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What to do if there is mildew, algae, or moss growing on your tile roof?

Many of the regions where roof tile is prevalent are susceptible to mildew and/or algae growth due the prevailing environmental conditions. Mildew is not analogous to roofing products as it can also form on any exterior surface including stucco, siding and driveways.

Mildew and algae do not grow directly on the roof tile. The amassing of dust and other organic materials that may settle on the surface of tile facilitates growth. When moisture and sunlight are present, spores will begin to grow. Many variables play a role in the growth of mildew, algae and moss such as the location of the structure, exposure to the sun, exposure to dew, surrounding trees and bodies of water. Environmental factors such as wind, changes in rain patterns and even animal activity will contribute to the accumulation of algae on a roof.

Mildew and algae growth can occur at any time during the life of the roof, and many factors will contribute to its presence, or reemergence on a previously cleaned roof. Man-made factors, including grading and excavation, tree trimming, CO2 emissions and even gutter cleaning can and will foster an environment where spores are released; promoting mildew and algae growth.

Don’t worry, there is something you can do, and you don’t necessarily need a new roof.  Most of the damage that mildew and algae does is completely superficial.  A roofing company will be able to come out and make sure your underlayment isn’t damaged and clean your roof with a water pressure cleaner.  According to Eagle roofing products who produce concrete roofing tiles, a pressure cleaner set at a maximum of 1200 psi should be used.  

If you decide to clean your roof yourself instead of hiring a professional, keep these 2 tips in mind.  

1) The tip of the nozzle on the pressure cleaner should be kept approximately 12 to 24 inches from the surface of the tile.Limiting the pressure and maintaining a safe distance from the surface of the tile is intended to prevent damaging the surface.

2) The addition of a mildew inhibiting solution should be limited to a 90% water, 10% solution ratio.

Roof tile manufacturers have no control over mildew or algae growth, but it can be easily removed or treated without compromising the integrity of the concrete tile.


On this tile
the knife
like a sickle-moon hangs
in the painted air
as if it had learned a dance
of its own,
the way the boy has  
among the vivid  
breakable flowers,  
the way Abraham has  
among the boulders,  
his two feet heavy  
as stones.


God’s hand here
is the size of a tiny cloud,  
and the wordless tablets  
he holds out
curve like the temple doors.  
Moses, reaching up
must see on their empty surface  
laws chiseled in his mind  
by the persistent wind  
of the desert, by wind  
in the bulrushes.


We know by the halos  
that circle these heads  
like rings around planets  
that the small donkey
has carried his burden  
away from the thunder  
of the Old Testament  
into the lightning
of the New.


Under the bright glazes  
Esau watches Jacob,  
Cain watches Abel.
With the same heavy eyes
the tilemaker’s Arab assistant  
watches me,
all of us wondering  
why for every pair  
there is just one  



Linda Pastan  (B.1932)


Graphic - George Underwood  (B.1947)