roof cleaning with a high pressure water washer
Posted on: June 11, 2021

Keeping your roof clean is really important for the health and longevity of your home. Ideally, your roof will last for many, many years, and you won’t have to worry about replacing it very often.

If you neglect your roof and aren’t taking care of it, then you’re bound to have problems, and will eventually need to hire a roofing contractor like WISA to fix the issues or do a full roof replacement. Think of your roof as an investment that protects your home. To get the most out of it, you’ll need to take care of it.

Today we’re covering some of the best roof cleaning tips to keep your home dry and safe.

Ultimate Roof Cleaning Guide: Tips + Best Practices

A half cleaned house roof shows the before and after effect; roof cleaning guide

Beyond ensuring that your roof stays clean and in shape for the next big storm or rain, there are other reasons to keep your roof clean.

Regular Repairs

When something does go wrong with your roof, be sure to get it repaired. One of the best things you can do for roof maintenance is to continue making sure everything is kept up. You should never leave your roof in a damaged state; instead, quickly make the repair to ensure that no further damage is incurred before it gets fixed. DIY roof repairs can be extensive or straightforward and quick, depending on how long you wait.

Wash Your Roof To Avoid Discoloration In Shingles

removing roof discoloration with a high-pressure washer; roof cleaning

As your shingles age and are exposed to the weather, they will begin to discolor due to dirt and what not building up on your roof. Different types of roofing will more easily build up with different sediments and can have deep color changes where the water runs off the roof vs. where it doesn’t.

Washing your roof is a great way to help extend its life. Over time, your roof may start to look dirty and develop long dark streaks that run from the peak to the edge. Those dark streaks are from algae growing on your roof. The algae aren’t going to damage your roof immediately, so washing it off isn’t always urgent. But, to remove the algae from your roof, you’ll need to spray it down with a 50% water and bleach mix.

After you’ve washed it down with the solution, consider installing copper strips on the peak of your roof. When it rains, copper will run down your roof and keep the algae from growing.

Get Rid Of Mold and Mildew

Mold and mildew can be a huge problem within different regions of the U.S. Roof cleaners are often helping to clean off roof moss to help ensure that your shingles or roofing material doesn’t have mold and mildew build-up. Ultimately, if your roof is in the shade for most of the day, moss is much more common, and it can take a toll on your roof, causing it to break down faster.

Removing Debris and Checking for Damage

Debris, such as sticks, leaves, and other things blown by the wind onto your roof should be regularly removed to help keep your roof clean and free from anything that can clog your gutters or cause more damage. After every big wind or storm, that rolls through your neighborhood, be sure to check on your roof and make sure that there isn’t debris built up on your roof.

Clean Your Gutters

Cleaning gutters and working on roof; roof maintenance

A lot of roofing leaks and damage to the interior of homes come from clogged gutters. When gutters become clogged at the downspouts or in other areas, they will begin to fill with water. That water can work its way up under the shingles and cause the roof deck to rot. Additionally, the edging along your home and siding can experience water damage as well. If the gutters are left clogged for too long, they will eventually begin to tear away from the house due to rotting wood that’s stayed consistently moist from gutters that don’t drain properly. Other damage that can be caused by clogged gutters includes:

  • Flooded basements or lower levels
  • Washout around the foundation of the house
  • Damage to the pain both on your gutters and on the home

Cleaning your gutters at least once a year plays a huge role in maintaining your roof and ensuring that it lasts for years to come. If you feel that your gutters continue to become clogged regularly, consider looking into gutter guards to help prevent them from becoming clogged.

Have a Good Ladder

man using a sturdy ladder for his roof cleaning project; roof cleaning

When it comes to general roof cleaning, you’ll want to have a good ladder that’s safe. It will also need to be a pretty big ladder. Even a 20ft ladder will sometimes be too short if you’re hoping to clean some of your roofs from on top of the ladder. Be safe, though, because the taller your ladder is, the more dangerous it can be.

Always Wear Protective Equipment

Eyewear, gloves, and other safety equipment are very important for you to stay safe on your roof while you’re cleaning it. Ensuring you have the best safety equipment is essential to stay safe and out of harm’s way when you’re cleaning the roof.

If you’re getting up on top of your roof, safe shoes are essential! Safe shoes will help you stay on top of the roof and free from slipping. It’s also smart to invest in a harness if your roof is really steep. This can help you if you are ever to slip at all.

Trim Overhanging Branches

large branch overhanging roof; roof cleaning guide

Overhanging branches and trees pose a considerable threat to the security of your roof. Not only can they damage your roof or destroy your home by falling on it when there is a storm, but they can damage your entire house over time. Trees or branches that come in contact with your roof when it’s windy can scrape granules off of your shingles and can rip sheets of shingles from your roof. Check out our blog post for a FREE step-by-step guide on how to find & replace your blown-off shingles.

If a branch does fall on your house, do your best to remove it so that it doesn’t cause further damage by blowing around in the wind. Be careful when walking on your roof at any time but especially if it’s wet from the rain, dew, or snow. Also, be sure to contact your roofing contractors to look at the roof after removing any debris. They’ll be able to tell you if there is any lasting damage to your roof.

Make Sure To Have Ice Dams Removed

ice dam; roof maintenance

When ice dams build up during the winter months, they put undue stress on the edge of the roof and can cause it to become comprised. One way to keep ice dams from building up is to remove the snow from your roofline before it can melt and cause an ice dam. Another way is to ensure that your house is adequately insulated.

If you have ice dams that need to be removed, be sure to reach out to a professional so that you can ensure that your roof is in good condition when the spring rains start to fall.

Never Push Yourself Too Far

If you’re not comfortable being on top of your roof, don’t push yourself. Cleaning your roof is a big deal, and it can be dangerous. Instead of pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone and potentially getting hurt, call a professional to get the job done.

Best Cleaning Supplies for Roofs

There are several different roof cleaning supplies out on the market. Here are some of the best roof cleaners that we think you should have in order to clean your roof.

Wet and Forget is one of the most popular brands used throughout the United States. There are a number of roof cleaning companies that rely on this product and its cleaning abilities. One of the main reasons that it’s so popular is that it is safe on all surfaces, contains no bleach, and has no scrubbing or rinsing. All you have to do is apply this solution, and the rest is history!

Mold Armor is for those tougher messes. This product is bleach-based and thus kills mold and mildew in just 10 minutes. It works on a number of different materials and is easy to apply by attaching a garden hose and then spraying it on the roof’s surface.

If you’re looking for a 100% eco-friendly and green material, then Simple Green might be the perfect cleaner for your home. It’s a trusted, non-flammable, non-abrasive, and non-corrosive cleaning solution. The extremely versatile solution can be used to clean and degrease almost any surface.

Cleaning Different Types of Roofs

There are many different roofing materials, as we’re sure you know. But each of these materials needs to be cleaned and taken care of in a different manner. If you try to clean metal roofing the same way that wood or cedar shakes are cleaned, then you’re likely going to have some problems. For a more thorough breakdown of the different roofing materials, then check out this ultimate guide.

asphalt roof shingles; roof cleaning

Asphalt Shingles

As the most common type of shingles in all of the U.S., you can probably guess that there are some different methods and ways to clean asphalt shingles. Asphalt shingles are known for their low maintenance and easy-to-install design.

You can keep an asphalt shingle roof clean by regularly removing debris and spraying it down with a soft wash soap once or twice a year. You don’t need to use any harsh chemicals or products like bleach on this type of roof.

Be sure to avoid pressure washing asphalt shingles as it will rip them off the roof or damage the granules that help keep your roof intact.

Clay and Concrete Shingles

Clay and concrete tiles are coated or painted with a protective layer that helps to keep them safe from the environment and keeps them lasting for many years. Harsh chemicals can be really hard on these materials and can destroy the coating while eroding them.

Because this material is so sensitive, it’s probably better to try and find a roof cleaning company that can help you get it taken care of. But, if you’re looking to do it yourself, then you’ll need to apply a gentle cleaning solution and possibly buff them dry to keep them developing a film as the water drys.

Wood Shake and Shingle

Wood shakes are a material that needs regular attention if it’s going to last a long time—this material regularly needs maintenance. Whether that be cleaning or staining, it is by no means a maintenance-free roofing material. But, when the wood material is taken care of, it makes for a beautiful roofing material that can last 30 years or more.

The best way to clean this roof is with a soft wash solution. Avoid pressure washers, and be sure to trim back branches to help minimize the accumulation of debris on the roof.

Cedar Shake and Shingle

Cedar shakes are similar to wood but have different needs than wood. One of the best things you can do for these shingles is to keep them dry. Allowing them to have fresh air and sunshine is a big help to the life of the shingles.

Don’t pressure wash this material but instead stick with a soft wash solution that isn’t harsh or full of chemicals.

Slate Shingle

Slate roofing is beautiful but costly, thus making it important to take care of. While you might think that a “stone” type roof is durable and strong you’ll realize quickly that this material is actually fragile when it comes to being exposed to moss, mildew, and mold build-ups.

Harsh chemicals will take their toll on slate roofing and the different materials that help to hold them together, and pressure washing or even a high-powered garden house can break up the roof and damage it—instead, this with a simple soft wash.

Metal Roofing

metal roof; roof cleaning

Metal roofing is very vulnerable to rust and corrosion. Additionally, if different types of metal touch one another, there is always the possibility of a chemical reaction that can cause problems with the roofing.

To keep a metal roof healthy, inspect it for rust, corrosion, and visible debris and growth. Cleaning this type of roof is as simple as one soft wash application each year.

What Not To Do

You should really avoid doing some things when it comes to cleaning and taking care of your shingles. Some practices that may seem common can actually damage your shingles and cause them to come loose. But, this can vary depending on the type of roof material that you have in your home.

Don’t use a pressure washer on asphalt shingles. Using a pressure washer on asphalt shingles will cause them to come loose and get damaged. While it might seem like the best thing to clean the shingles, pressure washers are very high-powered and can cause unforeseen problems. Try soft washing or just use a strong spray hose instead.

Be careful when using bleach because it can kill plants and animals. All too often, homeowners get excited and start using harsh chemicals without thinking about the consequences. When bleach rolls off your roof into your grass or other landscaping, it can kill the plants it comes in contact with. It’s also very harmful to pets, other animals, and kids.

Don’t blindly use solutions without reading the labels and instructions. If you fail to read the label on different products before using them, you may find that they don’t work the way you thought they did. Many products need to be applied more than once, while other products should only be applied once. Be sure to follow the instructions.

Don’t clean your roof on a sunny or hot day when the cleaning solution will evaporate too quickly. If your roof is too hot or the sun is too bright when you try to clean it, the solution you use will build up and dry out on the roof. Instead of trying to clean your roof in less than ideal conditions, wait for the right time so that you can maximize your efforts.

Don’t wait until your roof is damaged or there is a large debris or growth build-up. Waiting until your roof has an extensive amount of build-up is going to hurt you more than help you. While you might think it’s a time saver, you’re actually going to give yourself more work, and you might even have more damage on your roof because you wait too long to clean it.

Wisa Solutions Team Photo; roof cleaning guide

Contact WISA Solutions To Request A FREE Quote!

If your roof needs a good cleaning or inspection, contact WISA Solutions. We’d love to help you ensure that your roof is well taken care of and that no further damage is incurred due to neglected damage. We offer free inspections and estimates on what it would cost to fix the damage you’re experiencing.