How To Clean A Metal Roof
How to clean a metal roof like a PRO!
By Roof Cleaning Pro – Pierce Parker of
Cleaning a metal roof can be a very tedious and lengthy process depending on which way you decide to go about it. There are many types of metal roofing types, coatings to work with, and variables involved on every job. Every metal roof cleaning evolution is different with no two being the same ever!
Pressure Washer For Asphalt Shingles
Some homeowners wish to steer clear of any chemical products, as they fear staining their asphalt shingle roofs. If you fall into this category, you can use a pressure washer instead.
Professional roof cleaners will chargehundreds of dollars to pressure-wash roofs. While you could cough up the moneyfor this service, it isnt necessary. If you dont have this piece of equipmenton hand, you can borrow one from a neighbour or rent one for a low cost. Then,youll have to dedicate an hour or two of your time to get the job done.
Keep in mind that a regular hose wont beenough a pressure washing machine will produce a pressure of 2,000 pounds perinch or more.
When To Clean Your Homes Roof
While a light drizzle outside might not interfere with your roof cleaning, note that heavy rain will typically wash away your detergents before they can dissolve thick mud and dirt. A wet roof is also dangerous for walking! Wait for a clear day if needed, to ensure a safe and thorough clean.
If you have allergies, you might wait until after springtime allergy season has passed if you need to remove pollen from the homes roof. For homeowners who love to entertain outside, consider roof washing a good week or two before you open the patio or deck, so any detergent scents and odors have time to dissipate before you fire up the grill!
For homes prone to mold and moss, schedule cleaning at the end of fall, to remove any growth and help kill spores and roots before snow covers those shingles and tiles. Fall also typically means dropping humidity levels so moss and other growth are far less likely to return after an autumn roof cleaning.
A homeowner might also schedule roof washing if theyre thinking of putting their home up for sale. While a clean roof might not increase your overall property values, note that potential buyers are often turned off by dirty exterior surfaces, including roofs! Layers of untouched dirt and grime might also make potential buyers wonder if you maintained your home properly, so schedule roof cleaning and other power washing services before taking photos or putting that for sale sign out front.
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Should You Clean Or Replace Your Roof
If you’re looking at your roof and thinking it looks a little worse for wear, it might just need a good cleaning. Sometimes, the buildup of algae and moss on a roof can make the shingles look like they are in worse condition than they really are. A professional roofing contractor can inspect your roof and talk to you about its condition. If they think that cleaning it is the best option, they can either do the work themselves or direct you to a reputable roof cleaning company.
If it does turn out that your roof needs replacement, your contractor might recommend shingles that contain copper or another material that helps to repel algae growth. A roofing pro can also give you tips on keeping your roof clean and how frequently to schedule cleanings.
Whats Wrong With Diy Roof Cleaning
As roof washing is vital for keeping a home in good repair, you might be tempted to buy pressure washing equipment and try to tackle this job yourself. While owning power washing equipment allows you to clean a homes roof at your convenience, this job is often more difficult and even dangerous than homeowners realize!
One mistake homeowners often make with DIY roof washing is assuming that added pressure is the best choice for removing moss and thick layers of dirt and grime. Too much pressure can easily loosen or split shingles and tiles while also creating messy splatter. Added pressure might also be ineffective at removing all that dirt and moss!
Instead, moss and other growth including mold and algae are best addressed by specialty chemicals designed to kill growing roots and spores. Surfactants or detergents meant for roofs also dissolve thick dirt and grime, loosening storm debris and caked-on mud. This allows you to use low-pressure rinsing for a complete yet safe clean!
Homeowners also might mistakenly use chlorine bleach on their homes roof, which dries out and damages tiles and shingles. Oxygenated bleach helps kill mold and algae without the same risk of damage of chlorine bleach.
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Two Common Types Of Algae On Your Roof
Fire Moss – Fire Moss is less common than the Gloeocapsa Magma below but is still very prevalent on many roof substrates, from cedar shake to asphalt shingles, it loves to latch on and reproduce. When fire moss gets out of hand, it will push up your shingles allowing water to get underneath and severely degrading your roof.
Gloeocapsa Magma – This is the old “black streak on my roof” culprit. It is most common on Asphalt shingles and can is a spore based algae, it lives on the limestone in your shingles. When it feeds it degrades the limestone and eventually if left untreated, will take over the whole roof making it look all black when that is not the color of the shingle itself, that is in fact the algae growing on the shingle.
Toss From Roof To Trash Container
As the old roofing material piles up at the roof jacks, carry it to the edge of the roof and toss it into the trash container below. If you couldn’t get the trash container close to the house, throw the shingles onto a tarp on the ground. Make the pile on a flat area away from flowers and shrubs.
Shingles are heavy. Dispose of the shingles before the pile gets too large and they slide off the roof. They usually come off in clumps. If you’re peeling off two or more layers of shingles, even a small section will be heavy. You may have to pull the shingles apart to make them light enough to carry. Rolling the shingles and felt paper into a ball will also make them easier to handle.
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Green Or Black Roof Stains
Check the condition of your roof from the ground up. Do you notice green- or dark-colored stains plastered all over the surface of the roof? These stains indicate the presence of growing organisms, such as algae or moss.
Across the eastern half of the country, roof shingles tend to grow a species of algae named gloeocapsa magma. It takes shape in streaks or patches of slime, a moist and slippery substance, that can appear anywhere from blue-green to solid black. The presence of excessive moisture and sunlight makes for an ideal harvesting area for microorganisms. Fortunately, roof algae alone do not pose a significant threat to the overall structural integrity of the roofing system. Unlike mold and mildew, algae do not endanger your home or the health of the residents.
However, these microorganisms can lock in unwanted dampness or invite other, larger creatures to wreak havoc on the roofing structure, making it an urgent problem that needs to be solved during the next routine maintenance visit or with a total .
To clean it, oxygen bleach or a solution of trisodium phosphate often does the job. Power-spraying or scrubbing the stains on your own is possible, but likely to cause further irreparable damage. It is a good idea to have a professional roof cleaning service take care of this part of maintenance for you.
How Often Should I Clean My Roof Shingles
The frequency at which you need to clean your roof depends on several factors including the climate you live in, how much sun exposure your roof gets, and the color of your roof shingles. In moisture-heavy climates you may need to clean your roof every 2-5 years. In drier climates you can usually stretch this number to much longer. If you have a lot of tree coverage over your roof or accumulate a lot of debris, you will likely be closer to the 2-3 year range.
If your roof shingles are a dark grey color, you will not notice they are as dirty as quickly as someone that has a grey or tan colored roof. From a curb appeal perspective, darker colored roofs hide their dirtiness better and you can get by with minor staining for longer. This does not mean you should ignore a roof being decayed by limestone-eating algae, however.
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How To Clean Roof Shingles
This article was co-authored by Allen Lee. Allen Lee is a Home Improvement Specialist and the Owner of Honest Lee Handyman Services, a licensed and insured handyman business servicing Sacramento, California, and surrounding areas. Working with homeowners and businesses to get their small repairs done in a timely and efficient manner, Honest Lee Handyman Services provides gutter and dryer vent cleaning along with fixture, fence, drywall, and toilet repairs.There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 43,675 times.
Proper cleaning is an important step in roof maintenance. One day you may notice that your roof is turning black or fungus is spreading across of it. Some of this growth, including the stains from algae spores, are cosmetic, but others, such as moss, cause costly damage to your roof. To keep your roof safe and sightly, choose a cool, overcast day, mix a cleaning solution, spray it onto your roof, then rinse after 20 minutes.
How To Get Rid Of Algae On The Roof
You could replace all the roofing with new shingles dark enough to disguise the staining, or with shingles laced with copper granules, which are lethal to algae. But that would only make sense if the shingles were worn out.
The less expensive solution is to spray wash the roof with a 50 percent mix of water and bleach to get rid of the algae. Just be sure to wet your foundation plantings first, and rinse everything in clean water when youre done. Plants dont like bleach, and wetting them with plain water first protects them.
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How To Tell When Your Roof Shingles Need Cleaning
First identifying a dirty roof versus a clean roof is how you can determine when your roof needs maintenance. The organism that feeds off your roof shingles is called Gloeocapsa magma, which is a type of bacteria that feeds off of the limestone mineral in your roof shingles. They are often seen as black streaks on roofs that are gradually becoming dirty. Below is a picture of what Gloeocapsa magma looks like on a light grey roof before undergoing a roof cleaning.
The pictures in this roof cleaning were shortly after treating the roof with one of the chemicals we recommend using for washing roof shingles. The white streaks, which are now dead bacteria, will soon disappear over the course of a few weeks as rainfall rinses the dirty spots off the shingles.
For all of the following chemicals, we recommend applying the cleaning solution using a garden sprayer, wearing gloves and a respirator. Water all your plants before during and after chemical application and put a bag over your gutter downspouts to collect cleaning solution running down the drain. Dump any of the runoff collected in your bags onto your concrete driveway and let it biodegrade naturally.
How To Clear Leaves From Roof Without Getting On The Roof
I live in a single-wide mobile home in the midst of a lot of trees. It is the usual low pitch of a mobile home roof. My husband always used to just climb up on the roof with a ladder and blow the debris off into the yard and then we’d deal with it from there. However, is now up to me to take care of the situation. I do all my own yard work–which is a LOT! Grass and such in summer, leaves in fall/winter–all my own lawn mower maintenance, etc. So, I am in good shape and reasonably athletic, but I do not like heights. I have attempted a time or two to get myself onto the roof from the ladder, but I just do not feel safe. I know if the roof was more steeply pitched, there are leaf rakes that would work while standing on the ground, but with the low pitch, I have not found anything that looks even remotely like it would actually work with me on the ground. I can’t find any type of extension pole that has the angle in the actual pole where it is needed….just the ability to angle the head of the rake device. Does anyone have any suggestions other than just hiring someone to get up there and blow the stuff off 4 or 5 times a year? I sometimes overlook the obvious so just thought I’d ask in case there is an easy solution that I have overlooked!
Wet/Dry Vac with blower option, hook up a gutter cleaning extension to the blower. Various extensions available.
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Apply The Cleaning Solution On Your Roof
Its time to get to your roof and spray everything down. Spray every asphalt shingle you want to clean, especially those that already have a lot of algae.
Point the nozzle of your spray, depress the handle and go! Be thorough and get rid of those nasty black streaks.
Theres no absolute rule on how much cleaning solution you need. It usually depends on how dirty your asphalt shingle is, how much algae has grown, and more.
So the more asphalt shingle you need to clean, the more solution you need to prepare.
Once youre done spraying your roof down, let the solution sit for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Clean Stains And Moss
Black stains that have formed on your roof are basically dead algae which had been feeding off the organic materials in your shingles. They do not pose a real threat to your shingles or your house, but they do not look nice.
Moss is another pest to your roof, but cleaning moss should be your priority over cleaning stains because moss can, in fact, harm your roof. It can raise shingles and create an environment suitable for the creation of leakages.
There are many formulas for a perfect stain cleaning solution. Generally, people tend to mix bleach, detergent, and water to clean their shingles and use a spray can, a light broom or a scrub to gently clean the stains. In order to prevent any damage, contact your roof manufacturer or contractor. They will give you advice on what to use to clean stains off your roof and, possibly, indicate any dangers involved in using chemicals.
The biggest mistake you can make is to use a pressure washer when cleaning your roof. It has enough power to remove the granules from your roof, which can seriously compromise its health and decrease its lifespan.
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How To Clean And Inspect Your Roof
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Its important to clean and inspect your roof regularly, since roof leaks can cause major damage to your home including water damage, rot, and mold.
If the roof is high or steep, consider inspecting it from the ground using binoculars.
Start by cleaning the roof of leaves, limbs, or any other debris, paying particular attention to problem spots like chimneys, dormers, and valleys.
Next, inspect the flashing for damage. Use masonry caulk to seal gaps where the flashing attaches to bricks and urethane caulk to repair the flashing itself.
Things To Know About Roof Cleaning
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How To Thoroughly Clean Your Roof Shingles
Not only does your roof serve you by providing the protection from the weather to your house, but it also has a saying in how will your house look. However, cleaning your roof from unwanted debris and stains affects not only the appearance of your roof and house, but it also helps the roof to be more efficient.
You wont have to replace your roof for this one here are a few tips on how to clean your roof thoroughly. You might want to call a professional for this one if you dont know how to handle your roof or if you think youll feel unsafe up there. Nevertheless, keep in mind that thorough maintenance of your roof done by a professional can cost quite a bit of cash.
How To Clean Your Roof Shingles
Whether you have dirt and grime build-up or moldy stains, here are the tools youll need for the job.
- Full-body safety harness
- Lye or other non-toxic roof cleaner
- Water pump
- Roofing rinsing tool
We recommend using a full-body harness, as getting up on your roof can be dangerous if youre not a professional. If you have any reservations about getting up on your roof, seek out a professional roof cleaner to get the job done. Sure, it might cost you a little more than doing it on your own, but its better to let an experienced pro handle it and get the job done right than fall and break your arm.
In addition, make sure to choose the right roof cleaner. Some are definitely better than others. To help you choose the right cleaning solution based on your roof, check out our list of the best roof cleaners on the market today.
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