How Roof Cleaning Can Prevent Roof Leaks

A clean roof increases a home’s curb appeal. It also helps prevent fungus and algae from spreading, which can void the roof’s warranty and accelerate shingles’ deterioration.

The most common and affordable type of roof cleaning involves using a blower to remove loose debris and spraying with a mild cleaner. A bleach-based chemical wash is also an option but may irritate the nose and lungs of homeowners and their pets. Read on to learn more.

Debris Removal

A well-maintained roof is an important feature that protects your home from rain, wind, and sun. It also helps increase your house’s curb appeal. However, a debris-filled roof can cause damage to the structure and lead to leaks. This can be prevented by cleaning the debris on a regular basis.

Regular roof cleaning can prevent organic growth like moss, lichen, and algae from damaging the shingles. If you notice black stains on your roof, it may be caused by algae that is eating away at the shingles.

A soft washing of your roof uses special mild surfactants that dissolve accumulated thick mud, dirt, soot, and other residues. This method is safe for most roofing materials and can be done without damaging your shingles or tiles.

Black Streaks Removal

Black streaks are not only unsightly, but they can cause roof damage. The stains are caused by gloeocapsa magma algae, and they spread on shingle roofs due to their love of water and humidity. The spores travel in the air, and each refreshing breeze brings them to nearby roofs.

There are several homemade and commercial formulas for cleaning black streaks from roofs. These include chlorine bleach, trisodium phosphate (TSP), and lye. The best solution is a combination of these ingredients mixed into a pump-type garden sprayer. The mixture must be applied without standing on the roof and using a fall-protection harness.

While the spores that form the black streaks are not dangerous to humans or pets, they will wear away at the protective granules in shingles, causing them to become dry and brittle. The roof deterioration will lead to leaks and expensive repairs.

High-Pressure Washing

Pressure washing uses water at a high volume and force to remove accumulated grime, loose paint, dirt, mold, mildew, and other substances from surfaces like outdoor grills, homes, cars, buildings, sidewalks, streets, bridges, and tanks, Popular Mechanics reports. During power washing, professionals use a hose connected to a pump that pressurizes the water before it is forced out through a spray wand or nozzle. There are multiple nozzle options available, including different angles that can help remove certain stains as well as adjustments to restrict or loosen the water pressure. This allows for effective cleaning without causing damage to the surface material.

Low-Pressure Washing

Power washing with high pressure can damage some surfaces that need to stay intact. During soft wash cleaning, a technician applies cleaning solutions at low water pressure to sanitize and clean your exterior. These cleaners penetrate and eat into dirt build-up, killing mildew, mold, moss, and other plants that have rooted in and around your shingles.

Soft washing also eliminates the need to climb ladders or scaffolding, making it easier for you to get your home cleaned. Additionally, a professional uses surfactants in the cleaning solution to improve its ability to wash away unwanted substances and debris.

While this process may not remove stubborn stains, it’s perfect for many surfaces. It’s also safe for most roofing materials and helps you extend the life of your roof.

Algae Removal

Many homeowners have seen unsightly black discoloration on roofs that appear to be mold or mildew, but in fact, are algae stains. This type of algae (Gleocapsa magma) thrives in areas with constant moisture, such as coastal or humid climates.

This simple algae forms a dark pigmented sheath to protect itself from ultraviolet light, creating a stain that can be mistaken for mold. Left to grow for too long, it can rot the shingle surface and cause structural damage.

The simplest way to remove moss and algae is to spray the entire roof surface with a 50 percent mix of water and bleach. It may also help to cut back overhanging tree branches and eliminate standing water that promotes moss. To prevent regrowth, some professionals suggest coating the roof with potassium hydroxide or calcium chloride, a chemical powder that acts somewhat like sodium hypochlorite but is less toxic to plants. Browse the next article.

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