How To Remove Moss From Roof For Good

Overgrown moss on your roof may make your home feel like it is deep in a magical woodland forest. But in reality, moss is not a good thing when it is growing on your home, despite the magical feeling that comes along with it.

roof moss removal

Moss in your yard can also mean trouble if it is natural. However, you can grow your own moss safely as there are varieties that are safe to use around other plants and that can survive in any region.

Why Does Moss Grow On Roofs?

Moss forms from spores that are carried by the wind or rain. The reason it doesn’t grow in your yard often is that moss doesn’t usually grow where healthy plants, including grass, are already thriving. 

But it can grow on your roof because there is a good place for the shallow roots to grow and because there aren’t any other plants there. Also, your roof sees a lot of rain, which will help the moss grow quickly. 

As pretty as moss can be, it is not good for your roof as it can pull up shingles, grow underneath wood, and damage your roof. When this happens, your roof will be prey to leaks, pests, and other dangers.

Types Of Moss On Roof

Types Of Moss On RoofView in gallery

Moss is actually a broad term to use, such as grass or mold, to describe a certain type of growth. That’s because moss is small, non-vascular flowerless plants that grow shallow and don’t get very tall.

Although you should treat all moss the same, here are the most common types of moss you may find in your yard or on your roof.

Cushion Moss – Leucobryum glaucum

Color: Gray-green leaves and dark brown stems.

Region: Eastern North America and Europe.

Info: This moss gets its name from the soft, pillow-like mound that can be up to two feet wide. It is known for being able to withstand droughts whereas other mosses need moisture at all times.

Mood Moss – Dicranum scoparium

Color: Dark green.

Region: Native to North America

Info: Also known as rock cap moss, this moss is tightly packed but very short. The moss often looks wind-blown with leaves curving in just one direction.

Sheet Moss – Hypnum cupressiforme​​

Color: Dark green to brown.

Region: Everywhere

Info: This small moss can grow almost anywhere, with climate mattering little to none. It is so hearty that you can buy it in sheets, alive.

Feather Moss – Hypnum imponens

Color: Lime green

Region: Eastern US, Canada, and Northern Europe.

Info: This stringy moss grows well in the shade and with acidic soil. It looks like a short and flat conifer tree.

Shiny Seductive Moss – Entodon seductrix

Color: Dark green

Region: North America

Info: This moss looks like a scaly carpet. It can grow in large amounts and tend to take over whatever it grows in, hence the interesting name. 

Fire Moss – Ceratodon purpureus

Color: Golden-green leaves.

Region: Everywhere

Info: This bright red moss can grow anywhere, and we do mean anywhere. Though it is most famous for growing on recently-burned land.

Plume Moss – Ptilium crista-castrensis

Color: Light green and orange leaves.

Region: Canada and Northern Europe.

Info: This feathery, yet thick, moss grows on forest floors, taking over and creating nature’s carpet. 

Spoon-Leaved Moss – Bryoandersonia illecebra

Color: Bright green to brown

Region: United States

Info: Another scaly type of moss, this one starting out bright green before turning brown in old age and dying. 

Fern Moss – Thuidium delicatulum

Color: Bright green and light brown.

Region: North and South America and Europe.

Info: Fern moss has leaves that look like ferns. It is a common moss used in floral arrangements because it grows so fast. 

Common Haircap Moss – Polytrichum commune

Color: Green and reddish-brown.

Region: Western hemisphere.

Info: This moss is wiry and looks like stars from above. It is appealing and easy to spot.

Common Peat Moss – Sphagnum centrale

Color: Yellow-green to golden-brown.

Region: Northern US, Canada, and Europe.

Info: This type of moss can only grow in very high-moisture areas like swamps and bogs. 

Warnstorf’s Peat Moss – Sphagnum warnstorfii

Color: Red.

Region: US, Canada, and Europe.

Info: You won’t mistake this moss for any other moss. Not only is it red, but it is bright red and stands out in swamps. 

Baby Tooth Moss – Plagiomnium cuspidatum

Color: Green and orange

Region: North America, Africa, and Asia.

Info: This short moss is also short-lived. It stays a baby and doesn’t grow to be very large. 

American Tree Moss – Climacium americanum

Color: Green and reddish-brown

Region: Eastern US and Canada.

Info: This dense moss looks like tiny trees and creates a tiny forest when it grows together. 

Juniper Moss – Polytrichum juniperinum

Color: Green with reddish-brown tip.

Region: Everywhere

Info: This moss also looks like tiny trees and it can grow anywhere on earth. 

Big Shaggy-Moss – Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus

Color: Dark green and reddish-brown

Region: Northern Hemisphere

Info: This messy, fuzzy moss does its name justice. It is long, shaggy, and loos unkept. 

Hoary Fringe-Moss – Racomitrium canescens

Color: Dark green to light brown

Region: US, Canada, and Europe

Info: This star-shaped moss is quite sturdy. It can even grow in sandy soil found in deserts and drylands. 

Star Moss – Tortula ruralis

Color: Dark green to yellow-green

Region: North America and Europe

Info: This moss has star-shaped stems and is often used in terrariums because it is easy to grow and plentiful. 

Heath Star Moss – Campylopus introflexus

Color: Yellow or green

Region: South America, Africa, and Australia

Info: This pretty moss grows tall and loose, with silver tips that help identity it.

Tousled Treasure – Callicladium haldanianum

Color: Green to brown.

Region: Eastern US and Canada

Info: This moss grows in carpets and can cover entire forest floors if left untouched. 

Springy Turf Moss – Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus

Color: Green and red 

Region: Northern Hemisphere

Info: This moss often grows in yards and can grow up to six inches tall with each stem being bent.

Glittering Wood Moss – Hylocomium splendens

Color: Green and red

Region: Northern Hemisphere

Info: This may sound like a Christmas plant because the moss is large and shiny, looking much like a fantasy moss in the sunlight. 

Common Smoothcap Moss – Atrichum undulatum

Color: Grey-green 

Region: Europe, North America, and Japan.

Info: Also known as Catherine’s moss, this silvery moss shines as well and is star-shaped.

Dwarf Haircap Moss – Pogonatum aloides

Color: Reddish-green

Region: Europe

Info: This short moss has leaves that grow in a rosette formation, so it looks like an aloe plant. 

Rigid Beard Moss – Didymodon rigidulus

Color: Dark orange-green

Region: North and South America and Europe.

Info: This moss has tiny leaves that clump together. This is the type of moss that often grows between cracks in the sidewalk. You may recognize the slight orange tint to the leaves.

How To Remove Moss From Roof

How To Remove Moss From RoofView in gallery

While you can get over-the-counter roof moss killer, you still need to apply the moss killer safely and efficiently. Here are the simple steps you can take to ensure that the moss is taken care of and doesn’t come back.

Note: wear non-slip shoes, gloves, a mask, and cover your limbs. This will prevent you from slipping and protect you from any dangers, like bugs or mold, that may be waiting for you on the roof.

Step 1: Clean The Roof

After preparing yourself with gear, get a ladder and secure it to the house. Then, bring a hose with a nozzle that you can control to the roof. Starting at the top, spray the loose moss and dirt off as if power washing. 

Have a second person use a long-handled soft-bristle scrub brush to brush the area after you spray it. Work together in small sections to ensure each others’ safety through the process. Take your time.

Step 2: Apply Moss Remover

You can either use an over-the-counter moss killer or you can create your own moss killer with dish soap, bleach, or vinegar. After mixing the solution, apply it to the moss and let it sit for about 30 minutes or so.

Then, lightly scrub it down and rinse it with water one more time. This should do the trick and the moss should be gone. Make sure to mix water with any homemade solution you use so you won’t damage the roof. 

Step 3: Preventative Measures

While you’re up on the roof, go ahead and stop the moss problem from returning by installing strips of zinc or copper-coated sheet metal on either side of the roof. It’s a good idea to get help with the process to prevent cuts and falls. 

Related: 20 Spectacular Houses Featuring Green Roofs

Roof Moss Removal Services 

If all else fails and you can’t get rid of the moss for good, hire a professional. They can install preventative measures for you after they finish and perhaps even make repairs if the moss has damaged the roof.

This will be more expensive than other options but it is much safer and easier as well. You likely won’t pay more than $500 or $600 for a job like this, which is a good price for a clean and safe roof.