How to Clean Roofs: Shingle, Concrete Tile, and Metal

How to Clean Roofs

Keeping roofs clean is critical for home maintenance. Dirt, mildew, and other buildup damages different roofing materials in unique ways. That’s why roof cleaning methods should be tailored based on your exact roof type. In this guide, we’ll cover customized techniques to safely clean and care for common roof varieties found on homes.

Asphalt Shingle Roof Cleaning

Asphalt shingles make up over half of all residential roofs for good reason. These affordable shingles hold up for decades when properly maintained.

The textured design that gives asphalt composites excellent protection also makes them prone to trapping dirt. Algae, moss and other grime hides in every crevice, slowly breaking down essential waterproofing oils.

Here’s how to clean asphalt shingles without causing damage:

Pressure Washing Asphalt Shingles

Pressure washing unleashes targeted water pressure up to 4,000 PSI for deep roof cleaning. Dialing in soap reservoirs and correct nozzle angles scrubs away grime on textured asphalt.

Take care around vulnerable areas like eaves. Avoid holding the stream over one spot excessively when washing, which risks lifting edges. Work top down methodically for complete coverage.

Rinsing away blasted off debris prevents recontamination of newly cleaned areas. For petroleum-based stains, degreaser solutions help lift stubborn oil.

Applying Asphalt Shingle Cleaner

Liquid cleaners offer an alternative roof washing method to pressure systems. Quality asphalt shingle cleaners contain detergents focused on dissolving common black streaking algae or green/black mossy growths.

After pre-wetting the entire roof, use a pump sprayer to coat soiled areas, allowing the solution 5-10 minutes of dwell time before rinsing. Repeat for tough deposits. Look for non-damaging eco-friendly cleaners when possible.

Asphalt Shingle Stain Removal Tips

  • Inspect shingles each season, addressing stains early before mushrooming growth
  • Carefully brush heavy soil deposits before applying cleaners
  • Avoid harsh bleach or ammonia products that degrade shingle minerals
  • Rinse thoroughly after cleaning to remove all residue
  • Retreat 2-3 times per year to inhibit regrowth

Staying vigilant against grime keeps asphalt roofing looking fresh and ensures the composite continues effectively blocking water for decades before replacement becomes necessary.

Concrete Tile Roof Cleaning

Concrete tiles make for incredibly durable and fireproof roofing thanks to their dense mixture of cement, sand and clay. Popular in hot climates, properly constructed concrete tile roofs withstand hurricane-force winds.

While concrete holds up structurally, the natural material still suffers dirt accumulation like other roofs. Grime in tile crevices undermines water resistance, risking moisture seeping underneath.

Here’s how to safely clean concrete roof tiles:

Pressure Washing Concrete Tile Roofs

As with asphalt shingles, pressure washing using tight-focused nozzles provides the deepest cleaning of textured concrete. Adjust pressure between 500-1500 PSI starting on a hidden underside or rear tile to test efficacy.

Too much raw pressure risks cracking tiles along vulnerabilities. Slosh cleaning agents over the tile roof while pressure rinsing to remove the lifted grime.

Applying Concrete Tile Cleaner

Specialized concrete cleaners work to dissolve different types of buildup without damaging the integrity of tile. Look for non-acidic cleaners unless targeting hard water deposit removal.

Always pre-wet before applying cleaner. Let the cleaning agent soak for several minutes before gently wiping and rinsing away lifted staining while scrubbing individual tiles with a soft brush as needed.

Concrete Tile Stain Removal Tips

  • Inspect twice annually for broken tiles or debris trapping gaps
  • Carefully brush heavy deposits before pressure washing
  • Test cleaners on underside tiles to ensure safety
  • Avoid over-spraying landscaping or vehicles with corrosive cleaners
  • Rinse thoroughly and use neutralizers if using acidic mixes
  • Retreat once a year to inhibit staining regrowth

Proper roof tile cleaning keeps concrete construction looking great for 50-100 years before replacement becomes necessary – an exceptional service life.

Metal Roof Cleaning

Metal roofs like rustic tin paneling or sleek aluminum shingles add unique architectural flair. Metal construction also sheds debris easier than textured composites thanks to smooth non-porous sheets.

But eventually airborne emissions and weathering leaves discoloring oxidation and streaking patterns. Metal-specific cleaners dissolve stains while respecting protective coatings.

Here’s how to clean metal roofing:

Pressure Washing Metal Roofs

Exercise additional caution pressure washing metal to avoid driving moisture behind vulnerable seams, especially on older structures. Scan for opened seam gaps beforehand.

Use broad fan nozzles and keep an optimal 40 degree angle relative to the roof. This avoids harsh liquid impact against flashing. Adhere to 500 PSI maximum water pressure.

Combine periodic pressure rinse cleaning with other methods for well-rounded metal roof care.

Applying Metal Roof Cleaners

Specialized metal cleaning solutions dissolve iron oxide “rust” stains along with environmental streaking without harming durable baked-on finishes. Select non-acidic cleaners unless dealing with concrete/mortar residue requiring dissolution.

Follow manufacturer instructions, wetting the entire roof before focusing application only on soiled areas. This prevents streaking. Optimizing dwell time allows cleaners to fully react.

Metal Roof Stain Removal Tips

  • Inspect metal seams/joints annually to ensure water tightness
  • Sweep off loose debris before wet cleaning methods
  • On steep pitches, work top-down to avoid re-soiling
  • Rinse cleaner residue thoroughly to avoid reactions
  • For tough stains, use a copper brush attachment on a drill
  • Wax metal roofs every 1-2 years to encourage water runoff

Proper metal roof cleaning and care allow these special roofing materials to maintain eye-catching looks for lifetimes.

When To Call A Professional Roofer

While regular roof cleaning extends roof lifespans, at some point professional replacement becomes necessary. Typical signs of roof wear include:

  • Ponding water or interior leaking
  • Failing repairs unable to resolve new moisture entry points
  • Distortion from sagging lines or areas
  • Granule loss exposing cracked shingle fiberglass
  • 25+ years of age, nearing expected lifespan limitations

Rather than wasting time on piecemeal fixes, complete tear-off and re-installation are likely needed in these cases. Attempting DIY repairs on damaged roof components can make problems worse.

Leave fundamental roof repairs like structural damage or re-sheeting decomposed decking to the professionals. Certified roofers have the expertise and equipment to correctly identify issues and implement solutions.

Keep Your Roof Clean and Dry

Learning customized cleaning methods based on your specific roof type allows keeping unsightly staining at bay. But consistent preventative maintenance is the best tactic.

Clear leaves and debris during seasonal inspections. Spot treat any algae outbreaks immediately before extensive colonies develop. Keep gutters unclogged and drainage areas clear to prevent moisture buildup.

Stay proactive against grime accumulation through vigilance and your roof will continue reliably protecting your home for decades to come.

Contact Sullins Suds for professional roof cleaning services!

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