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Cleaning Your Tile Roof - Should You Do It, and How Often?

September 6, 2020

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Cleaning a tile roof is an excellent way of ensuring that its true color and natural beauty shines through, while also offering protection against damage including cracking, chipping, and other breakage. Unfortunately many homeowners put off tile roof cleaning, either because they assume it’s somehow damaging to the tile or because they’re not sure how to manage this cleaning and how often it should be done.

Tile roof cleaning should be completed with a soft wash pressure washer every other year or as often as needed to remove dirt, dust, algae, lichen, and other debris. While this ensures a tile roof looks its best and extends longevity, using a pressure washer safely and effectively is more complicated than many homeowners realize. To ensure your safety and a thorough clean, leave this work to a pressure washing company.

Before you go another month or, worse yet, a full year without proper tile roof cleaning, you might note some reasons why this work is so vital for every home. It’s also beneficial to note some signs of needed roof washing as well as some tips on how to get his job done right.

tile roof cleaning

A homeowner might also note some suggestions for keeping their tile roof clean and in good condition, as well as suggestions for maintaining their entire property with regular pressure washing services. You can then discuss your options with a pressure washing contractor near you and know that your home will always be in good condition and look its best as well.

Does a Tile Roof Need Cleaning?

To understand the importance of regular roof washing, you might note why a tile roof needs cleaning and what happens if you neglect this vital task. A roof washing contractor near you can also note any specific risks to your home’s roof due to neglect of needed cleaning a tile roof.

  • Moss acts like a sponge, collecting and holding water. In turn, moss growing on a tile roof often leads to softening and then cracked and split tiles.
  • Once tiles crack and split, they allow moisture to seep into the wood decking and other structural materials, also risking damage.
  • Note, too, that roofs are typically sloped or pitched to allow for proper drainage of excess moisture. Moss, algae, lichen, and other such growths blocks moisture’s path, resulting in standing water and the risk of severe roof damage.
  • Moss and other biological growth also attract birds and insects. Insects are especially bothersome to anyone trying to enjoy your property’s exterior, while sharp bird claws and their droppings might risk roof damage.
  • As with all roofs, a tile roof will usually hold lots of dust, airborne pollen, soot, air pollution residues, and other such debris. These materials are especially bothersome to anyone with allergies, asthma, and other health concerns, making enjoying your outdoor space nearly impossible!
  • Storm debris, fallen leaves and twigs, acorns, moss, sap, and other residues on a roof might work their way in between and underneath tiles, loosening them and increasing the risk of losing them in a storm.
  • Layers of dust, dirt, and other such grime detract from a roof’s appearance! Homeowners are often surprised at the like-new appearance of a recently cleaned roof, which also improves your home’s overall curb appeal in an instant.
  • Neglecting storm debris, dirt, mud, and other such grime on a roof allows it to roll into the attached gutters, risking clogs and resultant water damage.

How to Clean a Clay Tile Roof

The best tile roof cleaning method is to call a power washing contractor near you specializing in soft wash pressure washing! A professional power washing company ensures a safe, effective clean, as said, and your tile roof cleaning costs are often far lower than you might realize.

If you do want to attempt DIY tile roof cleaning, ensure you wear protective gear include shoes with good traction and safety glasses. When on your tile roof, note that the strongest point is where the tiles overlap, so try to keep yourself in those areas when working. You’ll also want to plan your work so that you can stay on a dry spot rather than walking on a wet roof; if needed, spread the cleaning over several hours or even two days so one area of the roof can dry thoroughly, giving you a safe walking surface.

roof washing sarasota

Start by spraying your tile roof with a very low pressure, just to dislodge and remove as much dirt, dust, and other debris as possible. Ensure you spray that debris toward the gutters and not the top of the roof or over the side of an eave without gutters!

If you need to address moss, mold, algae, lichen, or other such growth, invest in a roof cleaner meant for clay tiles and designed to kill those biological materials in particular. Some might need diluting and to sit for several minutes after application, to permeate the roots and spores of those growths.

When rinsing, start with a very low pressure, no more than 60 psi or the force of a standard garden hose spray nozzle. Work slowly, to ensure you get all growth and chemicals removed completely. As with your initial spray, rinse everything toward the gutters and then rinse the gutters as well, to keep dirt and debris off your lawn and the home’s exterior walls.

Right after cleaning a tile roof, consider adding a fresh sealant coat. Sealants keep clay tiles safe from harsh sunlight, wind, and rain, as well as gritty airborne debris. Sealant also helps keep clay roof tile color fresh and new, so your home looks its best for as long as possible after roof cleaning!

These steps are essential to tile roof maintenance and the lifespan of your roof.

How Often Should You Schedule Tile Roof Cleaning?

Most homeowners find it’s best to clean a tile roof within three to five years of its installation, and then every other year or every three years at most, after that. While cleaning a tile roof every other year is often sufficient, your home might need more consistent tile roof cleaning than average for a number of reasons!

As an example, homes in the tropics or overly humid areas often have a higher risk of moss and algae growth. Annual cleaning can kill any developing moss and other biological growth, ensuring it stays clean and clear throughout the year.

before and after roof cleaning in Sarasota

Homes in overly dusty areas or those located near production facilities and construction zones might also need more consistent cleaning. Waiting a few years before you schedule tile roof cleaning can mean allowing layers of dried dust and other debris to accumulate on a roof, risking damage and detracting from your home’s curb appeal.

You might also notice your home’s roof covered in dirt and other such debris after an unusually strong stormy season, after installing an outdoor kitchen, or because a neighbor had work done on their home and heavy construction dust made its way to your house! Whatever the reason, don’t put off needed tile roof cleaning as well as other needed power washing services.

Quick Tips for Keeping a Roof Clean and in Good Condition

Regular tile roof cleaning is an excellent way of keeping your home’s roof in good condition and looking its best, but a homeowner can also reduce debris on a home’s 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 home’s roof, while providing a place for birds to roost; those birds then leave caustic, damaging, and unsightly droppings on the roof!

While you can’t 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 home’s 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 home’s 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.

This information is provided by our team at ProClean Power Washing Sarasota. Please reach out if you're in Florida and require roof tile cleaning.

Related Questions

Can you use bleach for cleaning tile roof?

Chlorine bleach is very drying and potentially damaging to any roofing or exterior building material, including wood, concrete, and stone. However, oxygenated bleach is typically safe and not as drying or damaging. If you’re unsure of the best cleanser and moss killer for your home’s roof, check with a roof cleaning contractor near you.

What is the expected lifespan of roof tiles?

With proper care and regular tile roof cleaning, concrete tiles might last some 50 years before needing replacement. However, some clay tile roofs have been around for over 100 years! High-quality materials, a professional installation, and regular cleaning and repairs can mean having a clay tile roof that actually outlives the homeowners.

Can you rent pressure washing equipment to clean a tile roof?

Homeowners can typically rent pressure washing equipment to clean a tile roof, but it’s vital that you avoid too much pressure on tiles, shingles, flashing, vents, chimney stacks, and other materials. Use the lowest pressure setting possible and ensure you hold the pressure washing wand at least 12 to 18 inches away from the tiles at all times.

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