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Roof Cleaning: How to Clean Shingles

By November 6, 2020 No Comments
moss growing on roof

moss growing on roofAsphalt shingle roofs are the most common type of roofs for residential homes. We’ve gone over the pros and cons before; but essentially asphalt shingles are affordable, durable, and relatively low maintenance. However, this doesn’t mean you just put them on your roof and forget about them.

In addition to the regular wear and tear to your roof by the weather, another concern homeowners tend to have is roof algae and moss. The black streaks and stains that appears on asphalt shingles is a blue-green algae. It’s harmless, but it doesn’t look great. Moss, on the other hand, can cause some big problems.

Is roof cleaning necessary?

Yes! Without regular roof cleaning, algae and moss will continue to grow on your roof. Not only is this unsightly, but as the moss thickens, it can actually raise up some of your roof shingles. This promotes water buildup which will damage your roof and increase your chances of a leak – and we all know that last think you want is a leaky roof and mold mildew inside your home.

How to Clean Shingle Roof

For starters, power washing is not the way you want to clean a roof. While power washing would be effective, you’d probably have to replace your roof shortly after. Pressure washing has been labeled the “kiss of death” for shingles as it significantly speeds up the aging process. So in order to avoid even feeling urge for power washing, it’s important regularly keep up with some of our suggested “soft wash” methods.

Asphalt shingles shouldn’t be cleaned with anything stronger than the pressure of a common garden hose. That’s about 70psi. So you’ll need to bring in some chemicals to help get the job done. This process is known as a soft wash, which simply means you’re allowing the chemicals to do the job, rather than power washing. Soft washing allows you to treat and kill moss and algae without harming the structural integrity of your roof.

Cleaning Roof with Bleach

The first thing you’ll want to do is check out your gutters and make sure they don’t exit directly into any of your landscaping. You don’t want to accidentally kill off and plants or trees while cleaning your roof. Next you’ll go onto making your cleaning solution.

While you can use bleach, pool shock (Sodium Hypochlorite) is actually a common algaecide used in the roof cleaning industry. It’s easy to get your hands on (just go to your local pool supply or hardware store) and it will actually be stronger than any store-bought bleach you’d find as a consumer. You’ll want to mix the pool shock with water at the proper concentration for what’s on your roof.

75% Sodium Hypochlorite – 25% Water: Used for heavy algae, moss, and lichen.

50% Sodium Hypochlorite – 50% Water: Used for black streaks (black algae).

25% Sodium Hypochlorite – 75% Water: Used for the lighter algae stains.

Step-by-Step Roof Cleaning

  1. Protect all landscaping that might be impacted by your roof cleaning solution. Pre-soak everything with water so it is less likely to absorb anything than runs off the roof during the wash process.
  2. Mix your cleaning chemicals in a garden sprayer. We recommend starting with the 50/50 solution.
  3. Work your way from top to bottom applying and even coat of roof cleaning chemical.
  4. Once the entire roof is covered, let the solution sit on your roof for a few minutes.
  5. Use a standard garden hose to spray down the roof and remove the solution entirely.
  6. Follow up on any problem areas with either a second cleaning or gentle scrubbing with a brush. If using a brush, be sure not to apply to much pressure. Otherwise you’ll cause the same damage that you previously avoided by not power washing.
  7. Re-soak any plants that might have been affected by the cleaning solution.

If you have a lot of expensive landscaping, a steep roof, or you’re afraid of heights – it might be better to just hire a professional. Cleaning your roof is hard work, and there a plenty of cleaning services out there that can help make sure your roof looks brand new.

How often should you have your roof cleaned?

Having professional cleaners come out to clean your roof yearly is a good goal. It keeps up both your home’s curb appeal and integrity. But our best advice it for you to just keep an eye on things. Just like gutter cleaning and window cleaning. If you notice moss or algae growth, you’ll know it’s time for maintenance.

While cleaning your roof, if you notice missing or damaged shingles, warped areas, or any other signs of damage; give us a call. We offer affordable roof repair and maintenance service for Columbus, Ohio residents. Call us today for a quote.

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