Tips for Safe and Effective Roof Cleaning
Spring is the perfect time to clean your roof. Dirt and debris are washed down together with melted ice, giving you a clear view of the damage from last winter.
Cleaning your roof is important for two reasons:
It maintains its attractive appearance.
It prevents damage from mold and algae buildup.
With regular maintenance, you’ll be able to extend the life of your roof to 20 to 25 years. Cleaning can be a challenge given the height and size of your roof. Here are a few tips to make the task easier, safer and more effective.
When it comes to roof cleaning, safety is always paramount. Be careful when climbing, washing, and getting off the roof. Never go up alone; have a spotter watch from the ground for any possible problems.
Wear personal protective equipment
Roofs can be slippery when wet, so make sure you wear work boots with good traction. They should have non-slip soles and hug your feet comfortably.
Wear goggles to prevent water from splashing your eyes, especially if you are using chemical cleaners.
Heavy-duty rubber gloves are important when reaching into gutters. Even if you cut yourself or come into contact with rodents, your hands are protected.
Clean on a cloudy day
Do not clean your roof when it is too hot outside. Not only will the sun scorch your skin, but also dry off the soap too quickly.
Use a sturdy ladder
Even if your ladder is kept safely in storage, you should always test it before use. Put your weight on the lower steps first and check for rust as you go up.
Remove big debris first
The first thing you should clear are chunks of debris that have accumulated on the roof. Clean the flat surface as well as gutters and downspouts.
Do not use metal-tipped tools that could damage the shingles. Brooms with stiff bristles are enough to push debris off the roof.
Once you’ve removed the bigger debris, hosing down smaller stuff should be easy.
Stay on dry areas
Wet shingles are a major slipping hazard so be careful not to spray water over the entire roof. Always leave a dry area so you have a safe way to get back to your ladder.
Never use a power washer
Power washers are too strong for the delicate granules that protect your roof shingles.
You can purchase a cleaning solution for killing mold and algae or prepare your own. Combine dishwashing soap and heavy-duty bleach with hot water and mix everything in a garden spray bottle.
Wash the roof by sections
Similar to cleaning or painting walls, you should wash the roof by sections. Start in the farthest corner and clean that portion. Remove debris with a broom or brush then spray the surface with a cleaning solution. After scrubbing and rinsing, let it dry completely before moving to another section.
If you do not have the time or patience for DIY roof cleaning, call a professional roofing company to give your roof a fresh wash this spring.