Is roof cleaning really necessary? We are glad you asked!
A well-working roof is essential to regulating home temperatures and preventing structural damage due to water. Unfortunately, 40% of issues relating to roofs are due to water damage from improperly cleaned and maintained roofs. To avoid roof-related problems in your house, we have compiled this helpful guide to explain how to clean your roof and common roof issues to be on the lookout for.
Common Factors that Cause Roof Problems
The roof of your home guards everyone under it from bad weather and seasonal changes. Eventually, you may notice that something is off with your roof, but you can't put your finger on it. Here are some typical issues experienced by homeowners:
- Poor maintenance
- Algae, moss, and lichen growth
- Pooling water
- Lifted nails or shingles
- Debris from nearby trees
- Clogged gutters
Advantages of Keeping Your Roof Clean
Cleaning your roof can have a range of short- and long-term benefits. These benefits include:
1. Increases Home's Curb Appeal
One significant benefit of a clean roof is that it can help improve your home's exterior aesthetics. A clean roof will make your house look fresh and modern, adding to its curb appeal.
2. Energy Efficiency
Taking care of your roof can increase the energy efficiency in your home by preventing water damage due to: moss, leaves, or piled-up debris. But if these issues are left untreated, the debris can lead to roof decay, opening holes in your roof, allowing valuable heat to escape, and increasing your energy bill.
3. Longer Roof Lifespan
The average lifespan of an asphalt roof ranges from 20-30 years, while metal roofs can last around 20-25 years. Slate, tile, and copper roofs, on the other hand, can last up to 50 years! But if regular maintenance, such as cleaning, is not performed, issues can pop up, decreasing the roof's life.
4. Prevents Roof Infestations and Foundation Problems
Take care of the build-up of debris on your roof and gutters to avoid water leakage into your home and pooling around the foundation. This water damage can open up an opportunity for pests such as termites to enter your foundation and damage your home.
What Liquid Mixture Should I Make When Cleaning My Roof?
When cleaning roofs, one goal is to eradicate any moss or algae. Chlorine bleach can be an effective killer of spores from these growths. According to ARMA guidelines, a 50:50 ratio of chlorine bleach and water should do the trick to clean your roof.
Let the bleach solution settle on your roof for 15 to 20 minutes, then thoroughly rinse the solution to remove any lingering algae. For added effectiveness after cleaning, blow the roof down with a leaf blower to remove any remaining roof debris.
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Different Ways to Clean My Roof
There are various methods for cleaning the roof, but here are a few of our favorites that you're bound to like:
1. Roof Pressure Washing
Pressure washing a roof is an effective way to improve its appearance and lifespan. Pressure washing involves high-pressure water (> 3000 psi) to remove dirt, debris, algae, moss, and other contaminants from your roof. Before starting a pressure wash job on your roof, it's essential to inspect the area for any loose roofing materials, such as shingles or boards.
2. Roof Chemical Cleaning
Chemical cleaning is a popular method of removing dirt, dust, algae, moss, and other debris from roofs. This method involves applying a chemical, such as a sodium hypochlorite-based product formula, to the roof's surface. The chemical reaction created by this product etches away any dirt or build-up without damaging the underlying material of the roof. These chemicals are a simple and effective solution for homeowners looking for an ideal solution to keep their roofs in top condition.
However, there is an important safety tip to remember when chemical cleaning your roof: always wear protective gear! The chemicals used can be very harsh to your skin and eyes; therefore, protecting your skin, eyes, and lungs is essential. It also helps if you work in a well-ventilated area, as the fumes from the product may cause dizziness, nausea, or irritation of the skin and throat.
3. Roof Hand Scrubbing and Brushing
Roof scrubbing and brushing is one of the most manual methods of cleaning a roof, so as you can imagine, it is the most undesirable. Nonetheless, scrubbing a roof is an effective cleaning method and an option for some homeowners. To do this cleaning, use a bristle brush on the end of an extension rod, scrubbing in overlapping patterns until the entire roof surface is cleaned. After cleaning with the brush, rinse the roof with water to remove any loose material.
4. Go Green to Clean Your Roof
If you're looking for an eco-friendly way to clean your roof, we recommend using natural products such as baking soda and vinegar. To do this:
- Use a ratio of 3 tablespoons of baking soda per liter of water.
- After mixing, spray it on your roof on a warm sunny day and let it sit for three (3) days.
- After it has sat for three (3) days, flush the roof with water or scrub it down with a soft bristle brush.
- Lastly, rinse the roof to help loosen any remaining stubborn material.
How Frequently Should You Clean Your Roof?
Generally, it's wise to clean your roof every 18-36 months; however, the exact frequency you should do this depends on where you live. Some regions are more prone to algae and moss growth, while others may be susceptible to sand accumulation or drying out quickly. Thus, make sure that you assess your particular climate before determining how often to set a roof cleaning schedule.
Signs that indicate it's time to clean your roof:
- It's been quite some time since you last had your roof cleaned regularly
- Shingles are curling up or lifting
- Your roof starts to look weathered or dull
- Green or black discolorations are beginning to appear on some areas of your shingles (becoming dirty roof tiles because of dark stains)
- Your roof has accumulated leaves and other debris on top of it
Some Cons that Come with Roof Cleaning
- Roof cleaning can be quite burdensome, as it might require you to sacrifice your comfort and safety by climbing a ladder and using a sprayer or chemical cleaner on the roof. That's why going for a professional roofer or cleaner is always the best choice at the end of the day.
- Another drawback is the potential of getting your plants harmed in the process. When you clean your roof, be mindful of close-by greenery. The cleaning products used can damage the plants, so it is essential to water them and cover them with a protective layer before starting the procedure.
- Lastly, although it is possible to clean your roof on your own, you could risk voiding the warranty of the roofing materials if done incorrectly. A professional with specialized safety equipment and years of experience can safely perform this task without any risks. Furthermore, they have an in-depth understanding of what kind of maintenance or repairs are required for different roofs, making them well-equipped to identify any potential issues that may arise.
Should You Clean or Replace Your Roof?
The decision of whether to clean or replace your roof can be a difficult one. It is essential to weigh your options and consider the potential long-term benefits of either action before deciding. Should you clean or replace your roof?
One of the significant factors to consider when deciding between cleaning your roof or total roof replacement is the age and condition of the roof. If your roof is relatively new, in good shape, and built with high-quality roofing materials, then a thorough cleaning may be the only thing needed to bring it back to life. However, if your roof has seen better days and is more than 20 years old, showing wood rot, then replacing it could be a more cost-effective solution in the long run.
Another factor to consider is the cost of cleaning or replacing your roof. Cleaning can be done relatively quickly and often at a lower price than replacing the entire roof. That being said, a new roof may provide more significant savings down the line if it's properly maintained.
When deciding between cleaning or replacing your roof, there is no one size fits all answer. It's essential to assess the condition of your roof and weigh the cost/benefit analysis of either option before making a decision. In some cases, cleaning may be the most viable solution, while replacing it makes more sense in others. Either way, keeping your roof clean and well-maintained will ensure its longevity and help you avoid costly repairs in the future.
And if you need a reliable roofing contractor around Knoxville, TN, North and South Carolina, Green Home Installations is the premiere choice for many residences and commercial businesses.