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    September 3, 2014 at 11:34 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

    How to Clean Your Roof Without Damaging the Shingles

    You can certainly clean your roof yourself—but make one wrong move and you’ll damage the shingles or (worse) hurt yourself. It’s best to hire a professional roofing contractor, but for those diehard do it yourselfers, it’s crucial to know the best practices for cleaning your own roof. First, consider the many ways roofs can get dirty or damaged over the years.

    Falling debris is the leading cause of dirty roofs, whether it’s leaves, acorns, branches or anything else. It might fall directly on your roof (in which case trimming nearby trees might be step number one) or it could get blown there by strong winds or planted there by birds or vermin. At best, debris makes your roof look bad and can lower the home value. At worst, it can damage the structure and lead to leaks—a natural dam might form, and that backed up water can lead to roof rot.

    Cleaning Debris

    Assuming there’s no roof damage, the best way to clean off debris is by hand. It’s usually easy to remove, but it will require some work on your hands and knees. Follow roof safety protocols and don’t take any gambles. Another option is with a blower, which will speed up the process and doesn’t require much elbow grease on your end.

    If you don’t want to buy or rent a blower, you can always grab a brush or broom and get to work. Just don’t apply too firm of pressure, since that can slough off roof granules and suddenly you’ve cut the life of your roof in half.

    Stains and Algae

    “Black stains” are common on roofs—this is known as “roof mold,” but is in fact dead algae. Most common on north sides of the roof, this happens due to lack of sun and the higher chance of dampness. Algae doesn’t harm roofs, but it does feed off limestone which is used in asphalt shingles. The reality is that it looks a lot worse than it is, but to prevent the problem you can always upgrade to algae-proof shingles.

    If it’s already too late, a cleaning solution can quickly clean the roof mold. There are a number of homemade concoctions from hot water and soap to bleach. However, check your warranty and get a consultation from a roofer first—you don’t want to take a chance on a chemical that destroys your roof. No matter what, don’t use a pressure washer for roof mold (or for anything at all). It disqualifies warranties and can be harsh enough to destroy roof granules, which can lead to an entire roof replacement.

    Moss Mess

    Moss might look beautiful on roofs, but it can cause severe damage if left for too long. It causes leaks and eventually roof rot and unfixable damage. Moss is a live plant that thrives in moist, cooler areas and there are a number of different species. The best way to kill moss is to remove shade, create an acidic environment, and remove the moisture.

    To achieve an acidic environment, you need a pH level below four which can be achieved with a number of products including orange juice, tomato juice, apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. You can also mix the following with water: Baking soda, salt, baking powder, bleach, soap or ammonia (only mix one of these with water, as multiple combinations can be dangerous). Do make sure that your landscape plants below are protected when using chemicals.

    While you’re up there, take a look around for any shingles that are damaged, loose, missing granules or missing altogether. Also look for damaged flashing or any other problem. You may have another project on your hands!


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