5 Things You Need to Know About Residential Roof Cleaning

March 22, 2019

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Regular roof cleaning preserves the life of a roof's shingles and tiles, removing damaging algae, grit, grime, moss, and soot, and restoring the color of the roof as well. Roof washing is especially vital for homes in tropical areas or those located near any large beachfront or waterfront property, as sand and grit from a nearby beach can settle into the nooks and crannies of a roof, causing severe damage.

Here are five things every homeowner should know about residential roof washing:

  1. Roof washing is not a DIY job but takes skill and know-how.
  2. Older roofs are best cleaned with a soft wash system.
  3. Moss and algae are not just unsightly but cause severe damage to shingles.
  4. Debris does not need to be visible from the ground to be severe enough to damage to your roof.
  5. Roof power washing is not an overpriced service, but a valuable investment in the condition of your home.

To ensure you are doing everything possible to protect your home's appearance and condition, note five things you need to know about residential roof cleaning in Sarasota and beyond, as well as some general but vital information about power washing your home's exterior overall. Be sure to discuss this information with professional roof cleaning contractors, so you know how to best care for your house and all the exterior surfaces of your property.

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Proper Roof Power Washing Is Not a DIY Job

Never assume you can rent a pressure washer and manage roof washing on your own. There are many reasons why properly cleaning a home's roof is not a DIY job; note a few of those reasons here:

  • Trying to balance on a roof is dangerous on its own; trying to manage a clumsy and powerful pressure washer while standing on a sloped and slick surface is very difficult, and virtually impossible for those not experienced in roofing. Falling off a roof can result in serious injury if not even a fatality.
  • While balancing on a ladder is also difficult, but a bit more manageable with a power washer, spraying roofing tiles from below can loosen their nails and staples. Those shingles might then be more likely to come loose in high winds and strong storms! Spraying shingles from below can also result in dangerous and bothersome splatter.
  • A proper and through roof washing takes some skill and expertise, to reach dirt and debris hidden between the cracks and crevices of roofing shingles, or disguised by the dark color of those tiles. You cannot watch “how to clean roof shingles” videos and learn all there is to know about roof washing! A professional pressure washing contractor will know how to clean around chimneys, vents, flashing, and other such features of a roof, thoroughly but without damaging those areas.
  • Using too much pressure when washing a roof can loosen the granules on shingles, causing those tiles to become thin and brittle. You can even loosen old and loose shingles or blow shingles right off a roof with too much pressure from a power washer!
  • A professional power washing contractor will know the right detergent or surfactant to use on a roof, to dissolve dirt and grime without drying out the shingles and causing damage.

For all these reasons, it's best to leave roof washing to a professional exterior house cleaning company or someone experienced in roof washing and cleaning.

Older Roofs Are Best Cleaned With a Soft Wash System

A soft wash cleaning begins with the application of particular surfactants or detergents. These cleansers seep into the pits and pores of a home's roof, working their way along the undersides of roofing tiles and shingles as well as around flashing and other roof materials. Soft wash cleansers are gentle but strong, working to dissolve thick grit, grime, dust, dirt, mud, soot, and other such residues.

Soft wash systems use low-pressure rinsing to remove dirt. This pressure is typically just slightly stronger than the force created by a garden hose with a spray nozzle. Low-pressure rinsing won't loosen or cause damage to old, brittle roofing tiles, and won't wash away damaged granules along their surfaces. A professional power washing contractor can note if a soft wash cleaning is recommended for your roof, depending on its age and amount of dirt that needs cleaning.

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Moss and Algae Are Damaging to a Home's Roof

Moss and algae are especially damaging to a home's roof. These contaminants hold extra moisture against roof shingles and roof paper; this added moisture causes shingles to get soft and crumbly and can cause roofing paper to tear, leading to water leaks.

Unlike other debris on a home's roof, moss, algae, mold, and mildew continue to grow over time! These contaminants can work their way under a home's roofing shingles and eventually dislodge those tiles as they continue to spread. Never assume that you can ignore moss, algae, and other such growth on your roof, as overlooking needed washing can lead to a damaged roof and dangerous interior water leaks.

Don't Wait Until Algae and Other Debris Are Visible to Schedule Roof Washing

A homeowner should never wait until they see lines of algae or moss along roofing shingles or roof edges to schedule power washing for their home. Note why that is, and when you should have your home’s roof washed:

  • Algae, moss, mold, and mildew grow best in damp, dark spaces, away from air and sunlight. For a residential roof, these spaces are typically under and around roofing tiles and shingles, in areas unseen from below or during casual visual inspection.
  • Once algae and other such debris begin to form, they will grow and spread, dislodging and softening roofing tiles. The more humid the environment, the faster these contaminants will increase so that a roof then suffers quite a bit of damage in a short amount of time.
  • Consistent washing of a roof will remove wet leaves, twigs, seeds, and other debris that can cause algae, mold, and other contaminants to grow in the first place! Regular power washing can then prevent damage to the roof and ensure it always looks its best.
  • Washing a roof after a particularly stormy time of the year will remove all storm residue and debris that can lead to mold, moss, and other buildups.

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Hiring a Professional Roof Cleaning Company Is an Investment in Your Home

Regular, professional roof power washing will restore the overall appearance of your home's roof, removing built-up soot, grime, dust, and other debris, as well as various stains and areas of discoloration. Roofing shingles and tiles will then look fresh and vibrant so that your entire home seems cleaner and newer.

A soft wash system will also remove algae, mold, moss, and mildew that is typically unreachable with a standard hose or pressure washer. The detergents and surfactants used during a soft pressure washing are meant to penetrate all nooks and crannies of a roof, dissolving dirt and debris trapped under shingles and around roof eaves. Low-pressure rinsing won't strip away loose tiles or granules on the shingles themselves, while still protecting those tiles from damaging storm residues.

A thorough power washing also reveals areas of damage along the surface of a roof. A home's roof might have soft spots, indicating the need for structural repair, hidden under water stains or layers of soot and grime. A professional cleaning reveals damaged areas so that repairs can be made promptly, preserving the framework of the home and avoiding roof leaks and eventual water damage.

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Why Power Wash a House

Your roof cleaning cost is an investment in your home's structure and condition, as is power washing of your home's entire exterior. Note why it's good for every homeowner to have their home pressure washed on a regular basis:

  • Consistent cleaning of the home's gutters, windows, exterior walls, pool deck, and outside concrete and paver stones can restore the color of painted concrete, brick walls, and paver stones, and remove unsightly streaks and dirt from exterior windows. Regular cleaning then enhances a home's overall curb appeal, making those surfaces and materials seem new and in good repair.
  • Power washing a house reveals areas of needed repair, just as it does with a roof! Cleaning a home's exterior walls can reveal cracks in the brick or tears to aluminum siding, while power washing concrete driveways and walkways can also reveal cracks, chips, and other such damage.
  • Built-up dust, dirt, mud, silt, grit, and grime can soften and otherwise damage brick, concrete, and patio stones. Dirty windows become thin and weak over time. Regular washing of these materials prolongs their life and reduces the need for otherwise unnecessary repairs.
  • Power washing a home's gutters removes built-up debris and grime that causes clogs. Clogged gutters allow rainwater to splash over their sides, damaging a home's exterior walls and foundation. Clean gutters are especially important in tropical areas or those prone to heavy, frequent storms, to help avoid this water damage.

Related Questions

Why clean a new roof?

A roof of any age can be covered with damaging soot, grit, and grime, and it doesn't take long for algae and other contaminants to start growing under and around roofing shingles. Regular power washing of a roof no matter its age will preserve its condition and appearance.

Can you power wash clay roofing tiles?

Clay roofing tiles should be power washed on a regular basis, to remove damaging dirt, grime, silt, and other such debris. A soft wash cleaning is an excellent option for older or brittle tiles, and clay roofs covered in thick dirt and grime.

Does a detergent or surfactant dry out roofing shingles and tiles?

A detergent or surfactant meant for a home's roof or exterior surfaces will not dry out shingles or tiles. A professional power washing contractor experienced in roof cleaning will also rinse all traces of such cleansers, so the home's roof is clean and in good repair.

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