How To Clean Concrete Roof Tiles Like A Professional Roofer
Give your house the makeover it deserves with sparkling concrete tiles that look brand new! So often, homeowners know how to clean the outside of their homes, but concrete tiles present a unique challenge.
In addition, theyre sometimes difficult to clean because theyre hard to get to and can be a bit stubborn. Here, we give you the strategies you need to keep your roof looking fresh!
You can clean your concrete tiles like a professional with the right approach. If youre feeling stuck right now because you cant get to your roof or worry about safety, dont worry. There are some easy methods you can use to get your roof looking good as new in no time.
Depending on your roof, you might need a bit of equipment and help from a friend or neighbor, but there are also ways you can clean concrete roof tiles by yourself. The work is simple enough .
Roof tiles collect dirt relatively quickly because they are completely exposed. One of the reasons siding, stucco, gutters, windows, and other parts of your house look cleaning is because the roof overhang stops rain and dirt from getting to them.
On the other hand, your roof is what sits on top, taking all of the dust, leaves, water, and debris. The wind brings leaves and moisture to exposed tiles until it dries naturally.
The good news is that minimal maintenance and regularly cleaning your concrete roof tiles will help you get the most years from your roof. With clean tiles, you can:
What Are Concrete Roof Tiles Made Of
Concrete roof tiles are made of a mixture of sand, cement, and water molded under heat and high pressure. This process creates a tile similar to regular concrete but with the added benefit of being lightweight and durable. The difference between concrete roof tiles and traditional concrete is that the former is usually stronger than the latter.
What Tile Manufacturers Recommend
Still not convinced? Lets look at what the major tile manufacturers recommend. The biggest cement tile manufacturers for homes in Southwest Florida are Entegra, Hanson, Boral, and Eagle. You can go to any of their websites and look through their customer care information. All of them say the exact same thing.
Stated in the Entegra warranty: In most applications, a pressure cleaner set to 1200 psi should be used. The tip of the nozzle on the pressure cleaner should be kept approximately 1-to-2 feet from the tile. The limited pressure and large distance from the tile is to prevent damaging the surface of the tile. They also highly suggest limiting roof traffic.
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Clean Your Tile Roof To Get The Full Life Out Of It
Investing in a concrete tile roof is a significant investment upfront, but for many of our customers, it pays off. They reap the benefits of low maintenance, curb appeal, fire safety, and even energy efficiency. But like all roof types in our rainy northwest climate, they are subject to significant moss growth. For our customer, Mike, located in Portlands Cedar Mills neighborhood, cleaning and treating his concrete tile roof is a must to protect his investment. If customers like Mike continue to maintain their roof regularly, it can last up to 50 years! The average composite roof lasts about 25-30 years, in comparison.
Cost To Hire A Pro For Cleaning
Most roof cleaning contractors charge $0.40 to $0.75 per square foot, or around $550 to $1,300 for most homes. The size of the roof, its pitch and whether your home is a single-story or multi-story dwelling are major price factors.
The work will include tarping sensitive trees, shrubs and flower beds on the ground to protect them, cleaning the roof, and cleaning up the debris that is dislodged from the roof into gutters and onto the ground. The work might be done from a lift, or the cleaner might get right onto the roof.
Expect the work to take between a few hours and half a day for everything from setting up to cleaning up the job site when the work is done.
Costimates is an online library of home improvement cost estimates, to help homeowners learn, plan, budget and compare repair pricing and replacement costs around their house. We also match homeowners to qualified contractors in their local area for free quotes and quality home improvement services.
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Disconnect Water Tanks And Clear Your Guttering
If you have your guttering system connected to a water storage tank, ensure that it is disconnected before you begin. Otherwise, any chemicals used while cleaning your roof tiles will find their way into your water storage.
You may also wish to clear your guttering system at this point. You can do this at ground level with a gutter brush. If your gutters easily fill with debris due to an overhanging tree, fit a gutter guard.
Quick Tips For Keeping A Roof Clean And In Good Condition
Regular tile roof cleaning is an excellent way of keeping your homes roof in good condition and looking its best, but a homeowner can also reduce debris on a homes roof by trimming back tree branches and especially if they hang over the roof directly. Trees drop leaves, twigs, seeds, moss, sap, acorns, needles, and other such residues onto a homes roof, while providing a place for birds to roost those birds then leave caustic, damaging, and unsightly droppings on the roof!
While you cant always do much about airborne dust and other debris created by nearby production facilities, construction zones, and roadways, you can reduce the dust and dirt around your property with regular power washing services. The more layers of dirt covering your homes exterior walls and driveway, the more that might become airborne and wind up on the roof!
Letting moss, mold, and other growth form and spread along a homes exterior walls and underneath roof eaves can also mean seeing those residues make their way to the roof. Regular pressure washing, gutter cleaning and brightening, and other property washing kills growing mold spores and other residues, reducing the risk of roof moss and algae.
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Coat Or Impregnate The Roof Tiles
Roof tiles that have been polluted with moss generally have a porous structure as well. This does not apply to glazed roof tiles. Ceramic roof tiles that are not glazed however, become porous by age. Cleaning under high pressure may also contribute to higher rates of wear and tear of the top layer. As a result of this, it is often required to protect the tiles against pollution and new moss formation after the cleaning is done. This can happen in two ways: by means of coating or by impregnating.
Coating the roof
When coating, a coloured or transparent coating is sprayed onto the roof in two layers. This will be done under high pressure in order for the product to fill all corners and gaps. The coating method is especially chosen when the tiles dont look good anymore, not even after cleansing. If the roof tiles are still good-looking, one mostly opts for impregnating.
Impregnating the roof
Polishing And Sealing Your Tiles
One of the most important steps to take in keeping your cement tiles looking great is to polish and seal them. After installation, use fine wet sandpaper to very lightly sand the wet surface. This prepares the tiles to accept the sealant.
Next, use a high-quality penetrating sealer, and when its dry, buff the whole thing with a soft, white buffing pad. The reason you want to be sure your tiles are properly sealed is that the tiles are porous, which means they are capable of absorbing dirt and stains. A penetrating seal seeps into the pores and fills them so that stains, spills, and dirt can simply be wiped clean.
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Can A Moss Killer Be Applied Before The Moss Is Removed
This is a common question, can/should a moss killing chemical be applied to the roof before the moss is removed?
The answer is no.
First, you would need much more of the chemical as the moss would soak it up.
Second, thick layers of moss will prevent the chemical from soaking into the tile/overlaps.
Third, if you were thinking of applying the chemical instead of manually removing the moss with a scraper, then you would have a big problem the dead moss would gradually wash down into the gutters and block them. It could take months if not years for all the moss to wash off the roof. Your gutters would need frequent cleaning and even then they are still likely to become blocked.
Washing Bituminous Sheath Roofs
To clean Canadian tiles made from bituminous sheath, or stone finished on top with shingles of various colours, avoid using a pressure washer. Instead wash the roof only by hand, using a soft bristled brush in circular motions. Be careful not to damage the roof with your feet it is recommended to use panels or boards to move around.
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Roof Cleaning By Using The Correct Chemicals
One of the most gentle yet effective ways to remove roof moss and clean the roof is by way of scraping. A normal 9 trowel is suitable, if your roofing contractor chooses a dry day any moss will flake off the roof much easier and there wont be any scratch marks on the tiles. This approach is recommended by Forticrete who are one of several roof tile producers in the United Kingdom.
If you are concerned about scuff marks to the tiles then a rubber scraper and stiff brush can be used. Remember with this method there is no damage to the tiles and no flood risk, unlike other roof cleaning methods such as high-powered pressure washing.
Look at the photo below, the moss was removed with nothing more than a trowel and a hand brush, the difference compared to the mossy section of roof is striking.
Roof cleaning doesnt need to involve power jet washing.
This photo was even taken before any chemicals were applied what a difference! As you can see, there is no damage to the tiles, no scratch marks and the tiles have not been dislodged by the process.
What Is The Best Way To Clean Moss Of A Concrete Tile Roof
When cleaning moss from a concrete tile roof, there are four priorities that a homeowner should consider.
- All moss and algae that was once present has been either removed or killed.
- All debris that may be inhibiting proper roof drainage has been removed.
- No damage occurs.This means absolutely no pressure washing.
- The roof either looks new, or its aesthetics have greatly improved.
Any cleaning method that fails to accomplish these four things is inadequate, and will either be destructive or inefficient for the homeowner.
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The Problem With High Pressure Washing
The issue with this process is the potential damage that can be done to the roof. We get calls all the time to come out and clean roofs that used to be cleaned by pressure washers. Just 2 months ago, we did 36 large buildings in Cape Coral that had suffered over $200,000 in roof damage at the hands of the previous pressure washer who is now out of business.
It happens all the time. We worked with some homes in Naples that were all worth over one million dollars. The owners called us because they suspected the prior pressure washers werent that good and they wanted someone who wouldnt walk on the roof. When we sent our lift up above the roof, it looked like a gorilla had been up there. We had to stop the job and have the owner contract with a roofer to get the tiles repaired. It cost the homeowner $5,000 to get them replaced and the colors didnt exactly match. To use high pressure washing, you have to walk the entire roof to clean it.
Using A Trowel Or Stiff Brush
A simple yet relatively manual method of cleaning roof tiles is to scrape off the moss, algae and dirt by hand. Using a tool such as a trowel, scrape the moss and dirt away from the tiles. The drier the day the better, because the moss and other materials will not be stuck to the tiles with moisture. Alternatively, use a stiff brush to scrape the dirt off both methods are a quick and easy way to clean your roof tiles.
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Diy Concrete Tile Roof Cleaning
If your comfortable getting to the roof and working on it, doing this job is possible with the right tools, supplies and techniques. Youll need:
Roof cleaner Often sold in a concentrate that you can mix in a pressure washer or sprayer. Be sure it is designed for concrete tiles and will kill vegetation and help inhibit future growth.
Pressure sprayer Most tile cleaners recommend a pressure sprayer on a low setting 800 to 1,200 psi. Use the minimum amount of pressure needed to dislodge the debris on the roof.
Gloves, eye goggles and grippy footwear for safe work on the roof and with the chemical cleaner.
There are a few techniques you should be sure you understand before beginning.
The general approach is to spray the cleaner onto the roof and let it sit for at least 30 seconds, and then spray it and all the dirt and debris off the roof. Work in sections of 50 to 100 square feet at a time roughly 5 x 10 or 10 x 10.
How To Care For A Concrete Roof
As previously mentioned, with proper care, you can expect your concrete roof to last for half a century or more. But how do you care for concrete roofing tiles? We have good news! Caring for your concrete roof is no more complicated than caring for an asphalt shingle or clay tile roof.
Tips for maintaining your concrete roof:
- Schedule annual inspections and maintenance, even if you think your roof is in good shape
- Make sure you have an adequate, working drainage system
- Visually inspect your roof every month or after major weather events
- Dont forget to inspect your attic or crawlspace for signs of leaks or other issues
- Ensure your roof is appropriately ventilated to avoid superheating during the summer
- When you uncover a problem, make repairs as quickly as possible to ensure that your roof doesnt sustain any further damage
While maintenance of your concrete roof is very similar to an asphalt roof, its important to remember that, much like clay tiles, concrete tiles are more prone to cracking and breaking. This is something you should look out for when performing visual inspections. It also means you want to avoid walking on your roof as much as possible.
If you ever need work done on your roof, hire a professional roofer like Lyons Roofing who is experienced in and familiar with maintaining concrete roof tiles.
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Why Clean Your Concrete Tiles Roof
Our customers generally come to us with two reasons for concrete tile roof cleaning. Some are concerned with the aesthetics of their home, theyve noticed the moss and arent keen on the way it looks. Others have had an issue with leaks.
When moss builds up in the spaces between the tiles and at the edges of the tiles, water can become blocked from its intended draining pattern, causing backflow into the roof, resulting in leaks. The other thing the moss and algae will do is eat away at the tile coating, which results in loss of color.
Is It Required To Clean Roof Tiles
A small amount of moss is not a problem and this appears on nearly all tiled roofs of a respectable age. However, as a mossed roof is getting older, mosses may gain the upper hand at a certain moment in time. In that case, different kinds of moss that are able to hold a lot of moisture may start appearing. Along with this, types of weeds could start to grow and root in the moss or even in between of the roof tiles. All of this is not beneficial to the condition of the roof. Also the roof tiles might get damaged, especially during freezing weather conditions. That is why it is advisable to have a roof cleaned as soon as mosses threaten to take the upper hand.
How Long Does The Roof Moss Treatment Last
For a roof like this, the cleaning will last about 12 months, and the treatment will keep the roof moss free for up to 3 years. The lifespan is mostly dependent on the trees and other nearby debris landing on the home. For Mikes house, we recommended tree trimming to keep debris from regularly falling on his roof and enable more sunlight on the roofs surface, which will help mitigate moss growth. Our treatment works on all roof types, and no matter if your roof is tile, wood, or composition, annual roof cleaning is vital to maximize the life of the surface. This project required a team of two service techs and took a full day to complete. Weve worked with this customer for a total of five years and will continue to service his roof and other surfaces for years to come. At NW Surface Cleaner, your roof is our roof!