Because your home’s roof is constantly exposed to the elements, dirt, grime, and plant or fungal growth can cause black stains or otherwise discolor your shingles. Learning how to clean roof shingles is important. This can dramatically reduce your curb appeal. Just like the rest of your house, the only way you can keep your roof beautiful is with routine cleaning.
Asphalt shingle roof tiles come with a wide range of different benefits that make them an attractive proposition for many homeowners across the country. They’re incredibly versatile by design, allowing them to be adapted to many different angles, shapes, and forms depending on your needs. Best roofing contractors will be able to guide you to choose the most incredible design variety (particularly when it comes to color palette options), letting you really end up with a unique-looking visual approach to your home that is all your own.
Of course, it’s more than aesthetics you have to worry about. Stains caused by plant or fungal growth can hold a lot of water, which can lead to leaks and wood rot. Learning how to find a roof leak is critical to avoid roof leaks turning into a catastrophic repair. Regular roof cleaning can find leaks and eliminate small problems. To learn more about the best way to clean your shingles, read on. But first, you should contact a professional to make sure the damage isn’t more than superficial.
What Happens if You Don’t Clean Your Roof?
In addition to unnecessary wear and tear on your roof tiles from the weather, the number one concern that you should have if you don’t regularly clean your asphalt shingle roof is moss growth. As moss thickens and continues to grow on your roof over time, it can actually raise up the singles in an unnatural way.
Not only will this allow debris to gather in an area where it doesn’t belong, but it also promotes water buildup. This in turn not only limits the lifespan of your roof and could cause individual tiles to rot, but it also makes a leak much more likely – leading to damage inside your home, as well.
Black algae and similar types of issues are also very common on asphalt shingle roofs that are not properly maintained, all of which mean that cleaning your roof on a regular basis should always be a top priority in the life of any homeowner.
Most asphalt shingle roof cleaning methods require the use of some type of chemical – this is especially true if you’re dealing with algae stains and other visual issues. Whatever you do, make sure that you don’t use harsh chemicals or you could artificially shorten the life of your tiles. Use a product specifically designed to not only remove moss and algae stains, but one that is marked safe to use on asphalt shingle roofs.
Hire a Roof Inspector
Your roof should be inspected at least once a year. At Preman Roofing-Solar, we offer cleaning as part of routine maintenance to your roof. Our team can also check for leaks, apply a sealant to flashing, and repair or replace roof shingles as needed. We’ve proudly served the San Diego area for over 20 years, and all of our work and pricing come with our guarantee.
With proper roof maintenance, an asphalt shingle roof can last 20 years. Cedar shingles can last up to 30 years before they need to be replaced. But without regular cleaning and inspection, you may need to replace your roof in as little as 8 years.
Even if you prefer to clean your roof yourself, regular inspection can also prevent serious structural problems from water damage and wood rot. Excess water can lead to mold and mildew problems, which can cause respiratory problems and flare-ups for people with asthma.
Check the Weather
If you’re going to clean your roof yourself, it’s a good idea to wait for a calm day so the wind doesn’t blow the water off target. A cool morning with extra cloud cover will ensure that the cleaning solution you use doesn’t evaporate as quickly.
Use Safe Practices
You’ll need to use a safety ladder for this job, and make sure you always have a spotter. If you don’t have roofing boots, you can wear hiking boots with rubber outsoles for better traction on your ladder.
Asphalt shingles aren’t meant to be walked on, and even if you step carefully you can damage or dislodge them. It’s also very dangerous, and even experienced professionals will use safety harnesses if they do need to walk across the roof. If this job will require walking on the roof surface, it’s best to hire a roofing contractor.
Scrub if You Need to
Have you ever wondered how to remove moss from a roof? If you have big patches of lichen or moss, spraying alone may not be effective. You’ll need to remove growth other debris by scraping it off with a scrub brush with soft bristles. For harder-to-reach spots, you can try a plastic leaf rake. You’ll need to be very gentle to avoid damaging the tiles, and always start from the top and go down to prevent lifting the tiles.
Saturate Your Roof
In order to kill any spores or to prevent broken bits of moss and algae from growing back, you’ll need to use a cleaning solution. A lot of people recommended a 50/50 solution of chlorine bleach and water, which will kill the growth but may also damage your roofing tiles. As the bleach solution drains from your roof, it can also kill your lawn. Laundry detergent is another common household item used to control moss, but it isn’t very eco-friendly.
Baking soda is a much milder treatment that won’t kill your lawn or damage your roof. You can make a solution by adding half a cup per gallon. However, you may need to apply it a few times to totally remove the stains. You can also find an environmentally friendly roof cleaning product. Look for ones made from zinc salts or baking soda that won’t kill your lawn or shorten your roof’s lifespan.
You’ll need to thoroughly spray moss and algae stains with your cleaning solution to kill it all. Pressure washing may sound like a good shortcut, but even when it’s on the lowest setting, a pressure washer can compromise the integrity of your roofing shingles. A garden hose with a spray attachment will do the job without damaging your shingle roof.
Your roof will stay much cleaner if you keep nearby tree branches trimmed and away from the roof. The less shade that hits your house, the less you’ll have to deal with stains. You also need to clean your gutters out and make sure there is plenty of airflows to keep your roof dry.
Even with ventilation and sun, your roof may still get stains over time. This is especially a problem in humid climates, and San Diego has had unusually high humidity levels in the past couple of years. Luckily, there are a couple of things you can add to your roof to prevent stains.
One option is to install zinc strips on the ridges of the roof and below any pipes or chimneys. Every time it rains, the rainwater will collect zinc ions that are toxic to moss and algae spores. If it doesn’t rain very often, you can periodically rinse your roof off with a hose to prevent growth. Another option is to spray your shingles with liquid zinc or a stain-blocking solution. These are toxic to moss, lichen, algae, and mold, but they won’t kill your lawn or damage your shingles.
In addition to general cleaning, there are a number of other things that you can do to cut down on problems with your asphalt shingle roof significantly. If there are any tree branches that are either making contact with your roof or are blocking sunlight, trim them whenever you can. More sunlight on a roof means less debris accumulation and an environment that is generally less suited for moss and algae growth.
You’ll also want to hop up on your roof whenever possible and clean out all debris with a leaf blower or other system – particular in your gutters. Not only does this promote proper water drainage (which is one of the major things that a roof is supposed to do), but it again prevents moss and algae from building up over time.