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Roof Cleaning Frequency - How Often to Clean Your Home's Roof

April 6, 0202

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If you’re like many homeowners, you neglect regular roof cleaning simply because you don’t always notice a roof’s appearance and because you’re so busy trying to keep the rest of your home and property clean and presentable! While roof cleaning might be a last priority for many homeowners, it’s a vital service that protects a roof from damage while also improving your property’s curb appeal in an instant.

A home’s roof should be cleaned within the first five years of installation and then every two to three years afterward. However, homes in tropical areas, homes that are located near beaches, production facilities, warehouses, busy roadways, and airports, and homes near lots of mature trees might need more consistent roof cleaning.

Regular roof cleaning offers a number of benefits for homeowners and helps protect the house itself, as said. Knowing those benefits can ensure you take seriously the need for regular roof washing as well as other power washing services around your property.

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It’s also helpful to note why a homeowner might avoid DIY roof cleaning and especially if your home’s roof is older or covered in thick layers of dirt or moss. You can then discuss all this information with a pressure washing contractor near you and make the best choice for ensuring your home is in good condition and always looking its best.

Why Your Home Needs Roof Cleaning, and How Often

Consider why a home needs regular roof cleaning and why roof cleaning frequency might vary according to your local area, a roof’s condition, and other such factors.

  • Moss, algae, and other such growth act as sponges, absorbing moisture and holding it against a home’s roof. This added moisture breaks down concrete and clay tiles as well as asphalt shingles, leading to premature breakage. For homes in tropical or humid climates prone to mold, moss, algae, and lichen growth, you might schedule annual roof cleaning to kill growing spores and roots.
  • Storm debris, including twigs and leaves, works its way into the cracks and crevices of roofing tiles and shingles, loosening them and increasing the risk of breakage or of losing those materials in high winds. Consider roof cleaning after a strong storm has passed through your area or if you live in an area with a regular stormy season after that season is over!
  • Open fields or any large garden nearby might mean layers of pollen and other plant residues winding up on a home’s roof. If you or any frequent guest of your home has allergies or other such sensitivities, you might consider annual roof cleaning and especially before you open the outdoor area for entertaining, to ensure a welcoming environment free of bothersome allergens.
  • Construction zones, production facilities, busy roadways and airports, and other such locations mean tremendous amounts of airborne dust and other such debris that tend to settle onto nearby roofs. If you notice your home’s interior is always dusty, this often indicates that a home’s roof might benefit from annual power washing to keep your home’s exterior as clean as its interior!
  • Mature trees produce lots of debris that fall directly onto a roof or that might become airborne and end up on a home’s roof, including leaves, needles, twigs, acorns, and Spanish moss. The more mature trees on your property, the more often your home will need roof cleaning!
  • The older a home, the more often it might need roof cleaning to uncover areas needing repairs. Cracks, chips, and other such damage also provide lots of nooks and crannies for dirt and storm debris to settle, allowing that debris to build up and damage shingles, tiles, and flashing.

When to Clean Your Home’s 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 home’s 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!

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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 they’re thinking of putting their home up for sale. While a clean roof might not increase your overall property values, note that dirty exterior surfaces, including roofs, often turn potential buyers off! 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.

What’s 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 home’s 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. The 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 home’s roof, which dries out and damages tiles and shingles. Oxygenated bleach helps kill mold and algae without the same risk of damage as chlorine bleach.

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Improper roof washing techniques also damage tiles, shingles, and flashing and potentially create a mess around your home’s exterior. For example, running pressurized water from the bottom of shingles to their top can loosen them, making them more likely to blow away. It’s also vital to wash dirt and debris toward the home’s gutters and work slowly enough so that all that residue makes its way to the downspouts rather than washing over gutter sides.

Allowing detergent or other chemicals to dry on a roof’s surface can leave behind unsightly streaks. Residual detergents and cleansers also create a sticky surface that traps more dirt than before! A professional roof washing contractor ensures a thorough rinse as well as a complete clean, protecting your roof and ensuring it looks pristine after a wash.

What Is the Best Roof Cleaning Method?

Not all roof-washing methods are alike! Most pressure washing contractors specializing in roof cleaning will use a soft wash system, starting with detergents and chemicals meant to dissolve thick dirt and grime and that kills mold and algae. This surfactant also seeps into roof nooks and crevices, ensuring nothing is overlooked. 

A soft wash system then employs a low-pressure rinse, typically just slightly stronger than a garden hose with a sprayer nozzle. That low pressure is all that’s needed to remove dissolved dirt and grime, and other residues. Soft wash systems also create very little splashing and splatter, ensuring you don’t end up with a bigger mess than before roof washing began!

Soft wash systems are also an excellent choice for gutter cleaning, which many homeowners schedule along with roof washing. When a roof is covered in dirt, moss, and other debris, the home’s gutters are also typically clogged with “muck” as well!

Clogged gutters allow rainwater to wash over their sides, leading to the risk of water damage and unsightly stains. Cleaning gutters by hand is often difficult, messy, and ineffective, but using too much pressure with power washing equipment can pull gutters from connectors and create lots of unsightly splatter and mess. A soft wash gutter cleaning ensures a thorough clean without damage.

Related Questions

Can you clean your home’s roof too often?

While regular roof cleaning protects it from damage, detergents, and chemicals, do dry out shingles and tiles somewhat. Also, even soft wash systems put pressure on nails and other connectors, and shingle granules. To ensure you don’t damage a roof from cleaning, schedule this task as needed but no more than once or twice per year.

Should you use different roof cleaning methods for various roofing materials?

Soft wash systems are best for virtually all roof cleaning, no matter the roofing material, as detergents used for soft wash pressure washing are safe yet effective for asphalt shingles, clay, cement, and metal. Avoid high-pressure washing for any roof material to avoid the risk of damage and of having water seep into cracks along a roof’s surface.

Are You a DIY Pro?

There are plenty of homeowners out there that are fully capable of handling some of these projects on their own. While it's typically not recommended, if you have the right power washing equipment, some experience, and the ability to handle it, then it's one of those tasks that you can take on at your own risk. Remember, roofing cleaning can be dangerous, so make sure you take all the property precautions. 

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