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Washing Your Roof Adds Years To Its Life

Washing Your Roof Adds Years to its Life

Washing your roof adds years of life to your home’s overall presentation. You’ll be surprised by the changes that removing those nasty spots of algae from your roof can have on your home’s overall image. Dirt, moss and moisture on your roof’s panels have the potential to detract attention away from the hard work you’ve put in around your home.

On the other hand, if you put in the work, or equally if you hire a professional, using the correct techniques and cleaning chemicals will prevent the algae from damaging your shingles or your roof’s surface. If not treated quickly, these effects can have some rather damaging long term effects, meaning you may even need to splash out on replacing your roof in the future.

This can be pricey, branching out even into the thousands for unexpected repairs. something we will go into in this article. We’re sure you have other important things to spend your money on, so getting the job done efficiently and regularly will mean you don’t need to worry quite so much.

We will talk a little about the effects that caring for your roof can have on your home as a whole, and the pricing of the different services involved, as well as where to find good companies that you can trust should you seek help from a third party. Be sure to check out their customer feedback and online recommendations, as these sites will always have the information you’re looking for.

Our aim in this article is that we hope to give you some top tips to find the best way to clean your roof efficiently and give you the most long-lasting results. What chemicals are recommended to get the job done, and how long should it take? We have some recommendations for you, and some tips so you know what chemicals suit which roof-types.

We will also be talking about pressure-washing and chemical-cleaning, and how you can go about using these methods and whether or not they are commonly used or even effective.

How often should you clean your roof? What effects can cleaning your roof have on your home? What issues can be caused when your roof is not looked after well enough? We will address all of these issues in this article.

Our useful tips should give you all of the information you need to keep your roof shining for many years to come.

Contents

How Should You Wash Your Roof?

It is important to make sure that you dedicate as much time as you can to cleaning your roof, you will need to set aside the best part of the day, or at least a few hours, to make sure that you do the cleaning job effectively enough to get rid of any nasty algae or moss that could damage your roof’s shingles.

Generally, starting at the top of your roof and working your way down is the best way to ensure that no unwanted mess is missed. This means that when the job is done, you can clean up the debris on the floor instead of finding it all over the roof. It is also a good idea to clean in the summer due to the longer sunlight hours as well as the wet chemicals and solutions drying quicker than in the winter or autumn.

Overall, a good clean every three to five years should be enough to make your home look it’s best and should keep your roof in tip-top shape. Remember that gutter cleaning is just as important as cleaning the actual roof, and this should be done annually.

Do remember that roof work can be dangerous work and should only be attempted with the right safety equipment in place and with the right knowledge of how to avoid damaging your roof, as any mistakes can have some rather pesky, and often pricey, consequences. If you are unsure about doing so yourself, the best solution may be to partner with a local roofing service, to advise you on the right fixes for your particular roof.

Should you choose to do the job yourself, how would it be best to do this? Prestige Roofing.com says that if possible, you should use a ladder and first clear out your gutters with a broom or a brush. Gutter cleaning is an important aspect of roof cleaning and should not be forgotten!

Gutters ensure that any rainwater and waste is cleared away from your roof and out of the way of your driveway. Because gutters clean away any waste, this means that they can gather up leaves, moss, and debris rather quickly. This means that a good gutter cleanout is needed regularly to make sure it can function properly.

When you have cleared the gutters, test the system using your water hose, but only do this once they are clear or you may clog up the drainage system.

As you work, carefully monitor the condition of the roof, to see what areas will need covering the most. Check the state of your shingles, downspouts, and skylights. Be aware of any dark stains or discolouration, such as water stains, as they may signal too much moisture or that there is some damage there. These will need to be repaired quickly so they do not cause damage to your home.

Roof stains are caused by a hardy type of blue-green algae called Gloeocapsa Magma, or black, yellow lichen or lumpy furry wet green-coloured moss, all it takes is for one algae spore to land on your roof and spread and cause some damage. As they spread so quickly, it is important to make sure that these organisms are removed.

If you are unsure about what these organisms are and whether they are on your roof, a brief explanation of what they look like and where they grow is required. Gloeocapsa Magma is a species of bacteria that can closely resemble algae but is more dangerous to your roof. When it grows and spreads, it causes black streaks to appear on your roof. These dark streaks are dangerous as they eat away at the limestone on shingles, making them less durable and weaker, which can, therefore, cause your roof to break apart.

Lichens are made from algae and fungi and you may have seen them on trees, leaves and wood. They are similar to moss but are thinner and flaky. They can, however, be dangerous as they grow in sunlight and only require small amounts of moisture to survive and grow.

All of these organisms can be dangerous as they eat away at the roof’s shingles which makes them extremely brittle and weak, making your roof tiles more prone to breakages. This is obviously an issue as breaks in your shingles will cause a lot of damage to your roof, including creating holes or gaps that introduce many problems to the home.

Now, back to how to clean your roof. Make sure to clear away any nearby debris such as clipping back any trees and bushes that may be blocking your working area. Make sure that no plants are hiding any water damage and rot, as this can quickly spread and fester causing more issues and damage to your home. You should remove any dead branches or trees so that they do not become a permanent hazard.

It is also very important to check your ventilation systems so that you know they are working properly. Blocked vents can cause moisture to affect your roof and attic, resulting in rotting or mouldy eaves, roofing, or walls. When this is left for a prolonged period, this could cause your roof expenses to shoot up, and can even lead you to require a replacement roof. Replacing your roof can be extremely expensive, costing upwards of £10,000. This unwanted expense can be avoided through regular roof care and maintenance.

Don’t forget to look for loose, bent, or broken flashing. Flashing is a thin material, typically this is galvanised steel, and it is used to direct water away from the critical areas of the roof. Flashing fills the gaps between roofing components, around the chimneys, vents, and other roof fixtures. If you need this replacing, it is best to have a roofer do this for you as misplaced flashing or incorrectly placed nails could cause a roof leak, potentially severely damage your home.

What Can You Use to Clean Your Roof?

Most roofs can be cleaned with a biodegradable chemical cleaner to be rid of any moss or algae and protect your shingles. They can be cleaned with regular household items. Installing copper or zinc can also help to reduce moss and algae as they contain antifungal elements which prevent it from being affected by these growths. Apply the chemical cleaner to your roof’s surface and leave it there for fifteen to twenty minutes, and then rinse through properly with low pressure.

To clean algae and moss from your roof, you can use a 50:50 mix of laundry strength liquid bleach and water. Apply with a sprayer and allow the solution to dwell on the roof for fifteen to twenty minutes, and then rinse properly with low-pressure water.

There is a huge variety of cleaning solutions available for your roof, all of which can be found online or at any hardware store. When it comes to choosing a cleaning solution, you should check what material your roof tiles are made of and purchase a cleaning solution that is suitable for your tiles.

An oxygen-based bleach is typically suitable for most roof materials. Oxygen bleaches can kill the organic growths at the root, but it will also be gentle on your shingles, allowing them to keep their original colour.

Sun and wind can cause a lot of damage, especially in warmer climates. If you have an asphalt roof, look for dried, cracked, or bent shingles and replace them. Roofs with this surface tend to last fifteen to twenty-five years in warm climates of this type.

The two main methods of roof cleaning are pressure washing, in which highly pressurised water is sprayed on the roof to remove any mould, algae, dirt and grime, and chemical cleaning, in which chemicals are the main thing removing these harmful substances from your roof. However, there is a discussion to be made on pressure-washing your roof. Some companies offer to do this, but this should be avoided when cleaning your roof yourself.

High powered pressure washing can be damaging to roofs that are made of asphalt or tile where components can be moved or even removed by the strong pressure of the water spray. Pressure washing can also cause water to get underneath the tiles, which can damage the roof’s substructure and potentially cost you more in the long run. It can be highly effective for roofs made of metal or concrete, however.

An alternative method for washing your roof is soft washing. Soft washing is a lower-powered version of pressure washing. This method is highly effective in removing organic growths while minimising any potential risk of damage. Soft washing works with a variety of chemical cleaning agents, killing organic growths at the root.

By using a telescopic water-fed pole, you can soft wash your roof from ground level. This will reduce the risk of any accidents whilst on a ladder, making it a much more favourable option for many due to the safety benefits that soft washing offers over pressure washing.

You can purchase a biodegradable cleaning solution so that you do not have any dangerous chemical damage to your plants or have it wash into the sewer system. As long as you have mixed your chemicals correctly, according to their packaging, you will not have to worry about damage to your plants. Make sure that you thoroughly rinse your plants with clean water before and after you have cleaned your roof.

Regularly washing your roof prevents decay, caused by moisture or leaving moss and algae to eat away at your shingles. Algae can feed off your shingles, or off a limestone filler commonly used in shingle production. If your shingles become damaged, since your shingles help block UV rays, you’ll find that there may be a drop in your home’s energy efficiency and a steep rise in your bills. Replacing your roof could cost you over £10,000, so making sure it’s looked after well either by yourself or a professional will prevent such a high cost from eating away at your bank account. Do yourself a favour now and maintain that roof care. You’ll see better results in the long-run and you will keep more money in your pocket!

How Often Should You Wash Your Roof and What Are the Effects of Doing so?

On average, you should clean your roof every three to five years if possible, as any moss or algae can easily build up and along with any moisture or residue, can cause your surfaces to rot. In its earliest stages of development, moss is completely invisible, so even if your roof appears to not be damaged, there is a chance that the best time to have it cleaned is now. In between these large cleans you can hand wash the roof in problem areas where there is a large build-up of organic growth, to prevent any severe damage to your roof. This can be done with just a hard-bristled brush, a scraper, and a sturdy ladder.

Professional roofers recommend a roof inspection once every three years, but it’s better to do so annually to fight any weather issues such as heavy rains or storms that may cause debris from nearby trees to fall onto your home. Moisture from the wet leaves and branches will not have a very good effect on your roof as time goes on.

As mentioned, it is usually best to clean your roof during the summer months when there is a good amount of sunshine and minimal rain, as this can make the task far trickier and possibly more dangerous for you.

What Effects Can Regular Roof Cleaning Have for You?

Joye Roofing and RoofShampoo.com say that algae, lichens, and moss can be feeding off the material in your shingles. It will also prevent wood rot; as these organisms can eat through your shingles and into your roof deck this causes moisture to get underneath the cracks which can result in mould. Roofs covered with these organisms also do not efficiently reflect sunlight, which causes shingles to absorb heat.

Many homeowners may decide to spot-clean their roof, but algae could be affecting the entire surface even if it’s only visible in spots.

If your roof is in a shaded area, you will probably need a roof inspection and cleaning more often, because rainfall may affect your property due to the wet leaves of trees surrounding your home. Falling leaves and other debris surrounding your home may mean you need more regular cleaning and inspections. Other factors such as snowy winters, intense winds or a hailstorm may also mean you should be mindful check for any repairs.

You can use a combination of air, for example by using a leaf blower, or soft brushing to be rid of the moss from your shingles. Your insurance company may also require regular roof cleaning from the homeowner, as a part of your roof care.

Avoiding Damage Can Also Prevent Animal and Insect Invasions

This is because damaged tiles and shingles can cause cracks which may lead to holes in your roof. These small holes can become home to many different creatures that you definitely do not want in your home.

Many bee and wasp infestations are found in the attic of homes due to holes in the roof that they fly through. Due to the temperatures of the attic, and the corner crevasses, it is the perfect place to start a hive or nest. They also are capable of hollowing out sections of your roof, therefore causing more damage and money. All of this is avoidable due to frequent inspections and proper roof care, including roof cleaning to make sure your roof is kept in perfect condition.

Bats can also make your attic their home. They can cause all sorts of damage when entering your roof, similar to bees and wasps, and also are full of diseases. These are harmful to humans, therefore it is important to make sure that any holes in your roof are filled in as you do not want a bat problem! They are extremely difficult to remove due to them being protected by the law, meaning specialists are required to make sure they are removed safely and properly.

Birds can also cause problems if they decide to call your roof their home. Build-ups of moss can look appealing to birds as they are a good organism to add and build up their nest, due to the softness and moisture that moss has. Birds also can travel in large groups which can cause a problem when their faeces end up covering your rood and continuous flying on and off crack your tiles. Frequent washing of your roof will make sure that any moss is removed, making your roof look unappealing to birds.

Preventing these animal and insect infestations are easy when all you need to do is take proper care of your roof, including cleaning it to ensure that any moss and debris is removed and eliminating the problems that they cause such as cracks in shingles and holes in tiles.

In addition to the fact that roof cleaning prevents animal infestations, there are also health benefits. This is because the removal of moss, algae and lichens can prevent the build-up of mould in the home due to the added moisture that they create on the roof.

The effects of mould can be seriously dangerous to anyone in the home, but certain people in particular. Inhaling mould can lead to all sorts of health and respiratory problems including infections that worsen asthma and allergic conditions, wheezing, coughing, sneezing and can trigger nasal congestion (poison.org).

Due to the respiratory problems that the growth of mould can cause, certain people are more at risk. These types of people include:

  • Babies and children
  • Elderly people
  • People with existing skin problems, like eczema
  • People with respiratory problems, like allergies and asthma
  • People with weakened immune systems, for example, those undergoing chemotherapy

Source: www.nhs.uk

Another effect of cleaning your roof is that you can save a lot of money. This is because the results of an unkept roof can result in expensive repairs. As previously mentioned, fixing a roof can be a large, unexpected cost so proper maintenance can save you money and stress. Prices do also depend on the size of your roof as well as any aspects that are on it such as chimneys and vents.

Cleaning your roof may seem like a cost that you have never thought of or budgeted before, but it is an infrequent cost considering the large benefits that it can have and the problems that are avoided, each with additional costs (such as, pest removal).

An additional way in which regular roof cleaning and maintenance can save you money is that by removing organisms from your roof can save you money on your energy bill. The organisms on your roof absorb heat, which can add to your energy bill due to the inefficiency of a home with extra heat absorption. The removal of these stains and organisms will make your home more efficient, therefore saving you money.

(Prestige Home Experts 2020) 

A final positive effect of cleaning your roof that you may not have thought of before is the kerb appeal that comes with a beautiful looking home. The before and after of what a home with a clean roof can look like is astonishing! We all know how satisfying a pressure washer is to watch (whether that be a soft wash or not!) so imagine that on your roof, where all the dark stains and green moss are completely gone.

The look of the outside of your home is arguably just as important as the inside. This is why caring for all aspects of your house can be beneficial. By cleaning your roof, it not only looks great but also means that you don’t have to spend time clearing up any unwanted debris from your driveway or path that has fallen.

This is all beneficial if you are in the market to sell your home as people are more likely to buy a house with a clean looking roof as, to them, it would mean that the roof does not need replacing, therefore saving them the cost and hassle of replacing their roof. This could be misleading as the roof may not need to be replaced, but based on the look of it, the buyers could think so.

If you are not looking to sell, the look of your house could still be important as the pride that comes with a beautiful looking home is worth the effort and short amount of time that it takes to clean your roof. This can have a huge effect on how you (and others) can feel about your home.

Potential leaks were briefly mentioned earlier, but they can cause nasty problems that can easily be avoided by making sure your roof is clean. By cleaning your roof, you can ensure any problems, such as cracks in tiles, are avoided which also prevents leaks.

Leaks can cause ceiling stains inside your home from the excessive moisture. These stains can appear quickly and are difficult to remove. They also can be the cause more even more issues such as mould, rotting framing and causing damage to your insulation. This will also cost more money to fix, which can all add up considering the number of problems that an unkept roof can cause.

Another way in which leaks are caused is due to holes that are in your roof from other projects such as antenna, vents, and satellite dish installation. These holes are easily fixed as they just need to be filled in, and do not cost lots of money (compared to other issues created by an unkept roof). This point goes to show that inspecting your roof is a key part to making sure that problems are avoided as holes and their leaks can be made worse when a roof is cleaned as, obviously, this requires water and solutions to be applied to your roof.

Where Can You Find Services to Clean Your Roof? 

According to householdquotes.co.uk, if you want your roof cleaned to a high standard, the first step is to get a few quotes. You can get roof cleaning prices easily enough at a reputable quotes site, such as Bark and Quotatis. The more quotes you get, the more likely you are to find someone that suits your specific budget. Try for at least three different quotes for comparison purposes. They may want to come and out and see your home before finalising a quote, but at least you are on your way to finding the best price for you.

According to roofadvisor.co.uk, if you live in London, you can expect to pay roughly £450- £500 for a one-man roofing company to clean your roof, of course depending on what method of cleaning you wish to use. A business based in the midlands or south will have lower costs than in the capital, averaging at about £350. In more northern areas of the UK, a smaller business may charge £300. The larger the company, the higher the price.

More medium-sized businesses based in London may charge you up to £600, while in the midlands and the south, you may expect to see prices of £450- £500. In the north, the price tends to drop to around £400. Larger roofing companies will have higher costs, should they have around ten employees, so their prices will rise. They may also charge you more if there are more repairs to be made – so keep on top of your regular cleaning to prevent this – if the roof has a large amount of dirt and moss, if it’s difficult to access, or whether you choose pressure-washing or chemical cleaning.

Be sure to research the company thoroughly beforehand and check out their online reviews. Perhaps before looking online, you could ask for recommendations from friends, family, or neighbours locally, to see what kind of prices you could find. Then find a few companies and compare their quotes to see what works best for you. Make an appointment with the contractor to come out and see your roof, to make sure the pricing is more accurate for you specifically. You want the decision to be as accurate as possible.

Summary

Washing your roof adds years to your home’s image and removing any nasty moss or algae will have it looking shiny and pristine but will also prevent various damages that the moisture can cause. This damage will not only take away from any other hard work you have put in to make your home look presentable, but it will also stop any long term effects from taking control over your home, for example by preventing rotting and causing you to potentially pay for a whole new roof, splashing out even into the thousands. Avoid these nasty damages and make sure that you see the task through to the end.

Problems such as animal infestations, leaking roofs, loss of kerb appeal, the danger of mould and the unnecessary costs involved can all be avoided with proper roof care. Cleaning your roof is an important part of this care and can help you see any problems that may already be there, meaning you can deal with them before they become dangerous.

Generally speaking, should you choose to do the work yourself, give yourself plenty of time during the day or over a couple of days, so you can do so safely. There are different chemicals that you can use, and we hope that our recommendations will have been useful to you. A quick online search should give you some more, should these not be right for you.

Always make sure that you choose a method that is right for your roof type, not one that could cause further damages. For example, pressure-washing works best on concrete or metal roofs, as opposed to asphalt, or tiles that can fall away with the water pressure, and in turn cause water to seep underneath and cause rotting or mould inside your property. Apply the right chemicals or the right amount of pressure and go from there.

When seeking help from a professional contractor or servicing company, have a look online or in your local directory, as there are sure to be plenty of services to be hired near you. Do make sure that you seek quotes from at least three different companies, to seek the appropriate pricing for your specific property. We recommend that you make an appointment with one or two as they may wish to first see your roof before they finalise a quote. Check out their online customer reviews to be sure that they have worked well for other people, and if possible, when they have completed the job for you, leave them a review as it will help others in the same position as you.

We hope that our tips have been useful and that they will help guide you through the process.

Be careful, and make sure that you are prepared with the correct safety equipment, and make sure that you use a method that suits your roof specifically. With the correct tools and cleaning solution, you can get your roof looking in top shape in no time. This will protect your roof from further damage and regular maintenance can and will add years of life to your roof!

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