If you’re a homeowner searching for how to clean a roof yourself, you might also be wondering if DIY roof cleaning is a good idea in the first place! As with any home repair or maintenance project, roof cleaning might seem simple and straightforward; however, improper tools and techniques can result in an ineffective clean and even roof damage.
After considering some tips on how to clean a roof yourself, you might note some mistakes to avoid and why it’s often recommended you leave this work to the pros. Discuss your concerns with a pressure washing contractor near you as needed, so you end up with a beautiful home in good repair and that looks its best as well.
What Is the Best Way to Clean Your Roof?
The easiest way to clean your roof is with specialty roof cleaning tools with telescoping handles. You can typically hook these to a garden hose and cleanser container; use a 50-50 mixture of oxygenated bleach and water and spray your home’s roof. Start from the highest point and work slowly so the water collects in the home’s gutters rather than creating a messy splatter.
Let the bleach solution sit for several minutes and then spray the roof with plain water to rinse. If the roof still seems dirty, invest in a roof cleaning detergent from the hardware or home improvement store. These detergents can often dissolve thick dirt and grime from the roof and help dislodge sand, silt, and gritty debris.
Will Bleach Damage Shingles?
Bleach doesn’t typically damage shingles as long as you dilute it to a 50-50 solution, remove that bleach within a few minutes of washing, and ensure a thorough rinsing. Bleach is actually used commonly to kill algae, mold, and other contaminants from a roof, and can keep those damaging elements from returning.
What Is the Best Roof Cleaning Product?
Professional roof cleaners use a variety of products to remove dirt and grime from commercial and residential roofs, depending on roofing materials, levels of dirt, and other such factors. Most will choose a roof cleaning product containing sodium hypochlorite, or pool chlorine!
Sodium hypochlorite kills algae and dirt commonly found in pools and on roofs. Roofers will dilute this chlorine according to levels of dirt and algae needing removal, usually 75-25 hypochlorite-water or 50-50 solution.
Is It Safe to Sweep a Home’s Roof?
Sweeping a home’s roof removes storm debris and heavy snow, protecting the roof’s structure and shingles or tiles. However, it’s vital that a homeowner use a specialty brush or broom designed for roofs, as these will have soft bristles or rubber edges, which protects shingles from damage.
A homeowner should also stay safely on the ground when they sweep or brush a roof! Being on a roof is always dangerous in any circumstances, but the motion of sweeping or pushing debris off a roof can cause a person to lose their footing easily. This is especially important if you’re removing heavy, slick snow from the roof.
When Should You Clean Your Roof?
A homeowner should consider roof cleaning every year or perhaps every two years, depending on local weather conditions and if the roof is prone to dirt and grime. For instance, if your home is located near production facilities or a busy roadway, its roof might get covered in soot regularly and would benefit from annual cleaning. Overhanging tree branches might deposit lots of leaves, twigs, seeds, acorns, moss, and other debris that also need annual cleaning!
A home’s roof should also be cleaned as often as needed; if you notice black or green algae, mold, moss, or other debris on the roof, don’t hesitate to contact a roof washing professional right away! Local weather conditions, your home’s roofing material, and other factors might contribute to the roof needing cleaning more often than average, so don’t assume you need to wait another year or two before scheduling roof cleaning.
On the other hand, if your area isn’t prone to strong storms that leave debris on the roof, and if soot, air pollution, and other residues aren’t a concern, you might schedule roof cleaning every other year. In tropical areas, consider roof cleaning in the fall after your area’s stormy season has passed. In other locations, springtime roof washing ensures your home is clean and pristine and ready for when you open the deck or balcony for entertaining!
Why Do You Need to Clean a New Roof?
One common mistake homeowners make is to assume that a new roof doesn’t need inspection, repairs, or cleaning, at least not for several years after its installation. However, while newer roofs are typically strong and durable against storms and high winds, they can still suffer hail damage, water damage, and other issues spotted with a high-quality, annual roof inspection.
A new roof also needs cleaning to remove storm debris, soot, air pollution and acid rain residues, animal droppings, and other dirt and grime. This cleaning protects a new roof from premature damage and keeps it looking its best.
Is Roof Cleaning a Good Idea? Fast Facts About Roof Grime!
Now that you’ve considered some tips for effective roof cleaning, you might note if roof cleaning is a good idea in the first place! Roof cleaning is a good idea when done right, as cleaning removes harmful dirt and debris:
- Algae literally eat away at asphalt shingles, so that they eventually become worn and thin and provide little protection against water damage.
- Soot and air pollution residues dry out shingles and tiles, making them brittle and more prone to cracking.
- Sand and other gritty debris also strip shingle granules and can dry out shingles and tiles.
- Mold, moss, and algae grow between shingles and tiles, loosening them and increasing the risk of them coming away from their connectors and the roof itself.
- Mold and other contaminants hold damp debris on the roof’s surface, increasing the risk of water damage to shingles, tiles, roof decking, flashing, and chimney brick.
- Roof cleaning exposes soft spots, sagging areas, and other needed repairs obscured by dirt and grime.
- Pollen, dust, and other such irritants clinging to a home’s roof become airborne, creating an unhealthy environment especially for those with asthma, allergies, and other sensitivities. Roof washing and exterior house washing remove these bothersome residues, improving outdoor air quality.
Roof cleaning also improves your home’s curb appeal instantly! Homeowners are often surprised at how their home’s appearance improves with regular roof cleaning, restoring the color of tiles and shingles and creating a more welcoming exterior environment.
People Believe Power Washing is BAD for Your Roof. Is it?
While roof cleaning is vital for protecting a home’s roof and ensuring it looks its best, a homeowner should never consider DIY roof pressure cleaning! Improper techniques such as using too much pressure can strip shingle granules and loosen shingles and tiles. Not rinsing the roof quickly enough allows detergent or bleach to dry on its surface, leaving behind unsightly, sticky residues.
However, professional power washing avoids all these risks and ensures a clean, pristine roof in good condition. Professional power washing contractors typically use soft wash power washing for roofs, starting with a specialty detergent meant to dissolve thick dirt, mold, algae, and other residues.
Once dissolved, a power washing contractor only needs to use light pressure to rinse away that dirt and grime. This low-pressure soft wash cleaning protects shingle granules and other roofing materials from damage, and helps avoid messy splatter.
A trained, experienced power washing contractor also knows the right techniques to use for roof washing, including aiming the pressure washing wand downward, to avoid loosening shingles and tiles. A pressure washing contractor can also check for loose shingles and flashing, chipped or otherwise damaged tiles, and other areas that need special techniques for deep cleaning without damage.
Keeping Your Home’s Roof Clean Throughout the Year
While every roof should be cleaned professionally as needed, a homeowner might take a few added steps to keep their home’s roof in good condition throughout the year. Trimming back overhanging tree branches is always recommended, to help avoid fallen leaves, twigs, and even branches from settling onto a home’s roof. Removing tree branches also means fewer places for birds to sit over the home’s roof and leave behind unsightly, caustic droppings.
Clean gutters are also vital for a clean roof! Gutters catch rainwater and direct it to nearby downspouts, which direct that water away from the home, protecting exterior walls and foundations from water damage.
However, clogged gutters allow water to build up, which then increases the risk of mold and algae growth along roof eaves. To ensure a clean, damage-free roof, keep your home’s gutters clean and free of dirt, mud, leaves, and other debris. Leaf guards, or screens that sit on top of the gutters, help keep residues out of the gutters and make cleaning easier.
A Word from Our Pressure Washing Team
ProClean Pressure Washing of Bradenton is proud to present this information to our readers and we hope you find it helpful. If you’re still wondering how to clean a roof yourself, or need expert pressure washing in Bradenton, Florida, give us a call! We provide a full range of roof pressure washing, exterior house washing, gutter cleaning, and concrete power washing services, sure to fit your needs and budget. We always offer FREE quotes and stand behind all our work with a full guarantee you can trust!