Roof Cleaning: Methods, Benefits And Safety Tips

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(Last Updated On: February 22, 2017)
Roof cleaning by a man
A man doing roof cleaning

When it comes to cleaning, you will always pick the interior parts of the house, say for example, kitchen, bedroom, basement and such other areas. You, generally, never consider cleaning the exterior parts of the house. If you do consider you will at most clean the siding or at the most your garage but have you ever realized roof is also an essential exterior part of your home and needs to be cleaned? Roof cleaning and roof maintenance are by far one of the most important things to consider which is being neglected. Roof cleaning is a time consuming process and you need to keep a day aside for that. There are many companies providing roof cleaning services but it also charges high roof cleaning cost. If you want to avoid this roof cleaning cost then you must consider doing it yourself. You just need to keep aside some time, collect roof cleaning supplies like roof cleaning brush, roof cleaning stick, roof cleaning products and a ladder and start with the job. You can do this only if you are a handy person; if not, then you must not endanger your safety working on a roof and better call a professional.

If you are opting a professional then you must contact 4 to 5 roofers of your area and get roof cleaning prices from them. Also check their previous work record and make yourself fully satisfied so that you get appropriate result with your chosen roof cleaning service provider. Ask them which roof cleaning chemicals or roof cleaning products they are going to use. Check out whether they are safe for your roof or not. After all, if you are satisfied with all things then you can finally hire those professionals and hand over your roof in their hands. But if you think that roof cleaning cost if opted to professional will not be affordable and you are comfortable doing it yourself then here is the basic introduction to the types of roof cleaning method. Homeowners usually have confusing and conflicting knowledge about the roof cleaning methods. To clear out these queries and help you make informed and reliable decisions here are the basic three roof cleaning methods you can opt for.

Roof cleaning methods

  • Non bleach, eco-friendly and low pressure method for roof cleaning

All those roof cleaning companies which use this method make use of high grade eco-friendly roof cleaning products which do not have any kind of toxic chemicals like phosphate, chlorine bleach or any other type of chemical which can kill vegetation and which can also pollute waterways. This method for roof cleaning also makes use of low pressure rinsing system to avoid the use of high pressure brushing or high pressure scrubbing which can damage your roof to certain level. Use of such types of tools can avail you with extremely clean roof but at the cost of minor roof damage.

Pros

Usually the result obtained with this kind of process is instant and also complete. Lichens, moss and algae are totally gone out of your roof before even the contractor leave your premises. Technicians usually make use of Eco-friendly roof cleaning products like roof shampoo and equipment’s which are specifically designed for safe and gentle roof cleaning. Those contractors who use this method clean the roof keeping in mind, the integrity of shingles and also without damaging the landscaping.

Cons

This method is expensive as it uses highly qualitative Eco-friendly roof cleaning chemicals instead of using less costly chlorine bleach mixtures.

Tips

When you are hiring the contractor who is using this method, make sure to pick the one who assures you that algae, moss and lichens will be totally gone out of your roof before they even leave the house. Also check for a contractor who gives an annual roof stain prevention program.

  • Chlorine bleach method for roof cleaning

Those contractors who make use of chlorine bleach or hypochlorite instead of Eco-friendly products should be contacted for application of this method on your roof. They mix up high concentrated chlorine bleach with other chemicals like Trisodium phosphate which is also called as TSP. This mixture of chemicals is sprayed on the roof. Then it is left for some time to dry. After that, it is reapplied for as much time as needed. Here if the stains or algae or moss don’t come out immediately after the treatment is completed then it will gradually come off with the rain in the coming months.

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Pros

Bleach method is considered to be less expensive as compared to that of other methods as the chemicals used in this method is less expensive and also the roofer usually doesn’t climb on the roof to inspect the result after application.

Cons

The result of using strong chemicals and odors is not instant that too specifically when lichens and moss colonies are involved. Here there also lies a possibility of people and pets getting harmed if there is exposure to the fluids and fumes. If there is any effect of bleach on the landscaping then it can cause permanent damage to trees, grass, plants and shrubs. Contamination of phosphates and bleach can leak into waterways into watershed areas.

Tips

Those roof cleaning contractors who make use of chlorine bleach will never advertise or openly say that they are using bleach. This indicates that it is not good roof cleaning product to be used. If they advise you to wet down plants or during or after treatment or also use a runoff recovery system or even cover your plants during throughout the cleaning process then all these are indicators that any harsh chemical is going to be used for roof cleaning.

  • High pressure power washing method

Certain contractors of roof cleaning use high pressure power washing method for removing any stains on the roof and cleaning your roof.

Pros

There are by far no pros of this method.

Cons

This method is not at all appropriate for cleaning your roof as it can heavily damage your shingles. It’s not an effective method to remove organisms which make your roof dirty and cause stains. This high pressure method for cleaning your roof will most probably leave their root systems behind and thus there are high chances of algae returning back very quickly.

Tips

If you cannot figure out whether the contractor is using high pressure method for cleaning your roof then just try this simple trick. Ask him to keep his hand under the spray. If he denies doing that, then the pressure is considered to be very high and it can definitely damage your roofing shingles.

Knowing the types of roof cleaning methods along with its pros and cons will make you knowledgeable enable you to ask right questions and make correct and informed decisions. Here, we discussed the methods, now our next concern will be to see why you need to undertake any of the methods of roof cleaning or let’s say what are the advantages of roof cleaning? One of the major benefits of cleaning your roof is to improvise the appearance of your home. Apart from the appearance the other benefits you can get from roof cleaning is to get rid of algae, moss, mildew, lichen and black stains. Some of these must be removed as they are look very ugly while some of them must be removed because they are harmful for your roof. Here are some of the main advantages of cleaning your roof.

Roof cleaning benefits

  • Get rid of moss

Cleaning your roof is not just for the appearance, but if it has moss then it can easily get underneath your shingles and pull your shingles away from your roof which can create pits in the surface of your roof. The sooner you get rid of moss growing on your roof; the better will be the condition of your roof. Spending some basic amount on roof cleaning can save you from a big expense of roof repair. Moss looks green and fuzzy and if it is not treated in right time it will spread on your entire roof. If it reaches to a level where it has done extensive damage, it can lead you to internal water damage which can contribute a lot to the growth of mold in the interiors of your home and it can be very much unhealthy.

  • Stop growth of black algae

If you find any black streaks on the home of your roofing, it is probably being caused by the black algae prevailing on your roof. Black algae can grow on any kind of roof; it can also be seen on a roof which is constantly exposed to sunlight and it is extremely difficult to remove without any professional roof cleaning service. These dark streaks would cause your roofing to absorb more heat which can raise the level of your energy cost. If you are trying to cool your home then these black algae will decrease the energy efficiency and increase your bills significantly. Stopping the growth of black algae will make your roof and your home more energy efficient.

  • Your roof might get harmed by algae which you cannot see

It is very important to know that just because you can’t find any black streaks or algae or mold growing on roof; it doesn’t prove that it is not there. In fact by the time you start to find signs of them, they might have reached at such a growth level which can be difficult to stop. At this stage high level of damage might have been done to the roof and the thing which can be done right in few bucks, now will need so much of money to get fixed. When moss and algae are in the early stage of growth, it is nearly impossible to see them. If you see them growing on any one part of the roof, it is likely to be growing on other parts also and thus you need roof cleaning to be done on your entire roof and not just on the part with signs of moss and algae.

  • Increasing the property value

According to one of the estimate, 40% of the curb appeal of the home is generated from the roof. Having a stained roof will create suspicion in the minds of many of the home buyers and it will take less than 3 seconds for the potential buyers to decide they don’t want this home. This can be avoided easily by having a pressure wash on your roof before you put your house in the market for sale. If the roof is covered with algae or is dirty then it reflects that proper care of the property has not been taken. If there’s a potential buyer, then he will take a snap decision and never opt for your house. Roof will be one of the first things which any home buyer will pay attention to. Replacing a roof is a very much big expense which usually none of the home owners are willing to make even when the rest of the house is in good condition. Thus roof cleaning will not let your any potential buyer slip away. A clean roof will make a good image of maintenance and longevity of roof.

  • Reducing energy costs

The fungus, algae and mold symptoms which occur on a dirty roof absorb extreme heat because of its black pigmentation. Such things keep temperature high by reducing the reflective capabilities of the granules from doing their work. The higher the temperature on your roof, the higher your air conditioning has to work to keep your home cool. Hence, undertake the task of roof cleaning so the energy efficiency of your home improves and you have to pay lower bills. There are instances where there was an increase of several hundred dollars in the electricity bills because of not paying proper heed towards roof cleaning.

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While doing the job of roof cleaning, you must keep in mind that working on a roof is not that easy. You must think about the safety aspects too. While doing the work you will always be in such a hurry that you might neglect some of the most important safety processes. Here are some of the safety tips which you must follow while doing the process of roof cleaning.

Safety tips to follow while roof cleaning

Roof cleaning safely
Roof cleaning with safety

Before you even think of roof cleaning, you must review your roof safety rules first. Even the simplest jobs can be hazardous and safety can be at risk when you are working at such height. Even if you have a one story house then also there’s an element of risk involved. Even a person with lots of experience should follow all the safety rules to make their roof cleaning work as safe as possible and evade the risk of any potential injury. Even if this includes looking foolish in the safety harness, you must do it. Forget about what others will see and think, and focus on safety.

Here are roof cleaning safety tips.

  • Wear the right shoes

This might come up to you like a silly point but pointing out this point makes sense. While working on the roof, make sure to wear boots or shoes having rubber soles and also a good tread when you climb up the roof for reducing the potential of slipping. Don’t even have a thought of wearing slippers or even those old shoes or boots having worn treads. This risk is too much high.

  • Clean it up

After you climb up the roof, the first thing you should do is to sweep the roof. Clean off any accumulated debris from the roof. Debris and dirt can make you slip from the roof and hence remove them before you initiate your main work. Don’t keep anything on the roof which can trip you and make you fall from your roof. If you can give your roof sweep once in a week then it would be best but if not that, then you should definitely do it before working on it.

  • Wear a safety harness

A safety harness is not necessary all the time but if you are working on a roof which is very steeply pitched or on a roof which is several story high then it’s advisable to take caution and use a safety harness which is safely fastened to a tie off.

  • Use a gutter guard

One of the easiest ways to keep your gutter steady and safe and also keeping your gutter protected when you are on the roof is to use a gutter guard. The gutter guard usually consists of any scrap piece of plywood or wood which you fasten to the roof deck then put a notch in it. After that lean the legs of the ladder against the notch and then tie it in place. You should also put some bundles of shingles against the feet of the ladder to keep it steady and assure that it doesn’t slide.

  • Install a toe hold

This tip is extremely good if you are working on pitched roof which has steep. If you want to keep proper balance and you want to stop spillage, you can opt for installing temporary toe holds which can help your feet to keep the grip. Likewise take some wood cleats and take measure of 2 by 4 inches and nail them to the roof deck. When you are done with all these things, just remove the toe hold.

  • Avoid watery roofs

Watery roofs are always slippery whether it is snow, sew or ice. It is very much risky to work on a watery roof. It’s advisable to wait till the roof dries if there is not something very urgent.

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Roof cleaning has various benefits and various methods, evaluate each method yourself and see which one is more suitable to you and opt for the one that suits your need best and don’t forget to follow the safety measures to avoid any unwanted circumstances.

 

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