The roof is the most exposed part of a building, and in many cases it is the most expensive. It stands above all else and is subject to wear caused by sun, wind, rain, and hail. Therefore, investing in regular maintenance is essential to the life of a roof. Our roof cleaning guide offers some helpful do and don’ts for individuals looking to clean their roofs in the most safe and efficient way.
Signs Your Roof Needs Cleaning
It’s important to carefully inspect the roof at least once a year, as this is when you’ll likely notice any problems. Here are some signs notifying you of unsightly buildup:
Leaves and Debris:
Low-pitched roofs collect leaves and other debris from the vegetation around. Over time, it accumulates and becomes a breeding site for moss, mold, fungi, and even plant. In addition, the debris leech and stains the roof, which definitely will need a thorough cleaning.
Mildew & Algae:
Mildew and algae thrive in moist and damp conditions. If your roof is under shady areas, it can invite these plants to take root and grow on top; the algal buildup will darken your roof. A soft chemical wash can easily clear the algae without harming your roof. This method is also known as soft washing.
As a result of aging and exposure to sunlight and various elements, shingles, and tiles discolored over time, making your roof dull and shabby. Regular cleaning will keep your roof looking new and can even increase its lifespan.
By acting on these problems early, you can prevent greater damage before it’s too late. And when it’s time for cleaning, follow our simple guide.
How to Wash Different Types of Roofs?
There are many different types of roofs. While some are easy to maintain, others might present some challenges. Note that for some of the methods is better to hire a professional roof washing service, instead of taking unnecessary a risks. This section will go over the best techniques for washing the most common types of roofs.
1. Asphalt Shingles
Asphalt roofs are one of the most low-maintenance roofs. In some cases they might not the pretties, but are cost-effective and easy to clean. Discoloration is the most common problem with asphalt roofs, and regular cleaning should solve the issue. We highly recommend avoiding high pressure washing and harsh chemicals because they can be really damaging to asphalt. Instead, a diluted bleach mix or soap spray will work best. Then rinse with water as many times as needed.
2. Clay Tiles
Clay tiles make the most elegant and high-end roofs. Their durability and charm make them a popular choice, but clay shingles also require regular maintenance to stay in top shape. Pressure wash around 1200 PSI should give your roof a thorough clean without being too harsh on the tiles. Follow the washing session with priming and buffing for an immaculate finish.
3. Slate Tiles
Slate roofs are unique in their appearance and durability. They are composed of natural hard rock known as metamorphic rock, those minerals are readily absorb moisture this could attract algae and mold. Pressure wash generally an option, but you need to nail the exact PSI, otherwise there is a chance of damage, so if you are not experienced avoid this method. A soft wash (use brush if there are really stubborn parts) with mild detergent is the best and most effective way to clean your slate roof.
4. Metal Roofs
In recent years, metal roofing has boomed in popularity. It is more resistant to rain and wind damage than other roofs, but they are prone to rust and corrosion. Metal roofs require very little maintenance, just a yearly wash and paint job works excellent to keep your roof in the best condition. A Pressure wash will remove grime and rust from metal roofs without affecting the structure.
5. Wood Shake/Shingles
Wood naturally absorbs moisture and various types of dirt. This means wooden roofs are susceptible to mold, mildew, fungi, and algae easily. It may be the most demanding material in terms of maintenance. The use of chemicals like ammonia or chlorine in wrong proportions can seriously deteriorate the structure and decrease the lifespan. For an inexperience individual pressure washing is also not advisable. But if your wood roof needs a thorough clean, one can do a gentle pressure wash or simply use a soft washing. We highly recommend hiring a professional company for the job because wood is delicate and requires special care to prevent further damage.
6. Cedar Roof
Cedar roofs are very similar to wooden roofs in terms of maintenance. Sensitive to moisture and chemicals, cedar shakes are also are prone to algae and mold growth. The DIY way to do it is to use a soft brush and soap solution. Many homeowners also use the same technique on wood shingles too. This method can easily wash off dirt and vegetation without harming the cosmetic aspect of the roof.
Things to Remember While Cleaning Your Roof
- Safety First: Cleaning the roof is inherently dangerous, so you should always take necessary precautions. Wear a safety harness and use sturdy ladders with rubber feet to stay on solid footing. Always have someone around to help you in case things go south.
- Downspouts & Gutters Cleaning: Please make sure they are clean before you start cleaning your roof. It’s much easier to wash the roofs when no leaves, branches, or debris are clogging the gutters. It will also help you avoid water backlogs and unwanted leaks in the future.
- Check for Leaks and Cracks: Since you are cleaning your roof, look for any cracks or leaks while you’re up there. Pay special attention to the roof’s joints, seams, and holes. These areas are particularly vulnerable to moisture accumulation. So, make sure they are free of leaks and cracks before pressure washing your roof. It will save you from unnecessary headaches later on.
- Protect the Environment: If you are using chemicals take necessary precautions to protect the plants around the building. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to use chemicals safely and make sure all the runoff water is properly neutralized before it escapes into the environment. When it comes to the plants in close proximity, make sure to wet them with clean water. This way if a chemicals drops on them, it will have a base in which to dissolve to some extended. After you are done with the roof wash the plants again to clean them off from any chemical drops.
- Be Careful with Pressure Washing: Pressure washing needs care and expertise. Not only can it damage your roof, but minor mistakes can cause severe injury to you. If you want a pressure wash for your roof, hire professionals specializing in roof cleaning to ensure everything is done properly and safely.