The Homeowners Guide To Roof Cleaning

The Homeowners Guide To Roof Cleaning

For homeowners, the structural/cosmetic integrity of your roof should be top priority.  Without proper maintenance, the entire home and its contents are at risk for damage.  Tropical weather conditions promote accelerated mold growth, which can pose a serious threat.  If left unchecked, not only does the mold look unattractive but can potentially cause health problems and even lower overall property value. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, however looks do matter!  This is where a roof cleaning enters the picture. Unfortunately, choosing a qualified company for the job can be a dilemma.  We’ve compiled some information to help determine what may work best for your roof, and also to assist in separating the pesky fly-by-nights from the reputable companies.

Identify Your Roof Type

This is the first and most important step to take. Do not assume cleaning companies will do this for you.  A properly maintained roof should last 25 – 30 years. This is quite a lengthy “relationship”, and knowing how to properly care for your home’s roof will help you maintain the warranties, and save you the added expense and headache of prematurely replacing the roof do to negligence/damage.  Common roof materials are asphalt shingle, clay, concrete tile, and Stone Coat Steel.  Check with the manufacturer recommendations to ensure that the proposed cleaning methods will not void your manufacture warranty.

When Evaluating A Roof Cleaning Service, Be Aware of the Following:

Chlorine Bleach

Chlorine based cleaning methods may be an option but you need to know some key facts.  Strong chlorine solutions damage the roof, corrode metal flashings, and compromise integrity of the underlayment by drying out the oils that give your underlayment its waterproof protectant barrier. This may void workmanship warranties, which leaves you responsible for costly repairs.  Manufacturers typically recommend using household bleach, which is 6-10% active or highly diluted Chlorine. Chlorine is 100% active and also leaves behind a salt residue, which feeds and accelerates future mold growth. Regardless of the detergent/cleaning agent used, it must be thoroughly rinsed off afterwards. This avoids leaving any residue or potential penetration of underlayment.

Pressure Cleaning

Certain roof surfaces, such as tile and concrete roof structures can tolerate pressure cleaning.  However, pressure cleaning is not a long term solution to keeping your roof clean.  Experienced and knowledgeable cleaning service is imperative. Improper foot traffic and poor equipment calibration can wreak havoc on your roof. Some companies will use chlorine to cut labor time and cost. Be sure that in addition to choosing a company that specializes in roof cleaning, ask, what, if any, cleaning agents they intend to use on your roof.  **Be advised: Stone Coat Steel and Asphalt Shingle structures should NEVER be pressure cleaned.

Algaecides/Preventative Products

Mold preventative products are an excellent follow up to a roof cleaning. While filtering through options ask these following questions: Is the product endorsed by roofing manufacturers? Are you being offered a warranty on the product’s effectiveness against mold/mildew? If so, get it in writing, and read the fine print!  Learn what is covered, which company is covering it, and what recourse you may have in the event that you need to call on it. The warranty is also only good as long as the company who issued it is in business.  Be aware of newly established companies as well. You can verify businesses on www. Sunbiz.org. Also, have the contractor explain how the product works, to ensure that you are not being sold a roof cleaning agent posing as a mold preventative product.  One particular product that is dominating the South Florida market for over 20 years is Roof-A-Cide.  Roof-A-Cide is a copper based, EPA approved mold preventative product offering a Two Year written warranty.  Applicators using this product must be trained and authorized by the manufacture. Warranties are backed by the product manufacture as well as the Applicator that applied it.

Experience & Qualifications

Roof cleaning doesn’t require a significant outlay of cash for equipment. Smaller pressure washing, painting, and window cleaning contractors are adding roof cleaning to their menu of services without having real experience and knowledge of basic roofing structure. Using due care is extremely important, and the ideal roof cleaning service should be knowledgeable about roof cleaning and stain prevention.   If you’re considering having your roof cleaned, do some basic research to ensure that your chosen contractor is licensed, insured, and qualified to work on your roof.  Check with your roofers and neighbors for recommendations.  Word of mouth is the most honest form of advertisement.