrongly that the house has not been well cared for.

Is moss on the roof really a problem?  Why bother to clear it if it is just going to come back again?

Moss on the roof is a problem and if you have the sort of location where moss proliferates then it isn’t going to get any better if anything, it will just get worse eventually causing damage to the roof materials and frame.

Can removing moss reveal a worse problem?

Removing moss which has been present for a long time can reveal damage to the roof material and the joins which can require costly repair.  If you are buying a house that has moss on the roof, it may be difficult for a surveyor or contractor to adequately inspect the roof to make an assessment.

How do I know if a house has a roof moss problem before I buy it?

If moss has been removed, there can sometimes be telltale signs with a very faint pattern from the roots left on the tiles or slates.  See if you can find any other pictures of the property online which may have been taken at a different time of year; sometimes this can relate to a previous sale.  Even if the roof is clear of moss and this was done before the house was put on the market, there may still be the old telltale patch or some moss in the guttering.  Look out for dark, shady areas next to the house and clumps of trees.

Keeping your roof free from moss

Keeping your roof free from moss is one of those inevitable maintenance tasks that just get worse if you leave it.  Regular care and cleaning will:-

  • Keep your roof looking good, ideal if you want to sell
  • Prevent the moss causing damage to the roofing material and roof joins and protect a key part of your home’s structure
  • Reduce the roof moss removal cost overall if you use a biocide and/or an anti-moss coating after cleaning

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