Do you know how keeping a home in tip-top shape is like going for routine check-ups?
Doctors will usually have a schedule for patients. Some would need to go back every month, while others may have to do it once or twice a year.
The same goes for home maintenance. Some tasks like cleaning the furnace filter, testing smoke alarms, etc., can be done monthly, while others have to be performed at least once every year. These include cleaning your roof.
That said, if you want to clean a roof, you’re in for a treat. Here, we’ll talk about the basics of cleaning a roof, including the dos and don’ts to keep in mind.
Roof Cleaning Tips for Shingles
Shingles tend to be vulnerable to moldy stains. If you don’t want to hire a professional roof cleaning company, you can remove those stains yourself. However, remember that all roofing jobs–repairs, cleaning, etc. require safety precautions.
It doesn’t matter what type of roof you have. Since you’re working on an elevated surface, you want to ensure you’re protected if you slip and fall.
So, it would be best if you had a full-body safety harness to clean stains on shingles. You’ll also need your cleaning supplies. These include a garden hose with a spray nozzle, a non-toxic cleaning agent (you can use lye), and a rinsing tool that can work on dug-in algae colonies.
After donning your safety gear, use your cleaner at the bottom row, working your way up to the peak. Next, get your rinsing tool (i.e., garden hose), or if you have one of those machines that have a pump sprayer, even better. When you’ve rinsed off the cleaning solution, you can install zinc or copper strips or apply a stain-blocking solution to prevent algae regrowth.
Roof Cleaning Guide for Clay or Concrete Tiles
Tile roofs are long-lasting, energy-efficient, and environmentally friendly. The downside, though, is that you can’t use harsh chemicals and pressure washers on them.
Again, you must wear protective gear for DIY tile roof cleaning. You’ll also have to train yourself to stand on areas where the tiles overlap. Don’t forget that tiles are pretty fragile, and the last thing you want is to crack them while cleaning them.
You’ll also need a roof cleaner that’s meant for clay tiles. Plus, you have to use low pressure, which could translate to a longer cleaning duration because working slow is the only way to do it. Pro tip: Buffing your roof with a clean and dry cloth can help remove efflorescence.
How to Clean a Metal Roof
Did you know that properly installed metal roofing can last four to five decades? If you’re considering a re-roof, roofing companies are likely to recommend a metal roof if your priority is durability. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can forget about maintenance.
While metal roofs are durable, they’re not impervious to rust and corrosion. Like cleaning tile roofing, it’s best to use a cleaner meant only for metal roofing. Another thing that helps is inspecting your roof twice a year.
If you see areas showing signs of rusting or corrosion, you can treat them with oxalic acid. Remember to follow safety precautions, especially for first-time users, as oxalic acid can cause chemical burns.
Roof Cleaning for Wood Shakes and Shingles
Despite not being fire-resistant, wood shingles continue to be popular because they can boost curb appeal, plus they’re easy to repair.
As for the other aspects of maintenance, wood shakes and shingles are comparable to asphalt shingles, but you may need to reapply a fire retardant every two years.
Cleaning is also a bit complicated. Besides avoiding pressure washing, you’ll also need to stay away from bleach or ammonia. It would be best, too, if you regularly remove moss and lichen and trim any branches that hang over your wood roofing.
How to Clean a Roof With Slate Shingles
When it comes to cleaning slate roofing, you always want to start inspecting its current condition. For example, do you see an accumulation of dead leaves? Is there an overgrowth of moss and so on?
Next, you’ll want to practice cleaning the tiles without putting too much pressure on them. Like tiles, slate shingles are delicate. You have to be careful even with using a pressure washer, as this might be enough to break them.
Your best bet for cleaning slate shingles is any diluted household cleaner. Scrub gently, then rinse with a low-pressure garden hose.
Some Dos and Don’ts for Cleaning a Roof
It bears repeating that you shouldn’t use a pressure washer for most roofs. Shingles, in particular, are vulnerable to intense pressure, and you can seriously damage your roofing by using a pressure washer.
You can, however, use a sprayer that can attach to your garden hose. If you’re spraying your roof with a cleaning solution, let it sit for a while (15 to 20 minutes) before rinsing.
Another no-no to keep in mind is to be aware of your landscape and surrounding areas. Use a ladder platform to help you reach where you need without risking harm to yourself. If you’re using bleach, you don’t want it to get on your plants and shrubbery. That’s why before cleaning your roof, be sure to put plastic on your greenery and remember to give them a good rinse after you’re done with your roof cleaning.
For stubborn algae, it helps to be patient. One application of a cleaning solution won’t get rid of the problem. You may need to reapply the solution or wait for a rainstorm to wash away moss and algae.
Is Your Roof Ready for Cleaning?
Now that you know the basics of how to clean a roof, are you ready to inspect and give yours a good cleaning?
No matter what type of roof you have, the most important thing to remember is to do it safely. That means investing in safety gear and the right cleaning solution for your roofing.
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