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How To Clean A Metal Roof Without Slipping

Do Metal Roofs Need To Be Repainted


The paint system on new metal roofs can protect and enhance your property for several decades. However, if you recently bought a house with old or damaged metal roofing, you may want to consult a roofing professional about getting your roof repainted.

Here are some of the ways a paint metal roof treatment can add value to your home:

  • Repair damage: A fresh coat of paint can fix the visible blemishes your roof suffered from a storm or old age. You can repair minor issues such as surface corrosion, chips and small holes with a new paint job. However, you might want to consider replacing your roof if it has significant damage.
  • Protect your roof from wear and tear: A high-quality metal roof most likely won’t need a new paint job for at least a decade, but you may want to touch it up if you notice paint chips on the surface. Applying acrylic or oil-based paint can help protect it from weather and moisture damage.
  • Save money and gain resale value: A fresh coat of paint on your metal roof can attract potential homebuyers. Even if you don’t want to sell your property soon, repainting the top of your house reduces the number of times you’ll need to replace your roof, saving you money over the years.
  • Enhance curb appeal: Since your roof makes up such a significant part of your exterior property, its quality affects your guests’ first impression of your house. You can improve your home’s curb appeal and highlight your investment by applying a new coat of paint.

What Kind Of Shoes Should You Wear On A Metal Roof

It is recommended to call a professional and stay off any roofs for safety reasons. But if you really need to go up on a metal roof, here are some of the most important things to consider before getting up on a metal roof. Wear soft-soled shoes. Soft soled shoes are the greatest you can wear on slippery surfaces, like metal roofs.

Getting The Right Safety Equipment

Most of the process of staying safe while cleaning a metal roof involves getting the proper safety equipment. This includes a harness and fall safe. Even when the roof is cleared off and clean, they can still be extremely slippery and you need to protect yourself. Another important piece of safety equipment is a ladder with padded stabilizers. Note that metal roofs have unique coatings that protect them. If you want to prevent scratching and damaging this coating, then you will want to make sure that your ladder stabilizer arms have a soft surface touching.

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Where Do You Walk On A Metal Roof

The people who took care of the roof installation know exactly how you should walk on that specific metal roof, theyll give you specific instructions. If you have a metal roof with panels that are formed like shakes or tiles, you should be walking on the low spots of the panels that are closer to the roof deck.

Special Metal Roof Cleaning Circumstances

How To Clean A Metal Roof Without Slipping


Metal roofs in humid climates that are subjected to excessive shade might start to show signs of mildew, algae, or mold growth on the surface. Luckily, most mildew, algae, and mold is easy to clean off using the following method:

  • Mix: 1/3 cup of powdered laundry detergent + 1 quart of bleach + 3 quarts of water
  • Dip a soft brush or rag in the cleanser and apply to affected areas
  • Lightly scrub the surface until the area is free of mildew or mold
  • Rinse the surface well with plain water

    Depending on where you live, your metal roof could come into contact with metal particles that create rust stains on the paint surface of a metal roof. At first, you might think the roof has a problem or has begun to prematurely corrode, but often times this is not the case. Its actually just in contact with uncoated metal pieces and particles that create rust stains over time.

    To remove mild rust stains:

  • Remove the particles or pieces that are causing the rust stains
  • Use a mild abrasive cleaner applied to a non-abrasive pad
  • Use light pressure to work at the stain until it is gone
  • Rinse thoroughly
  • To remove severe rust stains:

  • Remove the particles or pieces that are causing the rust stains
  • Mix: 5 parts water + 1 part diluted hydrochloric acid OR citric acid OR muriatic acid OR oxalic acid OR vinegar
  • Use a rag to apply to affected spots and use circular wiping motions
  • Rinse immediately after the rust stain has cleared
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    How Often Do Metal Roofs Need To Be Replaced

    When maintained correctly, your metal roof shouldn’t need replacing for at least half a century. During your annual roof inspection, the roofing contractor may recommend a roof replacement if they notice these signs:

    • Gaps or cracks in the metal panels
    • Movement or shifting that created openings on the roof
    • Severe weather damage
    • Discoloration, rust or corrosion on one or more of the panels
    • Loosened metal roof screws

    Gets Rid Of The Elements Stuck On The Roofs Surface

    Common elements that could get stuck on the surface of a metal roof are:

    • Airborne dirt
    • Rust stains
    • Mold and mildew

    Like we mentioned, there are chemicals present in certain atmospheres, such as acid rain and pollution particles, that can cause premature degradation of a metal roofing paint system. One of the easiest ways to determine if your roof is degrading is by inspecting if the paint is chalking. Chalking is the whitish residue that can become visible on a painted or coated metal surface over time.

    As a panel is exposed to sunlight and UV rays, the paint systems resin begins to break down and degrade. Once the resin starts to break down and continues to be exposed to the sun, oxygen, and pollutants, it loses its adhesion to the surface and those degraded particles begin to turn white. These particles will eventually become visible to the naked eye on the metals surface. Often times, the difference can be subtle however, if you swipe the panel with your finger, you can notice the chalky residue on your skin.

    Keep in mind, most metal roofing paint warranties dont cover excessive chalking in the presence of pollutants, which is why its important to regularly clean your roof.

    There are also elements that wont create a problem with the paint or the substrate but just makes the roof look dirty, even when its actually not.

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    Wear Clean Shoes Always

    It is not just enough to wear soft-soled rubber shoes on metal roofs. You should ensure that they are clean and free from dirt and gravel stuck to the lugs in the outsole. Not only is debris harmful to the roofing but also reduces the traction quality. Pieces of gravel stuck in the grooves cut into the rubber outsole can spoil the purpose of the shoes. It can be dangerous to use such shoes on the metal roof.

    How Do You Know If The Metal Roof Is Safe To Walk On

    Walking in my non-slip shoes on metal roof install. 8/12 pitch

    You can tell if your new metal roof is safe to walk on by assessing the following:

    • The surface should be flat and smooth.
    • It shouldnt have any sharp edges, nails or other items that could puncture your shoes when you walk on it.
    • If a large portion of the roof is wet from rain, snow or storms then you might want to avoid walking across it until it dries out completely because there wont be enough support for the weight of you walking on top.
    • If you are able to stand in one place when walking across it without feeling any give or movement underfoot, then its probably okay.
    • Look for any seams that might be weak and give way under the weight of people walking on them as well as puddles that could cause those already standing to slip.

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    Can You Walk On A Metal Roof Without Damaging It

    This is a question we get a lot. When the roof is already installed and you have to walk on it for different reasons, for example, to inspect it, to replace it, or to clean the chimney, make sure you wear shoes with rubberized outsoles. They are light and wont damage the surface.

    Heavy work boots with rigid soles will bend and damage the roof.

    Also, clean your shoes before climbing metal roofs. You can scratch or damage the roof tilesif you have rocks stuck on the outsole of your boots. Another way you can damage and bend the rooftop is if you drop your tools on it.

    The conclusion is that if you follow these simple rules: clean shoes, rubber-soled shoes and dont drop your tools, you wont damage the roof.

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    Is Roof Qse The Strongest Of The Roof Cleaners

    So while the Texas gentleman was right in saying that the Roof QSE is stronger than the Roof OX and the best choice for contractors with the knowledge and experience to handle and use the product safely, the Roof OX is the first pass less durable, more of a simple product for the consumer to clean the roof alone for proper and safe handling and use.

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    How To Choose A Reputable Roof Cleaner

    These six tips will simplify your selection process. Insurance is mandatory. Make sure your contractor has work accident and liability insurance. Choose a local contractor. Make sure the company you choose is local. Price isn’t everything. Never pick a company for a price. Avoid storm chasers. Get detailed information about the job in writing. Communication is essential.

    You Have Many Options When Cleaning A Metal Roof

    How to Walk on Metal Roof Safely: Without Slipping

    When you clean a metal roof, its a lot different than cleaning tile or asphalt roof. When you clean metal, you can use light pressure if necessary, and you can use a hot water pressure washer. You can also simply wash it with detergent, depending on how accessible the roof is and what its pitch is.

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    More Ways To Clean A Metal Roof

    If the rust spots on the roof are minimal, there is an alternative method to treat them without bringing in a severe cleaning agent.

    For spot treating challenging rust stains, use a little bit of cream of tartar and hydrogen peroxide. The cream of tartar acts as a mild scrubbing agent to help the peroxide break down the rusty exterior.

    Rusty Metal Roof Cleaning Recipe

    • 3 tbsp cream of tartar
    • 3 tbsp hydrogen peroxide

    To use this simple homemade rust remover, start by blending the two ingredients into a paste. Layer it over the rust spot and let it sit for at least ten minutes. Once it has had plenty of time to do its job, scrub it with a soft brush and rinse away the remaining cleaner.

    How To Walk On A Wet Metal Roof

    The answer is: you should not walk on a wet metal roof, period. Sorry if thats not the answer you were looking for. In general, you should avoid getting up on any type of wet rooftops. Even if you have to do asphalt, composite or wood roofing, if it rains dont go up.

    Wet metal roofs are extremely slippery and the risk of falling is really high.

    Usually, when its raining, the majority of the contractors reschedule their roof work for another day with clear sky.

    But, if you dont have any other option and you really have to work on a wet metal roof, make sure to take all the extra safety measures: use a safety rope, wear proper rubber footwear, wear a safety harness, safety glasses, gloves, anchors and of course use a fall protection system. Pay attention to every step, walk slowly and with caution.

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    Extends The Life Of A Metal Roof

    Like any household or outdoor item, regular cleaning will extend the life of it. For a metal roof, periodic cleaning helps maintain the integrity of the panels and helps remove any particles on the surface that could degrade the paint system or even the substrate. Luckily, paint systems such as PVDF are durable and engineered to last, but will still benefit from periodic cleaning to keep up the strength of the resin and coating.

    What Youll Find On A Metal Roof

    Removing snow on a metal roof without damaging your investment.

    Metal roofs are often subject to the same types of dirt and debris that youll find on clay and asphalt roofs. The biggest difference that youll find is that metal roofs dont tend to stain from blue/green algae or grow moss as frequently, otherwise youll see the same types of dirt.

    In addition to mold, mildew, algae, moss, and dirt, you may also find some small areas of rust or corrosion on the roof as well, depending on how old the metal is, and what type of metal your roof is made of. Its also not uncommon for painted metal roofs to show more dirt on their surface than unpainted metal roofs, and for painted roofs to be more difficult to clean.

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    How Many Gallons Of Spray And Forget Roof Cleaner

    Revolutionary Spray and Forget Roof Cleaning Concentrate is a do-it-yourself stain remover. This outdoor cleaner works wonders as a stain remover for mold, mildew, algae and moss. When a 1-gallon container of concentrate is mixed with water, it produces 10 gallons of air purifier and covers 1,000 to 2,000 square feet.

    When Can A Metal Roof Be Repainted

    All types of metal roofing are suitable for repainting, but it should be noted that newly installed metal roofs should not be changed for at least six months as they need time to weather.

    Before painting a metal roof, though, you must also prepare it for the process ahead by removing mildew, dirt, and any loose paint that may be left over from the original paint job. A jet power wash is the best way to achieve this, and can complete the task in a matter of minutes.

    When you want to change the color of an existing metal roof for the first time, using a diluted vinegar solution to remove any old paint oils and residue is a wise move too.

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    Use Tsp To Deep Clean Roofs

    Sometimes your roof needs a deeper clean than what soap and water provide. One of the best cleaners to scrub away stubborn layers of dirt and fungus is tri-sodium phosphate, also known as TSP.

    This heavy-duty compound is applied by hand, using a soft bristle brush or scrubber, rather than a pressure washer.

    • 1 gallon of water

    Dilute the TSP in water and use a bristle brush to work it into the areas that require cleaning. After thoroughly cleaning, let the formula soak for a few hours before rinsing with hot, clean water.

    TSP can also be helpful as a spray paint remover from metal surfaces, whether it somehow got on your roof or another metal surface.

    When using this heavy-duty compound, wear protective clothing, goggles, and a face mask to keep from ingesting it or irritating your skin.

    Cleaning With Pressurized Water

    How To Clean A Metal Roof Without Slipping
  • 1Favor using plain water over chemical cleaners. Expect clean water alone to get the job done most of the time. Save yourself the time and money and use chemical cleaners only when absolutely necessary.XResearch source Expect these to leave behind streaks and film if you dont thoroughly rinse them off.XResearch source
  • Rinsing your roof with water at least once a year should reduce the need for using chemical cleaners.
  • 2
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    How Long Do Metal Roofs Last

    A metal roof has the potential to last about half a century or more with the proper maintenance. Here are some factors that may influence your metal roof’s lifespan before you need to replace it:

    • Installation: The fastening of your metal roof to your house can affect how long it lasts. A standing seam metal roof can last longer than a screw-down panel one because it allows the panels to expand and contract as the temperature changes. If the roofing contractor installed your metal roof incorrectly, you could expect to find damage on your roof soon.
    • Paint finish: The coat of paint protects your metal roofing panels from the elements, but if you find any paint chips or damage on the coating, your metal roof’s lifespan might be cut short.
    • Local weather conditions: Even though metal roofs can withstand the elements, they’re not entirely resistant to harsh weather conditions. Metal panels can dent from the impact of hail and snow, and fluctuating temperatures could cause the metal to expand and contract.

    Gather All Of Your Tools The Checklist

    We already know youre going to start with a great pressure washer. You will likely want one that is gas-powered to ensure that you have all the power you need to remove any gunk and debris from your metal roof.

    Some jobs can be accomplished with normal cold water from a garden hose, but the most heavy-duty jobs will require hot water and a power washer than can not only power but heat your water.

    You will also need a great ladder that is adequately sized for your roof. What works for screwing in a lightbulb in the home will not work for climbing to the top of your house.

    Always make sure that your ladder has padded and protected steps before you climb to your roof and begin washing. Starting with a safe grip from the bottom up will ensure safety and accuracy when power washing. Other musts include:

    • Dont forget to find an extension cord that is more than adequate for reaching your roof. Think about the bushes youll have to snake around, as well as the safest place to plug in.
    • Youll need a functioning garden hose that is long enough to easily reach the roof for rinsing. And dont forget a good spray nozzle to go along with it.
    • You may also want to have a small scrub brush on hand or a small scraper, should you find something stubborn that needs a little extra convincing.
    • Dont try to do it all alone. Enlist a helper on the ground to hold the ladder and adjust the pressure if and when you need it.

    A reminder about additional safety requirements:

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