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Does Roof Cleaning Damage Your Roof? (Experts Explain)

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roof cleaning

roof cleaning

When you come home, have you ever looked at your home and noticed your roof is looking a bit dingy. You can see moss, debris, and dark stains on it and start thinking it’s time to get it cleaned. However, you’ve heard others say that cleaning your roof damages it. So what’s the truth, does cleaning your roof damage it?

The answer to this is yes and no. If you don’t know how to clean your roof correctly, you can cause significant damage to it. Although your roof only accounts for roughly 10% of the value of your home over its lifetime, it will account for approximately 75% of maintenance and repair costs. If you don’t take time to care for and maintain your roof correctly, you’ll have to end up replacing it much sooner than you planned.

A critical step in roof maintenance is to have it inspected yearly, lower repair costs, and extend your roof’s life which in the end saves you a lot of money. Another important aspect of keeping your roof maintained is cleaning it. However, if not done correctly, it can damage your roof tiles and shingles and void any manufacturer’s warranties.

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Should Your Roof Be Cleaned?

Yes, you should invest in roof cleaning. Every day your roof is exposed to all types of weather. There are cold, freezing temperatures, snow, and ice rain high winds during the winter. There’s extreme heat, storms, hail, and whatever else may come along in the summer. The high winds cause dirt and debris to be blown on your roof. Algae and moss may grow on your roof and cause damage. Also, in some circumstances, mold can even develop and spread on it. These elements can cause damage leading to costly repairs or even replacement.


Why is roof cleaning important?

Having your roof cleaned is an inexpensive way to save hundreds down the road. There are a few benefits of having a clean roof, such as.

  • It saves you money on utility bills
  • Protects your roof's shingles
  • Prevents ice dam formation
  • Prevents algae, moss, lichens, and mold from growing on your roof
  • Avoids shingle damage
  • Prevents wood rot
  • It keeps pests and insects from invading your home
  • Improves the look of your home


How does the roof get dirty?

  • Algae - algae thrives in humid environments like the Midwest during the summer. Once it starts growing, it spreads quickly, blowing from one area of the roof to another. You’ll first see it on the north side of your roof because of the shade and damp conditions. It’s terrible for your roof because it slowly wears away the protective covering of your roof.
  • Mold - although mold is less common like algae, it forms because of damp conditions. It causes more issues than algae because it harms your health. Mold will most likely leave black, green, or green patches on your roof, resembling stains.
  • Moss - this is another fungus that loves moist areas. Like algae, you’re most likely to find this on the north side of your roof. Moss is easy to see because of its fuzzy green appearance.


How Improperly Cleaning Your Roof Causes Damage

Roof cleaning may sound like an easy DIY project that will make you feel good. And it does - as long as everything goes well. However, if you don’t know what you’re doing or something goes wrong, quite a bit of damage can occur. Here are just a few things that can go wrong.

  • You could fall through the roof. When cleaning your roof, if there are any soft areas due to leaking, you can fall through it, not only damaging the roof but injuring yourself.
  • If you don’t know how to use a power washer to clean your roof correctly, you can cause damage to shingles, tiles, and metal roofing.
  • Improper cleaning can also cause damage to pipe boots, flashing, or vents that stick up from your roof.
  • If you pressure wash your roof, you may void your roof's warranty since some don’t permit DIY roof pressure washing.
  • If you are too rough on your roof, you can cause the shingle granules to become dislodged and break off. You can do this by scrubbing too hard, using incorrect cleaning solutions, or wrong cleaning tool.
  • If you don’t know how to walk across your shingle correctly, you can cause them to crack or break. Also, when shingles get wet, they become slippery and become hazardous.
  • Powerwashing from the wrong water angle can cause loose nails, splatter, and water damage, plus it can ruin your landscape design.
  • Balancing on a ladder while using a power washer is unsafe.
  • The wrong chemical or detergent can cause fading or weakened shingles.


Can I Clean My Roof Myself?

Although you can clean your roof yourself, we don’t recommend it. The main reason for this is that it may void your roof's warranty, you can hurt yourself and damage your roof, and unless you know how to clean it correctly, you may be decreasing its lifespan.

  • Clear and clean gutters and downspouts - you can do this by using a broom and gloves to clean out the debris. These things prevent water and snow from sitting on top of your roof by directing the water off your roof. When debris accumulates in your gutter, it keeps the water from draining off, which can damage your roof and may cause leaks.
  • Trim trees and bushes - there’s no doubt that trees are a great way to provide shade in the summer and protect against the wind in the winter. However, branches rubbing on your roof can damage the shingles by knocking off the protective outer layer on your shingles. Also, the branches and leave fall on your roof, blocking the drainage system.
  • Check your ventilation system - make sure all of the vents on the roofs are clear, including soffit vents. The vents help to keep moisture out of your roof and attic. The water inside these areas can lead to warping, rotting, moldy eaves, roofing, or walls.


Clean and Inspect Your Roof Regularly

The best thing you can do for your roof is clean and inspect it regularly. We recommend roof cleaning in the spring and fall. This way, you’ll catch any damages that need to be repaired before summer or winter. You should have your roof cleaned by a professional every two years. If you notice the growth of moss or algae before then, call someone right away before it spreads.







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