The weather recently in Indianapolis had been glorious! Lots of sunshine, warm with cool breezes; perfect for the projects I save to do at the change of the seasons every year. My latest project is one that is supposed to prevent moss/algae from growing on the roof of my mini-barn. It actually should work on any roof.
My neighbor’s tree has grown to the point that it keeps my mini-barn in the shade almost all the time. This constant shade on one side of the roof encouraged moss/algae to grow on the shingles. I’ve got the same problem on my house, but that’s another story.
When I first noticed the moss, I brushed it off with a brush that I bought years ago for my suede shoes. This worked fine. But after doing research on the Internet, I learned that it would just come back unless I either trimmed her tree to allow sunlight on the roof or installed strips of copper or zinc along the ridge of the roof. The branches were too high for me to reach so that wasn’t an option. I investigated buying a strip of zinc (it may have been a combination of copper and zinc) at my local Menards. It wasn’t expensive but there was a lot of it and I didn’t need that much. So I didn’t buy it.
After more research on the Internet, I learned that you could caulk pennies on the ridge of the roof and they would do the same thing as the zinc strip. I had forgotten that the caulking I was supposed to use was silicone and used roofing cement instead. Anyway, I wanted to use roofing cement to cover the roofing nails I had hammered into my shingles because the person who originally put the shingles on the roof didn’t use any nails at all. He only used the glue strip on the shingles to adhere them to the roof! Aaaarrgh! Naturally after a few good storms, my shingles flew all over the neighborhood. But I digress.
To use roofing cement you have to have a caulk gun.
I bought myself a nice shiny red caulking gun and had no idea how to use it. It was cheap, $4.88. I asked the salesman at Menards and he did a pretty good job at explaining how it worked. You buy the roofing cement cartridge ($2.24) or whatever you plan to caulk with the caulk gun and slide the cartridge into the gun. Make sure you have matching sizes. My gun came with a small, attached piercing rod to perforate the aluminum that protects the roofing cement from oozing out. Try to find a gun with that included on the body. You can see it in the photo on the bottom left of the gun.
Once you cut off the tip of the plastic point of the cartridge, pierce the aluminum foil with the piercing rod. Slide the cartridge into the gun. It may seem like it won’t fit but keep trying. Once it is secured in the gun, pull the trigger a few times to get the contents flowing into the plastic point of the cartridge. The gun pushes the bottom of the cartridge upward which in turn pushes out the contents. I think I remember some ice cream or popsicle types that work on a similar theory: you push the bottom up and it exposes more of the ice cream!
Take a roll of paper towels with you because the contents of the cartridge will continue to ooze out even after you stop pulling the trigger. At least that is what happens with roofing cement! Over the course of the job, I got it all over my hands, on the grass, on my ladder and on my shirt. But I had a premonition that this would happen so I had the paper towels handy! With some good scrubbing, I got it off my hands with a soapy, wet paper towel and a few hand washes. It wiped right off my ladder. I’m sure the shirt will wash out too.
I had my pennies handy in my shirt pocket. I had to stand on the fourth rung of my ladder but I felt fairly safe because the ladder was leaning up against the mini-barn. It took a good bit of stretching on my part because I couldn’t reach the ridge of the roof. I was only able to reach the row of shingles beneath the ridge. This was quite a workout! I put about 33 pennies across the shingles. I also put a dab of roofing cement on all the nails I had hammered into the roof a few years ago. The idea here is that the roofing cement prevents any water from seeping into the roof through the nail holes. I also put some roofing cement on any torn shingles and any that didn’t lay flat.
When I was done using the gun, I removed the cartridge and inserted a nail into the point of the plastic end where the cement came out. I am hoping that this will save the cement from drying out and that I will be able to use it for some other project like sealing nails on gutter hangers or fixing my leaky drain spouts. You can see the nail head at the end of the cartridge.
So how do these pennies prevent moss/algae from growing? When it rains, the rain will wash some of the zinc/copper off the pennies onto the moss/algae and kill it. The zinc strip you can buy works on the same theory. It prevents the moss/algae from growing.
I’m hoping that the roofing cement will hold the pennies in place. Otherwise, if they come loose, it will feel like pennies from heaven.
If this penny idea doesn’t do the trick, well then I was penny-wise and pound foolish!