Freeman Exteriors

This Is How to Clean a Roof the Right Way

how to clean a roof

It’s no secret that mold and algae can creep up onto your roofs and cause structural damage. As a homeowner, these roof-related issues might make you feel helpless since they feel inevitable.

However, you can keep mold and other contaminants from messing up your roof by cleaning them regularly. But how do you clean a roof? What do you need and how do you keep it clean?

That’s what we’re here to look at today. If you’re an Illinois homeowner figuring out how to clean a roof, read on to find out more!

When Do You Need to Clean Your Roof?

For most homes, the roof should be cleaned about five years after installation. After that, cleaning every two years or even annually is seen as good practice. 

However, the frequency of your roof cleaning depends on where you live and what surrounds your home.

If you live in a tropical climate, there’s a good chance you get plenty of rain and other inclement weather. This means a greater chance of natural debris or algae building up on your roof.

Homes that are built near industrial buildings, airports, warehouses, and roadways are more susceptible to debris and other unwanted materials on your roof. This calls for more consistent cleaning. 

You can usually get an estimate from a contractor on whether you need your roof cleaned. You can also go up there yourself and assess if you need to clean it, especially after a bad storm or another weather event. 

Why You Need to Clean Your Roof

The most important reason people get their roofs cleaned is to prevent the buildup of mold, algae, and other harmful organisms. They can damage your shingles and break down the concrete on and around your roof.

If your roof got hit with debris, branches, and other materials after a storm, roof cleaning ensures that won’t cause any permanent damage. Otherwise, your shingles and roof tiles might become loose over time. 

For homeowners that are sensitive to pollen, roof cleaning in the springtime might be beneficial since those organisms can similarly fester on your roof. Don’t forget about the dust that builds up from nearby roads. 

Keeping your roof clean means maintaining a clean and attractive look for your home on top of better structural integrity. Let’s go over what you need to keep your roof in tip-top shape. 

What You Need Before Cleaning Your Roof

If you don’t have a way to get up to your roof from the inside, you’ll need a sturdy ladder. Make sure you buy reliable models and have someone who can spot you while you make your way up.

When you’re choosing roof cleaners, consider what type of cleaner you think you’ll need. For a more hands-off approach that also eliminates stains, you should look at chemical-based solutions. 

Bleach is powerful but can cause permanent damage to your roof, especially if you have asphalt shingles. Try to avoid strong bleach if you can.

Other chemicals, like ammonia or cooper sulfate, are similarly effective solutions that require very little scrubbing. They can be harmful to nearby plants, however, so be careful with them as well.

If your roof has stains that just aren’t going away or need more than just a good scrub, but it might be smart to avoid pressure cleaners. They can damage your shingles and should only be used when absolutely needed.

Step-By-Step on How to Clean a Roof

Now that you know what you’ll need for cleaning a roof, let’s go over what you’ll be doing step by step. While this isn’t an exhaustive list, it’s a great place to start for a cleaner and healthier roof.

1. Ensure Safety

Before you even make your way up to your roof, check the weather for the day. Will it be sunny or cloudy? If there’s a chance of rain, you should bail on cleaning for the day.

Wear slip-resistant shoes when you’re up there to make sure you’ll be staying put on the roof at all times. Goggles will keep any flying debris, chemicals, or water out of your eyes.

Wear gloves to make sure you won’t be touching any dangerous chemicals or mold. If you’ve got a slanted rope, a safety rope should be tied around your waist and connected to a chimney in case you slip. 

Finally, have someone spotting you at all times. Let everyone around you know that you’re cleaning your roof and to be on standby if something happens.

2. Remove Debris

Now that you’re good to go, clear off any debris before proceeding with the cleaning. This means branches, leaves, dirt, and any other large objects can make their way off the roof. 

When you’re clearing debris, make sure there’s nothing below the roof. You don’t want to accidentally hit anything (or anyone) during this process.

3. Prepare materials

If your roof is clear of any foreign debris, it’s time to prepare the chemicals or other solutions that you’ll be using. Remember, avoid any harsh chemicals that can ruin your shingles. 

Follow manufacturers’ specific instructions when making these solutions. Make sure you’re wearing protective gear during this process as well.

4. Apply Solution + Rinse

Connect your solution to a garden hose or another low-pressure hose and start applying. Spray every single asphalt shingle that you want to be cleaned. 

How much solution you use will depend on how much surface area you need to be cleaned. Make sure you’ve made enough solution for your roof! If you think you’ve gotten every nook and cranny, rinse it off with water.

5. Scrub It Out

Chances are, there are a few algae or mold spots that just aren’t coming off after washing a roof. Wait until the roof is relatively dry, put on your protective gear and rope, and get to scrubbing.

Be careful with how much pressure you apply since you don’t want to damage anything. A brush or broom should do the trick. If not, wait until the solution and water are completely dry and try again. 

Keeping Your Roof Clean

Roof maintenance can be a hassle for Illinois residents, but it’s not impossible by any means. Use this article to help you understand how to clean a roof.

Looking for reliable roof repair and replacement services in the Champaign area? Contact us today and we’ll provide the best solution right away!


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