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How to Clean Roof Shingles Effectively

Because your home’s roof is constantly exposed to the elements, dirt, grime, and plant or fungal growth can cause black stains or otherwise discolor your shingles. Learning how to clean roof shingles is important. This can dramatically reduce your curb appeal. Just like the rest of your house, the only way you can keep your roof beautiful is with routine cleaning. 

Of course, it’s more than aesthetics you have to worry about. Stains caused by plant or fungal growth can hold a lot of water, which can lead to leaks and wood rot. Learning how to find a roof leak is critical to avoid roof leaks turning into a catastrophic repair. Regular roof cleaning can find leaks and eliminate small problems. To learn more about the best way to clean your shingles, read on. But first, you should contact a professional to make sure the damage isn’t more than superficial. 

Hire a Roof Inspector

Your roof should be inspected at least once a year. At Preman Roofing-Solar, we offer cleaning as part of routine maintenance to your roof. Our team can also check for leaks, apply a sealant to flashing, and repair or replace roof shingles as needed. We’ve proudly served the San Diego area for over 20 years, and all of our work and pricing comes with our guarantee.  

With proper roof maintenance, an asphalt shingle roof can last 20 years. Cedar shingles can last up to 30 years before they need to be replaced. But without regular cleaning and inspection, you may need to replace your roof in as little as 8 years. 

Even if you prefer to clean your roof yourself, regular inspection can also prevent serious structural problems from water damage and wood rot. Excess water can lead to mold and mildew problems, which can cause respiratory problems and flare-ups for people with asthma.  

Check the Weather

If you’re going to clean your roof yourself, it’s a good idea to wait for a calm day so the wind doesn’t blow the water off target.  A cool morning with extra cloud cover will ensure that the cleaning solution you use doesn’t evaporate as quickly. 

Use Safe Practices

You’ll need to use a safety ladder for this job, and make sure you always have a spotter. If you don’t have roofing boots, you can wear hiking boots with rubber outsoles for better traction on your ladder. 

Asphalt shingles aren’t meant to be walked on, and even if you step carefully you can damage or dislodge them. It’s also very dangerous, and even experienced professionals will use safety harnesses if they do need to walk across the roof. If this job will require walking on the roof surface, it’s best to hire a roofing contractor. 

Scrub if You Need to

Have you ever wondered how to remove moss from a roof? If you have big patches of lichen or moss, spraying alone may not be effective. You’ll need to remove growth other debris by scraping it off with a scrub brush with soft bristles. For harder to reach spots, you can try a plastic leaf rake. You’ll need to be very gentle to avoid damaging the tiles, and always start from the top and go down to prevent lifting the tiles. 

Saturate Your Roof

In order to kill any spores or to prevent broken bits of moss and algae from growing back, you’ll need to use a cleaning solution. A lot of people recommended a 50/50 solution of chlorine bleach and water, which will kill the growth but may also damage your roofing tiles. As the bleach solution drains from your roof, it can also kill your lawn. Laundry detergent is another common household item used to control moss, but it isn’t very eco-friendly. 

Baking soda is a much milder treatment that won’t kill your lawn or damage your roof. You can make a solution by adding a half a cup per gallon. However, you may need to apply it a few times to totally remove the stains. You can also find an environmentally friendly roof cleaning product. Look for ones made from zinc salts or baking soda that won’t kill your lawn or shorten your roof’s lifespan.

You’ll need to thoroughly spray moss and algae stains with your cleaning solution to kill it all. Pressure washing may sound like a good shortcut, but even when it’s on the lowest setting, a pressure washer can compromise the integrity of your roofing shingles. A garden hose with spray attachment will do the job without damaging your shingle roof. 

Prevent Stains

Your roof will stay much cleaner if you keep nearby tree branches trimmed and away from the roof. The less shade that hits your house, the less you’ll have to deal with stains. You also need to clean your gutters out and make sure there is plenty of airflow to keep your roof dry. 

Even with ventilation and sun, your roof may still get stains over time. This is especially a problem in humid climates, and San Diego has had unusually high humidity levels in the past couple of years. Luckily, there are a couple of things you can add to your roof to prevent stains.

One option is to install zinc strips on the ridges of the roof and below any pipes or chimneys. Every time it rains, the rainwater will collect zinc ions that are toxic to moss and algae spores. If it doesn’t rain very often, you can periodically rinse your roof off with a hose to prevent growth. Another option is to spray your shingles with liquid zinc or a stain-blocking solution. These are toxic to moss, lichen, algae, and mold, but they won’t kill your lawn or damage your shingles. 

Preman Roofing-Solar can guide you through the process of choosing the best prevention measures for algae and moss stains. Contact us today for your free estimate.