House Washing

Do’s and Dont’s of Cleaning a Roof

Do’s and Dont’s of Cleaning a Roof

Do’s and Dont’s of Cleaning a Roof

Although your home’s roof stays mostly out of sight, a dingy and dirty appearance can make it look a little worse for wear. And a build up of dirt, debris, and moss or algae compromises the integrity of your roof. If you want to keep your home looking great and make sure that your roof lasts as long as it is supposed to, an occasional roof cleaning may be called for.

cleaning a metal panel roof

The problem is that pitched roofs, especially on multi-story homes, are pretty dangerous to climb around on. And if you add to that algae or moss covered shingles and water or chemicals, things get slick pretty quickly. Save yourself a dangerous fall off of a roof and hire help. Here is what you should know about cleaning a roof.

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Do Allow Plenty of Time for Chemical Solutions to Do Their Job

When it comes to getting rid of moss or algae, or even a simple cleaning on many roof materials, a chemical wash is the best option. The thing is that it takes most of these chemicals a bit of time to do their job. Some labels say to allow as much as four or five months to see full results. For homeowners who want the green stuff gone, it can be easy to assume the chemical wash did not work. However, that would be a mistake. Over time new growth will die and rainwater (or even gusts of wind) will remove the debris from your roof.

Do Use a Low-Pressure Wash

For most roofing materials (aside from highly durable metal panels), manufacturers and roofing experts agree that using a pressure washer on your roof is a poor idea. In cases of algae and mold growth, it won’t help. And, it may even damage or remove some of the shingles. Instead, use a chemical sprayer attached to a garden hose to apply a bleach solution to the roof. Allow the product to sit for 15-20 minutes and then rinse the area with straight water from the garden hose.

Don’t Forget About Your Surrounding Landscape

When you apply a bleach solution or other harsh chemical to your roof, the run-off will kill or damage plants and grass in the path of your run-off. While you may not be able to prevent all of the damage, you can wet the plants with plain water and cover them in plastic prior to cleaning your roof. When you are done, remove the plastic and rine the plants again with plain water.

on a ladder cleaning a roof

Don’t Pick a Sunny Day for Cleaning the Roof

The southern sun in Texas can be quite unforgiving. Even in other climates, a sunny day will cause your chemical solution to evaporate off of your roof before it can do its job. It is better to work on an overcast day without direct sunlight beating down on the roof.

Shine of Austin has been a trusted name in exterior maintenance since 1998. With a full range of services including window washing, pressure washing, holiday light installation, and much more, you can trust us to take care of your chores. Learn more about us today!

Do Put Safety First When Tackling Your Roof

Falls from a roof can cause severe injury and sometimes even death. Neither of which are a worthwhile tradeoff for cleaning your roof. If you are comfortable working at heights, have a second set of eyes on the ground, and can safely traverse your roof pitch then you can get the job done with a little patience and good footwear. However, if any one of those things gives you pause, hire a professional with the right equipment and training to do the job safely.

Do Take Proactive Steps to Keep Your Roof Clean

While you can’t control what spores are floating around in the environment or how many days the sun shines, there are a few things you can do that can make a big difference. For one, trees that overhang the roof drop a lot of debris on the roof. And, they block the sun. Sunlight is important for inhibiting the growth of moss and algae. So, get as much sunlight to your roof as possible by trimming back vegetative growth.

exterior building maintenance

Do Take Your Roofing Material Into Consideration

In Texas and throughout most of the United States, asphalt shingle roofing is the most common material. There are plenty of products on the market to clean asphalt roofs, but many swear by a simple laundry-strength chlorine bleach and water solution as the most cost-effective method. A low-pressure chemical wash is the most appropriate for this type of roof.

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As we become more sustainable as a society, metal roof panels are catching on in residential neighborhoods. Steel roofs are often much more durable than traditional asphalt shingle roofs and will probably withstand a high-pressure wash. However, depending on what you need to clean, pressure may not be what you need.

For example, pressure will not remove moss or algae. You will need chemicals for this. At the same time, chemicals will not remove dirt and debris. You will need pressure for that. Depending on your roof cleaning needs, you may need to use one or the other cleaning methods.

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The Bottom Line on Cleaning a Roof

Cleaning your roof is one of those occasional, but necessary, exterior maintenance chores that most homeowners aren’t quite sure how to tackle. Between choosing the best method and staying safe, there are plenty of things to think about. In most cases, a low-pressure chemical wash can be achieved with a garden hose and bleach. Just remember that the results may not be immediately noticeable. But over the next several weeks, the appearance of the roof should improve. And above all else, make sure you can clean the roof safely or hire help to do so.


Shine of Austin is your friendly neighborhood helping hand for exterior maintenance on your residential and commercial buildings. From window cleaning to roofs, we have the tools and skilled labor to do the job right. Contact us for a free estimate today.

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