Cleaning Your Roof

Cleaning your roof

Do your shingles look old and grubby? Did you know you can clean them? Sometimes, you may see dark and discolored areas and immediately think of mold. However, what you are seeing is actually blue-green algae. If you are noticing thick green patches, you are seeing moss on your roof. The wind carries moss and algae spores, which is why this affects entire neighborhoods. Moss can affect shingles by causing them to curl up and blow off. Because of this, it is best to know the best way to clean your roof properly. Here’s how to clean your roof, safely and effectively.

Steps to Cleaning Your Roof

Step 1: Safety First

Safety is always an urgent priority, and it should also be yours! There’s a ton of protective equipment you can find to protect you against any dirt and harmful substances.

Before you get started with roof cleaning, look at the sky. Is it too sunny or is it cloudy? Well, a cloudy day is an ideal working condition for you. A sunny day will cause the bleach solution to evaporate too quickly, limiting its cleansing effects.

You will need some safety materials to get started. We recommend using slip-resistant shoes.

Next, use safety goggles to keep debris out of your eyes. Expect a lot of junk on your roof and the possibility that the wind might suddenly blow on your eye. You should also be sure to use thick gloves. You’ll be handling a lot of chemicals and you don’t want to touch them directly. Make sure also to wear a long sleeves shirt and pants to protect yourself against these harsh chemicals.

If you have a slanted roof, we recommend you use a safety rope to tie yourself to the chimney. If not, you can use a safety point where you can connect the cord. This is a necessary step so that you won’t fall on the ground in case you slip.

Finally, before you decide to clean your roof, let someone know. If something goes wrong, like getting into an accident, at least someone knows, and they can quickly know of your whereabouts.

Step 2: Protect The Surroundings

Before you get started with anything, make sure you are not ignoring your landscape and surrounding areas. The solution used to clean your roof can harm them. Wet plants and shrubbery thoroughly before cleaning your roof, then cover them with plastic during the process. After you are finished rinsing your roof, rinse the plants and shrubbery again. 

Step 3: Remove Unnecessary Debris

Once you get to your roof, inspect it. Is there any unnecessary debris in the area? If so, remove it. Before you even think of using cleaning agents already, have in hand your trusted leaf blower or sweep to clear the area.

This is an essential step for roof cleaning. It’s easier to clean your roof in the long run, without this unnecessary dirt! More importantly, you won’t have any reason to slip from the debris.

Don’t forget to cover your shrubs or anything where you think the debris may land.

Step 4: Prepare Your Cleaning Materials

There are specific ways and requirements for you to clean asphalt shingles. You’ll need to use specific types of chemicals like sodium hypochlorite, to get rid of algae stains and other dirt your roof may have.

Whatever the case, never use a harsh chemical! That’s strictly forbidden because it might depreciate the lifespan of your roof.

As a general rule, use products recommended and safe for asphalt shingles.

If you don’t want any of the commercial cleaners in the market, you can make your own as an alternative! It’s easy because all you’ll need is equal parts of water and laundry-strength chlorine bleach. 

Step 5: Put Your Solution in the Garden Sprayer

If you’re looking for the best results, start by mixing your chemical solution with a gallon of water, and a quart of chlorine bleach. Mix them well and place them in your container. You can even use a pump-style garden hose sprayer to get the job done fast.

NEVER EVER use a pressure washer to clean your roof. You’ll damage your asphalt shingle in the end.

Step 6: Apply the Cleaning Solution on Your Roof

It’s time to get to your roof and spray everything down. Spray every asphalt shingle you want to clean, especially those that already have a lot of algae. Point the nozzle of your spray, depress the handle, and go! Be thorough and get rid of those nasty black streaks. It is best to start high on the roof and work your way down. Drag the rinsing tool in a forward and back motion to blast off those algae colonies. 

There’s no rule on how much cleaning solution you need. It usually depends on how dirty your asphalt shingle is, how much algae has grown, and more. Once you’re done spraying your roof down, let the solution sit for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Step 7: Rinse Your Roof

Once the time is up, use a water garden hose to rinse off all the solutions you applied. Remove all the bleach and be very thorough in this step.

Step 8: Scrub Out Stubborn Spots

In some cases, you can’t help but still find a thick growth of moss or algae on your roof. If you still see black streaks or stubborn algae on your roof, scrub it down until it goes away. You’ll need a medium-bristled brush or broom to loosen and get rid of them. Don’t apply too much pressure, or you’ll scratch your roof.

If you still can’t remove them even after scrubbing the surface, wait for your roof to dry and repeat Steps 6 and 7. 

Step 8: Prevent Regrowth

Depending on weather conditions, you can expect algae regrowth in as little as one year. There are two ways to slow the regrowth process. One is to install zinc or copper strips along the entire ridge. Theoretically, rainwater picks up algae-killing ions and spreads them over the roof. In reality, the protection falls short because algae can still feed off humidity when it’s not raining. 

The second method is to spray on a coating of stain-blocking solution. A stain-blocking product can buy you up to three years of protection from algae. If you decide to try it, apply it shortly after you’ve cleaned the roof.

Whether you install the metallic strips or apply the stain-blocking solutions, you’re still going to experience algae regrowth sometime down the road. Clean your roof often so the stains don’t set in permanently. 

We’re always here to ensure you have the best roof for your home. Give us a call at 636-699-0449 today.