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How to clean your roof without damaging the shingles

by | Apr 29, 2024

Cleaning your roof is a necessary part of home maintenance, especially in Alabama and all along the Gulf Coast, but did you know that improper methods can damage your shingles? The risks of shingle damage range from cosmetic issues to serious structural vulnerabilities that could lead to costly repairs or premature roof replacement. In this blog post you will learn how to clean your roof without damaging the shingles to help you protect your investment and extend the lifespan of your roof. 

How to clean your roof without damaging the shingles 

The first step is to cover delicate landscaping with waterproof tarps and clean off any debris or standing water with a soft brush of blower. 

It is also important to clean out gutters of all debris to allow water to flow through them easily during the cleaning process. 

A variety of chemicals can be used to clean a roof, but the best product for cleaning a roof with asphalt shingles, which is what most homes have, is a gentle bleach solution consisting of a 50/50 mix of sodium hypochlorite and water.

Alternatively, vinegar offers a natural and environmentally friendly option, though it may be less effective on tougher stains.

Begin by spraying the solution across your roof from the ground with a telescoping washer/sprayer to avoid walking on the roof.

For very dirty shingles, you can spray the roof twice 5-10 minutes apart before rinsing. Allow a bleach solution to sit on the roof for 15-20 minutes depending on the thickness of moss and other coatings. Thoroughly rinse your roof off with a water hose ensuring that all the chemicals and other debris are removed.

Can you pressure clean a shingle roof? 

Do not use a pressure washer to clean your shingle roof. The force of the water can blow shingles off your home’s roof and tear existing shingles apart, leaving your roof, and home, exposed to possible water intrusion. 

How to maintain a clean roof 

Over time, roofs can collect and ‘grow” various types of algae, lichen, and moss that live on the limestone filler in the shingles. These can cause significant damage to your roof which can lead to costly repairs or an early need to replace the roof. 

The moisture that remains on a roof over time can lead to rotten wood and deterioration of shingles. With regular cleanings, you can prevent these problems and extend the life of your roof shingles. 

Clean your shingles every 1 to 2 years to avoid an overgrowth of buildup that can damage your roof and reduce its life expectancy. In addition, regularly trimming nearby tree limbs as well as keeping your gutters debris-free will ensure your roof stays cleaner and lasts longer. 

How safe is it to clean your asphalt shingles? 

How safe it is to clean your own roof and shingles depends on how comfortable you feel accessing your roof, how steep it is, how tall your home is and the type of roof system it has. 

Moss, algae, and debris can make your roof slippery and hazardous. When removing debris and excess water to prepare for cleaning your asphalt shingles, take extreme caution. 

Spray the bleach chemical solution for cleaning the shingles from the ground with a sprayer to avoid walking on the roof. 

Consider hiring a professional to clean your asphalt shingles, as they can prevent damaging them and save you the trouble and safety hazards. 

Conclusion 

Regularly cleaning your home’s asphalt shingles helps prevent your roof from damage due to moss or algae growth. It also comes with many benefits like: 

  • Extending the life of your roof
  • Protecting your shingle warranty 
  • Boosting your home’s curb appeal 
  • Saving money in the long run by preventing costly repairs 
  • Helping homeowners or roofing professional detect any problems that need repairing 

It is important to note that asphalt shingle roofs in Alabama, and all along the Gulf Coast, may require more frequent cleanings to maintain their condition and life expectancy. 

Keeping your roof free of debris, trimming overhanging limbs and maintaining clean gutters allows excess water to flow off your roof, maintaining the good condition of your roof and its shingles. 

For the best results and your personal safety, consider having your roof and asphalt shingles professionally cleaned every 1-2 years.