Cleaning Your Roof for Appearance and Longevity

Our roofs are major investments and we should respect them the same way we respect our other major investments like houses, cars, and swimming pools. That means regular inspections to certify everything is in good order. We should also take pride in our roofs and strive to maintain their appearances. But roofs are fragile structures and we need to guarantee we are doing everything to protect our investments. Our roofs are under a lot of strain in Florida due to heavy rains, a high UV index, and even our lush and bountiful foliage which can accumulate on roofs. It is important to keep them clean, and there are a number of helpful ways to accomplish this whether you have a shingle, metal, or tile roof.

Shingle roofs require a special focus on cleaning because the sensitive nature of wood and asphalt shingles. They are particularly prone to algae, mildew, and mold growth in the hot and humid Florida climate. Those growths can seriously damage shingles, perhaps even requiring a total roof replacement. Regular cleanings, every two years, can help guarantee your shingle roof will last 20 to 25 years. It is not recommended that you pressure wash shingle roofs because the high pressure can damage shingles. It is recommended that you use “soft wash” methods, using biodegradable cleaning solutions.

Metal roofs are extremely durable, but they need regular cleaning, every 2 to 5 years, to prevent degradation. Metal roofs are prone to algae, lichens, and moss too, although they are not as sensitive to these growths as shingle roofs. These growths can encourage rust though, which can damage your roof. Metal roofs also experience oxidation, which can cause a chalky white appearance or make the roof look dull and faded. It is highly recommended that you do not use a pressure washer. Instead, use a mild solution of sodium hypochlorite combined with a mild surfactant. If you must use a pressure washer, you should be careful around the j-channels, flashings, and roof vents, which can easily be damaged.

Tile roofs are extremely durable. While algae, mildew, and moss do not grow directly on tiles, they can grow on the dirt that accumulates on them, so regular cleanings, every 2 years, are recommended to maintain a clean appearance. It is safe to use a pressure washer on tile roofs, but you should be careful because you can easily crack tiles by walking on them. It is recommended that the pressure washer should be set at 1200 psi and the nozzle tip should be kept 1 to 2 feet away from tiles so as not to damage them. A 10 percent solution of chlorine to water will help to remove algae, mildew, and moss.

Finally, It is HIGHLY recommended that you employ a professional roof cleaner who uses the methods suggested by the Roof Cleaning Institute of America and the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association. These professionals will not only keep you safe on the ground, but they’ll know the proper techniques to guarantee the longevity of your roof. If you still want to have a hand in cleaning your roof, you can help by remembering to always clear accumulated debris off, which can encourage the growth of algae, mildew, and moss, as well as lead to excess moisture on your roof.