How to Clean and Maintain Your Roof

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How to Clean and Maintain Your Roof   ?

how to clean a roof

Roof cleaning is an integral part of maintaining a functioning home. Unanimously, roofing contractors agree that maintenance of the roof will extend the overall life of the home. By removing debris, and ensuring that the top of your home is not compiling leaves and water, you can have peace of mind about the upkeep of your roof. While this is something that you likely feel comfortable maintaining on your own, it is best to leave these jobs to the professionals. Not only for safety reasons but also because the professionals have the proper equipment to take care of the roof in a way that you may not be skilled to yet. The dangerous part of attempting this on your own is that the roofs often do not have good grip for footing due to moss and fungi that encourage slips and falls.

Why Maintain Your Roof ?

When a roof is not cleaned regularly, it compiles debris that cause build up and water pooling. With the water, any build-up runs a risk of a leak. Because your roof is not intended to carry any amount of water for a long duration, this can cause unintended damages to your roof and infrastructure of your home.  Before buying your home, you may have been asked if you have had your roof cleaned lately by your insurance company. The reason that you are asked is because this provides a present liability risk for them. Your roof may already be prone to damage. Replacing your roof can be costly. If not maintained, it places your home at risk for both the inhabitants, and their belongings.

The most common issues on the roof involve algae, moss and lichen.  Because these organisms can live off the organic substances that fall on your roof, they grow at an alarming rate.

Organisms can live off the organic substances that fall on your roof

Algae :  The roof’s favorite type of algae is called gloeocapsa magma (GM). This is the most common and popular. Gleocapsa Magma is essentially a bacteria that loves to feed on both asphalt and limestone which are coincidentally both found in the shingles of your roof. When the limestone in your shingles is essentially taken away, the shingles are no longer able to serve their purpose in reflecting UV Rays off of the home. When this happens, your home will absorb the sunlight. This causes your home to become very warm very quickly. This also contributes to astronomical air conditioning bills if not resolved.

What’s worse is that this type of algae is contagious. It can be moved by wind or animals and therefore can spread quickly around an entire neighborhood. 

Moss : You likely most closely associate moss with a cave. Because of its dark color, it can easily disguise itself on stone. What moss does extremely well is that it retains moisture. Moisture is a menace to your roof and it dampens the shingles which in turn causes more damage. While not all the damage caused by moss is purely pragmatic- it also develops roots that can cause a roof to look quite unsightly.

Lichen : When algae and fungus come together, they create what is called Lichen.  Lichen is very different from algae and moss in that it is an acidic organism which eats away at the constructs of your roof. The shingles are broken down by Lichen which causes extreme roof decay.

Cleaning the Roof

Blowing it Off

By using either high pressure air vacuums or leaf blowers, you are able to quickly remove some of the very surface level debris on the home. This removes the aesthetic damage that you can commonly see from a street level. It’s likely that a homeowner will be satisfied with this method because it looks like it does a thorough cleaning.

The benefit to this is that it is inexpensive and is pretty efficient. The drawback to this method is that it doesn’t get the actual work done. It only appears that the roof is clean.

Pressure Wash

Contractors often attempt pressure washing as a first resort. It can immediately make the roof look cleaner. Simialrly to using a roof blower, it is pretty quick. It does have some drawbacks as well. The high pressure does destroy the shingles and removes the limestone. Similar to the leaf blowing, it doesn’t fix the problem. The bacteria will remain and now have even more moisture to absorb.

Application of Zinc Oxide

Zinc Oxide is a chemical that is often used for cleaning roofs. You can purchase what are called Zinc Strips at your local home hardware store. There is also zinc powder that serves the same purpose. The bacteria growing on your roof does not interact well with metal. The Zinc Oxide helps kill the existing plant life. Rain helps rinse the roof from the toxic bacterium that is now dead. Zinc strips are often handier than the zinc powder. Zinc powder creates a very powdery look on your home and can be slightly. It also can easily blow off the roof and therefore does not serve any purpose. The bacteria on the roof are often hiding but zinc helps kill the bacteria you are unable to see.

Roof Soft Bleach Wash

One method that has been used more frequently later is a bleach soft wash. By using the bleach on the roof and doing a spray down following that practice, it attempts to ride the bacteria completely. This allows contractors who preform this on rooftops to guarantee their work against recurring mold growth. It does do a great job of eradicating the mold and is the most full-proof way to clean. It does however require that a professional comes to ensure the chemical mix and application is appropriate for your rooftop. It is costly and can sometimes lead to damage of your landscape.

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