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Keeping a roof clean is great for curb appeal and helps extend the shingles’ life. Regular roof cleaning will also prevent water from entering the home and wreaking havoc with different systems, including electrical.
Several roof cleaning methods exist, such as power washing or chemical treatments. We recommend using eco-friendly cleaners that are safe for children, plants, and wildlife. Contact Sea Clear Window Washing & Pressure Cleaning LLC now!
It’s not unusual to see homes with moss or algae growing on the roof. These plants like shaded areas and dampness, so they can grow where shingles and other roof elements are exposed. If left untreated, moss and algae can cause moisture buildup on the underside of shingles, which in turn causes wood rot within the house’s walls. Moss also lifts shingles and allows water to penetrate, damaging the insulation in your home’s attic.
Both moss and algae can be removed from the roof physically with a scrub brush or chemically with various products. Commercial cleaning solutions and homemade sprays can all be used, but you should always follow the product package directions. Most cleaners contain chlorine bleach so that they may damage and discolor foundation plantings, so be sure to hose off the roof afterward to remove all the bleach residue. It’s best to save roof moss-removal tasks for a cloudy day so the cleansers don’t evaporate as quickly.
Some products, such as Wet and Forget, are ready-to-use sprays that hook up to a hose; they can be left on the roof to soak and kill the moss, then brushed off with a scrub brush. Other moss killers include Bayer 2-in-1 Moss and Algae Killer, a potassium soap of fatty acids and inert ingredients that can be mixed with water: Moss B Ware, a zinc sulfate monohydrate powder mixed with water or applied dry.
If you spray the cleaner onto your roof, wait for a cloudy day and ensure the area underneath is covered with plastic sheeting to protect other plantings. Follow all application instructions and use proper safety equipment, including personal protective gear and a respirator if necessary. After using any cleaner, hose down the roof to rinse it thoroughly. You can help prevent moss and algae from returning by installing a copper or zinc strip at the ridge of the roof, which will oxidize and wash down the roof plane every time it rains, making the underside of the shingles less welcoming to these plants.
Many homeowners think that dirt, mildew, and moss on a roof can be washed off with rainwater. While this is true for some simple debris, it doesn’t address algae, mold, or moss, which will continue to build up and damage the structure of your roof.
Regular cleaning removes these contaminants and keeps them from returning. A clean roof will look better and last longer. In addition, a professional roof cleaning reveals soft spots on the surface, which can then be repaired promptly, preserving the framework of your home and avoiding water leaks and eventual structural damage to your walls.
A roof cleaning with a soft wash system removes the dirt from the surface of your roof without the force that comes from a high-pressure washing hose. This is less damaging to the roofing tiles and shingles. It also won’t wash away the granules that protect your roof from sunlight and weather, which will weaken them over time.
A specialized cleaning solution is applied to the roof’s surface before the low-pressure rinsing. This chemical is specifically designed to inhibit the growth of moss and mold. When used in the right dilution, it will prevent these contaminants from re-growing for several years.
The specialized cleaning agent is also used to treat the underside of the roof, where moisture may collect and cause damage. It also helps to neutralize any acidity that might be present on your roof, which can also damage the underside of the tiles or shingles.
A roof should be cleaned when it shows signs of a buildup of contaminants and when it looks dull or discolored. While the buildup of dirt, mildew, and moss is mostly cosmetic, it dims your home’s brilliance and can discourage onlookers from stopping to take a closer look.
Stains are unsightly and can devalue a home. Frequently, they result from a blue-green algae called Gloeocapsa Magma that grows on asphalt shingle roofs and is spread by airborne spores. It does little damage to the roof shingles but does reduce the overall beauty and resale value of a house. Fortunately, there are many ways to get rid of stains, and most involve using chemicals.
Some of these are eco-friendly, while others contain bleach. Eco-friendly options typically contain copper sulfate, trisodium phosphate, and ammonia to clean away mold, mildew, mosses, and their staining compounds. These products are usually safe for plants and people but can still be harsh on shingles. These formulas generally come in concentrated form, so you must dilute them with water before using them.
Other chemicals that remove stains are more aggressive and may require more scrubbing or power washing than the less harsh products. These chemicals may include ammonia, sodium hydroxide (lye), and sulfuric acid. Bleach-based cleaners are generally more effective than non-bleach cleaners but can be harsh on the shingles and create unpleasant odors. They may also cause respiratory issues if inhaled and must be rinsed with a hose after application.
If you have a shingle roof, your best bet is to avoid chemicals altogether and use a power washer with very low pressure. This will remove moss, dirt, and debris but won’t necessarily kill off the roots of stains or prevent them from returning.
Another option is to buy a commercial product such as Spray & Forget. This biodegradable roof cleaner is effective on various stains and is safe for the environment. It works by altering the molecular structure of the stain, reducing its ability to absorb visible wavelengths of light and thus removing its color. It also helps to kill any remaining spores and inhibit future growth. It’s more expensive than Wash Safe but worth the extra cost for the environmental impact.
If a roof is not cleaned regularly, it can become home to pests such as birds, rodents, squirrels, raccoons, and insects. These pests are attracted to the piles of dirt, debris, moss, leaves, and organic materials that gather on a dirty roof. This material provides them with nesting materials, food, and hiding places. In addition, a dirty roof can retain moisture, which attracts mosquitoes that carry diseases.
If these animals are allowed to stay, their droppings can cause damage to the shingles and the surrounding structures. Birds and squirrels peck at the shingles to make nests, leaving holes in the roof that expose the sheathing, insulation, and drywall to water, moisture, and other elements. They also carry bacteria that can spread throughout the house and contribute to allergies, asthma, and other health problems in family members.
Mice and rats chew through electrical wires and other structures on the roof, causing fire hazards. They can also destroy shingles and create unsightly tunnels in the attic. Wood-destroying pests, such as termites and carpenter ants, are attracted to roof areas with mold, mildew, or dry rot, which can weaken the roof’s structural integrity.
In the case of raccoons, they are strong climbers and can easily access the roof through unscreened or damaged eave gaps and vents. Their urine and excrement can penetrate the shingle layers and sheath, damaging these materials and allowing moisture to enter the home, leading to rotting and other serious issues.
A professional roof cleaning service can help reduce the risk of pest infestations by eliminating the food and shelter sources that encourage them. In addition, the service can help prevent moisture buildup that leads to mold and other health problems by removing moss, dirt, and other debris. It can also trim tree limbs that could serve as bridges to the rooftop so pests cannot use them to gain entry. This prevents the need to clean the inside of the home and reduces the risk of pest-related repair costs. Aside from cleaning the roof, a professional can also clean gutters and downspouts to prevent clogs and ensure proper drainage.