Gloeocapsa Magma: The Dark Side of Asphalt Shingle Roofs

Asphalt shingle is a type of roof shingle that uses asphalt for waterproofing purposes. First created in America in 1901, asphalt shingle has been used on domestic roofing projects all over the globe for over a century. Inexpensive, easy to install and available in a wide variety of colours, asphalt shingle has, for a long time, been a go-to roofing material.

However, asphalt roofing does not come without its faults. Gloeocapsa magma, a particularly aggressive fungus, can wreak havoc with asphalt roofs. Read on to find out how.


What is gloeocapsa magma?

Originating in freshwater, gloeocapsa magma is a species of bacteria in the gloeocapsa genus of cyanobacteria. Cyanobacteria relies on photosynthesis to amass energy, unlike many other types of bacteria. The bacteria, once spread, may resemble algae thanks to its greenish-blue colour.

When the bacteria grows and spreads, it will form a delta down the slope of the roof, creating unsightly black streaks. However, these streaks are not just an eyesore, they are dangerous too. This is because asphalt shingles contain limestone, making the shingles themselves heavy, durable and reflective. Over time, the bacteria will eat away at the limestone, causing the shingles to weaken.

So why do manufacturers use limestone in asphalt shingles? Well, in a bid to cut down the cost of producing the shingles, manufacturers started to use certain “filler” materials. Limestone, being plentiful and inexpensive, is a perfect candidate for padding out the composition. It is the calcium carbonate in limestone that gloeocapsa magma really likes to feed off of, along with moisture that naturally collects on a roof’s surface.


Where does it form?

While gloeocapsa magma can thrive on any asphalt shingle roof, it will be particularly strong on roofs that are north facing. This is because the sun will be less harsh here, meaning that the moisture will not dry quickly and offer the perfect environment for bacteria to grow.


When does it form?

Like many other forms of bacteria, gloeocapsa magma thrives in warm, humid conditions. This means that, for us Brits, the height of summer is when we need to be on guard.

However, before the bacteria can form, it has to reach the roof.

The bacteria itself is carried to roofs around the country from various water sources, such as rivers and ponds, by the wind and birds. From there, the bacteria can spread from roof to roof where it grows and feeds on the limestone.


Alternative roofing

Metal roofing is particularly hard wearing, meaning that it is the perfect material to combat gloeocapsa magma. A metal roof will offer you complete peace of mind knowing that, whatever Mother Nature throws its way, your roof will retain its structure and clean appearance.


As metal roofing specialists with leading industry experience in Zinc roofing and copper roofing among others. We at JTC Roofing provide expert supply and installation of metal roofing to domestic and commercial clients throughout the UK. If you require advice on the most suitable metal roof for your property, simply contact our friendly team today we are always happy to help.


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