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Up on the roof

September 12, 2020

I don’t know how I manage to convince myself every year that the roof is a one day job. It isn’t. It never has been. It never will be. (Well, maybe it could be if I actually started at 8am and kept going until 6pm, but that’s never going to happen.)

So, yes, yesterday I finally got up there. Inspiration? The chimney guy came round at 11am yesterday to clean the chimney in preparation for the winter. Of course he needs the ladder to get up on the roof and once it was in position, there really was no excuse not to get myself up there after he left.

Good news. The only signs of creosote were in the cap. The rest of the chimney was fine. I’ve obviously been burning good wood.

While he was here we had a chat about the crap summer we’ve had. Juneuary rolling into July this year was rather hard to take, we agreed. I said there was one day in July when I actually broke down and put the fire on. He said he knew exactly which day it was, because he and his wife did the same. Mind you, they started their fire in the morning, whereas I (a good Brit) did not break down until early evening. I have never once had a fire going in July before. Not once. Unlike me, he also broke down and got a fire going in our week and a half of Augtober, as, he reported, did many other households on the island. August. A fire in August. What a crap summer.

Anyway, after he left I climbed up on the roof with the broom and my bag of tricks (bottle of water, scraper, Windex and paper towels).

Sweeping the fir needles and other detritus off is job one. Then there’s scraping the moss. Then there’s cleaning out the eavestroughs. Then there’s cleaning the skylights.

It’s the moss scraping. You either do it or you don’t. If you don’t do it, eventually you will need a new roof (as Mike and I discovered many years ago to our cost). If you are going to do it, you might as well do it properly. And that takes time.

Well, one side of the roof is completely done (except for the skylights), the other side two thirds done (well, maybe a half). Mind you, the side that’s done was the easy side, the side that actually gets a lot of sun on it, thus less susceptible to moss. I always start with that side and I really shouldn’t. It takes half the time.

They say strips of zinc attached to the peak of the roof will stop moss growing. That would be fine if the eavestrough didn’t run into the cistern. Pretty sure zinc added to tap water is not a good idea.

Hmm. Quick break to Google “is zinc bad for you?” and find this.

Yes, if you get too much. Signs of too much zinc include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach cramps, diarrhea, and headaches. When people take too much zinc for a long time, they sometimes have problems such as low copper levels, lower immunity, and low levels of HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol).

How much is too much?

My 98-year-old neighbour Pat swears by spreading Tide detergent on the roof. I did try that one year (after disengaging the eavestrough from the cistern) and it does work. Unfortunately, as someone later informed me, it also pulls the oils out of the shingles, causing them to deteriorate more quickly. So, good news, bad news.

Oh, but wait. Another Google search reveals:

Since moss grows in a pH environment around 5.0-6.0, changing the environment to an alkaline level it will effectively kill the moss. This makes baking soda a great product to use. By mixing it with water or by applying it directly, it can kill moss in yards, off of roofs or other unwanted areas.

Well, that is good to know.

So, time for some breakfast, then back up on the roof with the baking soda.

Meanwhile, I leave you with this.

From → Blog

4 Comments
  1. krysross permalink

    like your baking soda solution. let me know how it works. we’re heading back to the cottage tomorrow and testing whether spraying our road with a vinegar solution will in fact keep the weeds down. The first 40 ft or so of road flood every year and the weeds can get pretty serious. We usually use machetes to hack them down but that’s getting a bit vigorous. Fingers crossed that vinegar spray will do the job.

    Enjoyed the song.

  2. janeshead permalink

    I’ve heard good things about zinc strips. I think Brita filters filter out zinc?

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