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Roof cleaning and maintenance tips

man on roof washing it

Roof maintenance is extremely important to ensure the long-lasting, reliable and leakage-proof roofing, along with neat and clean look of the house. Leaving roof tiles without any particular treatment for a long time, especially in the areas and climate zones where it is subject to severe weather conditions like abrupt temperature changes, high precipitation levels or/and exposure to direct sunlight for a good part of the year. We’re not even mentioning strong winds, snowstorms and tornadoes, as it’s quite obvious that they damage roofs gravely, if not ruin them at all.

rain on roof

So, those circumstances reflect on the roof state and gradually aggravate its tiles. If you’re not paying enough attention to maintenance, you may avoid such difficulties as working with various chemicals, climbing on roof’s top, working hard to remove the stains, moss and algae, replacing damaged tiles, etc. You’re also saving money on roof cleaning services and feel quite comfortable … until something really unexpected happens and makes you realize that you can’t wait too long to replace the whole roofing now. And, that’s where you’ll regret your negligence, as you will have to not only pay for roofing materials once again, but also spare quite significant sum of money to hire roof contractors to install new tiles.

But, that is completely unnecessary waste of money, unless your roof has witnessed too many summers and winters by now. And, it can be easily avoided by following simple roof maintenance and leaning routine. Believe me, you’ll thank yourself for overcoming the unwillingness to climb on top of the house to treat the roof once or twice a year, as it will be just enough to keep your roof in a good shape and prolong its ‘life expectancy’.

two men cleaning roof

The main problems you’ll have to deal with considering roof maintenance will be a regular checking, removing leaves, tree branches and snow, getting rid of various growths (mainly moss and algae), removing stains and replacing old and damaged tiles as soon as you notice them. Roof cleaners might make your life easier and carry out all these parts of roof maintenance routine once you go ahead and hire them. So, if you have absolutely no desire to get on top of the house and struggle because of the height fear when trying to actually do something, then check out professionals’ profiles on HireRush.com. Figure out which services they provide in your local area and book a visit on a suitable day and time.

However, it’s still necessary to keep track on the roof’s state on your own. That’s why I’m here to share several roof maintenance tips with you, along with the cleaning methods with those of you, who’re going to embark on this task without calling on additional help.

Roof maintenance

1. Regular inspection

Keeping roof clean prevents serious problems. That is why it’s better to keep an eye on it, just like you do regular car checks for instance.

With a change of seasons (or just 2-3 times a year if you don’t get to experience that) get on top of the roof to see if there’re any cracked, fallen out or damaged tiles. Check out the level of moss growth and is there’re any stains to be removed, as they tend to ruin the roof. Missing or broken tiles have to be replaced ASAP, as if moisture penetrated through such patches, it will lead to roof felt deterioration and major leaks.

man removing yellow laves off the roof

Removing leaves, tree branches and snow is important as well, as it not only gives your house a well-maintained look and elongates the roof’s existence. We’ve discussed snow removal before, so check out one of my previous posts to learn about the proper method to get rid of snow on roof. Or, call  professional snow cleaners to do this task for you.

2. No power washing for tiled roofs

That’s the most common mistake home owners make considering roof maintenance. Strong water pressure will cause damage of concrete tiles.

The matter is that the top coating of most concrete roof tiles is made the way that it wears out gradually due to the exposure to the various weather phenomena. But, because of this topping roof may last for several decades before it needs to be changed.

before-after6

But, when you power wash tiles, you strip and ruin that surface, making your roof last less than it’s supposed to. Moreover, water may seep through tiny gaps where tiles overlap, get to the bottom felt cover. It will result in quite unpleasant (and unnoticeable at first) roof flooding and leakage. That’s why roof cleaners recommend washing tiles manually, using a special brush with wire bristles or a small trowel. Moderate water flow (when you just pour water on the roof from the bucket, for instance) is allowed.

3. Roof refurbishing

When the wash is complete and the surface is dry, it’s possible to apply several additional protection methods to make the roof last longer and look better, shinier and smoother.

These steps include buffing that annoying chalk-looking deposit with an ordinary rag, applying prime coat and acrylic sealer, which provide extra shininess, beneficial sun ray resistance and renew roof’s color, painting shingles with thick water and mildew proof acrylic paint.

man spray painting tiled roof

Those ‘treatments’ might require special equipment roof contractors usually have (like sealing or painting sprayer in order to apply even coats and spread the substance all over the roof’s surface in a nice thin coat).

4. Replacing broken tiles

You’ll need to be quite careful while doing that not to damage the adjacent tiles. So, if you’ve found a chipped, cracked or a dropped out tile, take a flat bar or angled wood piece and gently stick in under two tiles above the one you’re going to replace. Do the same thing to the tiles on the left and right sides of it. Carefully lift the bars at the same time, pull out the damaged tile and place a new one. Once that’s done, remove the bars on the sides first, and then the top one.

man sticking wooden blocks under roof tiles

Roof cleaning or how to get rid of moss, lichens and algae

Yes, those are the reasons of stain occurrence on the roofs. Clearly, when the surface just looks a little bit dusty and chalky, there is nothing to worry about. That’s a regular deposit caused by precipitation or other factors and it can easily be cleaned with water and a clean rough rug.

However, if you notice some growth, darker stains and patches, which look like mold, then you’ll have to deal with much more serious problem. That’s exactly how blue-green kind of algae looks on roofs, and it may cause significant damage to them, not mentioning the fact that it just looks bad.

moss and algae on roof

Replacing tiles just because of that stubborn and annoying thing is a complete absurd, unless you’ve already been planning roof renovation. If that’s the case, talk to your roof contractors and discuss the possibility to opt for darker tiles that are laced with metal (preferably copper) lace, as it prevents algae from spreading and growing.

Otherwise, you absolutely don’t have to shell out a huge sum of money to replace roofing just because algae and moss, as it’s relatively easy to clear it out. However, you’ll have to use chemicals for that matter.

If you’re going to hire professional roofing cleaners, they’ll most likely opt for special equipment and cleaning products, which are presented on the market. They ensure almost perfect and instant results.

roof moss cleaning before and after

The method used by cleaners involves applying cleaning solution and low pressure washing and makes the roof free of moss and algae right away. Moreover, you may ask servicemen to use eco-friendly cleaners, which preserve the good state of roof tiles and remove stains and growth completely without harming the environment.

However, you shouldn’t give up if you can’t afford these services. Good old homemade cleaning solutions will help you out. They’re not so gentle on shingles, but their effectiveness is quite impressive. And, the harm they cause to the roof in incomparable with the damaging impact of the parasitizing moss and algae.

So, in order to prepare such cleaner at home, you’ll have to mix one part of water and one part of bleach. The next thing you want to do is to spray wash the tiles using that solution. (Reminder: no power washing!). Leave the cleaner to do its thing for a while and rinse the shingles in plain water to get rid of the chemicals.

Find roof cleaners

This dreadful mixture is proven to kill moss and algae, but it’s also harmful to plants. So, if there’s a chance that this solution might get on your threes, flowers or grass during the cleaning process, spray them with water before you start. It will not let the plants soak in the bleach. When you’re done with cleaning, spray the nearby plants with water again to wash off the bleach.

man washing roof

Also, there’s the way to prevent moss and algae proliferation on the roof. The secret is to install two metal (copper or zinc) strips under the top rows of tiles on both sides of the roof and leave the edge of the strips exposed. They should be approximately 6 inches wide. Metal molecules are fatal for algae, so when they spread with the rain or snow water all over the roof, they kill parasite growth on it.

But remember that it’s a proactive action. If you already have serious moss patches or algae stains on the roof, clean it as described above beforehand.  And, only then setting up metal strips will be useful.

Comments (10)

  1. Chuck

    Good read, Informative. Check your spelling and grammar twice.

    Reply
    1. Elena Sheplyakova (Post author)

      Thank you! Glad you liked the article!
      Yep, sometimes it’s difficult to notice mistakes in your own text)))

      Reply
  2. Cliff

    Good info with one question…in the Seattle area zinc and copper strips at the top of the roof are of limited value. They will keep the topmost 2 or 3 feet clean but lower the algae still grows prolifically!

    Reply
    1. Elena Sheplyakova (Post author)

      Maybe additional strips will be handy. Otherwise, I suggest that homeowners may try out other cleaning or maintaining tips or address a roof cleaner to deal with the problem.

      Reply
  3. John Doe

    33 years in business, and you had to steal photos off of the websites of local competitors?
    Dishonest advertising = dishonest business.

    Reply
    1. Jane Atkins

      Palm trees in Oregon??? Are you sure this is your business??

      Reply
  4. Kendall Everett

    It’s interesting that you mentioned hiring a roof cleaning company to remove moss or algae. Making sure the roof is maintained by properly removing the moss is important like you mentioned. Contacting a roof cleaning company and asking them what their process is for cleaning roofs would be helpful.

    Reply
  5. Dan

    Before winter comes, I’m planning on getting roof cleaning services for maintenance of our roofing. Doing a regular inspection to see if there are any cracked or damaged tiles is such a good idea to ensure that our roof is leakage-proof once the snow falls. I’ll definitely check our roof before getting cleaning service. Thanks!

    Reply
  6. Betina

    This is so informative, glad I was able to find this article!

    Reply
    1. Yulia Poltavets

      Thank you so much! Stay tuned!

      Reply

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