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How to Clean a Roof: Stains, Dirt, and Rust

Dirt and stains on your home’s roof are never a pleasant sight, but even worse is the grime hiding up there that you can’t see. In order to protect your house, you need to regularly inspect your roof and keep it clean. 

If you neglect to clean and maintain your roof, you may need to replace it in less than half of its normal lifespan. If roof leaks go unnoticed, the excess moisture can cause mildew, mold, and serious structural damage to your home, which can add even more money to the cost of repairs. Professional roofers know how to find a roof leak and can safely fix leaks for you. 

One of the simplest ways to keep your roof in good shape is with regular roof cleaning. So how do you clean a dirty roof? The best bet is to contact a roofing professional and have them inspect it for you. However, if you prefer to do some light maintenance yourself, there are a few simple ways you can keep your roof clean. 

Cleaning Dirt and Debris

Dirt, leaves, and other debris have a tendency to collect in gutters, valleys, and snow guards. The best way to clean them out is from a safety ladder with rubber feet. You can scoop up dirt and grime using rubber gloves, or rake them from the roof gently with a plastic leaf rake. 

If you have an asphalt shingle roof or cedar shake roof, you should be very gentle with the rake, and only move it across the roof from top to bottom so you don’t pull any of the shingles up. If there are any damaged or missing shingles, they need to be replaced immediately. 

If any sections of your gutter are damaged, they should be repaired or replaced as soon as possible. Otherwise, the water can erode soil away from your foundation. Small holes in your gutter can be sealed with a high-quality sealant, while larger holes can be patched with metal flashing. 

Dearth and grime on your roof that can’t be picked up with gloves or a rake can be rinsed off with a garden hose. While a pressure washer may make shorter work of the dirt and grime, it can also degrade the shingles or the protective coating on metal roofing. If there are patches of moss or algae on your roof, you’ll need to treat them to prevent them from growing back. 

Removing Moss and Algae Stains

Do you know how to remove moss from a roof? Chlorine bleach will kill algae spores, but it can also kill your landscaping and wear out your shingles. A store-bought cleaning solution made with gentler ingredients, like zinc salts or baking soda, can clear up roof stains without harming the environment or causing further damage to your home. 

Metal roofs with moss or algae growth can be repainted once the growth is removed to prevent moss growth from coming back. You can install zinc strips or anti-moss sealant on asphalt shingle roofs to keep the problem from returning as well.

A professional roofer will know how to clean roof stains without damaging your roof, and they also have the experience and safety equipment to do it without injuring themselves in the process. They will also be able to demonstrate how to clean roof shingles to keep your roof clean year round. 

Cleaning Rust and Corrosion from a Metal Roof

Metal roofs are highly resilient to the elements, but over time they can oxidize and develop rust stains. Most roofs are made of galvanized steel. They are manufactured with a protective layer of zinc to prevent water from penetrating and rusting the steel. Anything from improper cutting or installation, hail, and debris can scratch the coating and leave it vulnerable to rust. 

Rust stains should be treated as soon as possible. Left untreated, corrosion can eat holes through your roof, and you’ll have to either patch the holes or replace the shingles to prevent further damage to your roof decking. To remove rust stains from a steel roof, you can use any number of store-bought rust removing solutions (doesn’t need to be a roof cleaner) and apply them to the stains. Be sure to remove any screws that have signs of corrosion, and replace them with new ones. Once the rust patches are removed, you should prime and repaint the area affected by the rust for a watertight seal. 

Aluminum, copper, and zinc roofs are particularly resilient against rust. The outer layers of aluminum and copper will oxidize to create a protective layer. Zinc has the unique ability to self-heal. Given time, rough patches will clear out on their own. When exposed to the elements, aluminum, copper, and zinc can lose their sheen, or develop inconsistent areas of coloration. There are a variety of products to restore their sheen, but it’s best to talk to a professional for help getting a consistent look across your roof. 

Contact Preman Solar-Roofing for Roof Repair and Maintenance

DIY roof repair and maintenance may save you a little money in the short term, but an experienced roofer has the tools and knowledge to keep your roof in its prime for years to come. In some cases, you may be using a band-aid approach when you need a total roof replacement, which can put your entire home at risk. 

At Preman Roofing-Solar, we offer top tier roofing services and a wide range of financing options to meet your budget needs. We have installed and serviced thousands of roofs in the San Diego area since 1999, and we are proud to back all of our work and the products we sell with warranties, so you can rest easy knowing your roof is in good hands. 

Contact us today for your free estimate on a roof installation or another roofing service.