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Cleaning your roof from algae, moss and fungus regularly is an integral part of keeping it in pristine condition and extending its lifespan. Stains and growth patches can cause your roof shingles to deteriorate and lose colour. To eliminate or minimise the damage, here are the top 5 essential things you should know about roof cleaning before you decide to either hire a professional or do the whole process yourself:

DIY roof cleaning

While there are many tasks around the home that can be seen as DIY projects, roof cleaning isn't something you should take lightly. It is a major project that requires specific knowledge and expertise, as well as the proper tools and materials to get the job done right. However, if you do decide to take on the job yourself, you'll need to follow specific safety procedures to make sure you don't harm yourself and damage your surroundings.

Here's what you'll need to keep in mind:

1. Safety first

Before you even get started on the task at hand, you need to make sure you're protected so you can work without having to worry about slipping while you're up that high. The main safety equipment you need to use is your harness that's connected via a line to a bracket screwed on the rafters so that you don't fall and hurt yourself in the process.

Additionally, you need to wear protective clothing so you don't get any cleaning detergent, dirt or debris on your bare skin. Once you have your protective equipment on, and you have positioned your ladder on a firm, steady surface you can get down to work.

Alternatively, you can work from your ladder instead of climbing on the roof, especially if you don't feel that comfortable climbing that high up. Note that if you do decide to take this option you will need to make sure you have someone spotting your ladder so you don't fall. Also, this process is much harder and may take more time, since you won't be able to easily reach the entire surface of the roof.

2. Use a brush instead of a power washer

While you might be an experienced DIY-er and trust that you have the right skills to get the job done yourself, we recommend you use a brush to get the moss out of your roof shingles, instead of a power washer. There are two main reasons for this. Number one, you want to avoid working on a wet and slippery surface if you're not an experienced roof cleaner and number two, you can easily damage your roof shingles if you don't know how to set the right pressure on the power washer depending on the type of roofing material you're working with. Instead, use a dry brush to remove most of the larger pieces of moss off the shingles, then apply your preferred cleaning solution to kill the rest of it and get it off your roof's surface. 

There are many other different approaches you can take that might work better for you, the only thing that matters is that you stay safe. If you decide to use a pressure washer or a hose, make sure you take extra precaution, especially if you're working on a steeper-pitched roof.

Note: make sure you water any plants, grass or shrubbery down below, so if any product spills down it won't kill them.

3. Use high-quality, safe cleaning solutions

Purchase your cleaning solution from a trusted company. If you choose to use chemical cleaners, make sure you use the proper rinsing techniques so you don't destroy your landscape and kill all your flowers in the process.

You can always buy a moss and algae removal solution from your nearest home improvement store, however, what seems to work best when it comes to moss and algae removal is a 50:50 mix of bleach and water, which is a DIY solution not only homeowners, but professional roof cleaners use as well. The thing about this product is that it takes a bit of time to work. So make sure you give it a few days to do its magic before you remove the dead moss off your roof. The easiest way to remove it once it's dead is to either use a leaf blower, a pressure washer or a garden hose. 

4. Prevent future moss growth

There are numerous ways to prevent moss for forming on your roof so you can keep your roof clean for a longer period of time. The most common one is to apply zinc or copper strips under the ridge caps of your shingles so when rainwater hits the metal strip it will carry tiny metal particles down the roof which are porous to fungus, mould, algae, moss, lichen, and other plant life so that your roof can stay moss free for five years or so after installing the strip. While this is quite a popular method, it can be detrimental to your roof because it can lead to erosion or damage your shingles once it starts breaking off, so it's up to you to decide if you want to use this method.

Other suitable and practical methods that require less work and provide good results include the use of baking soda or other commercial moss control products which can be applied after each cleaning. Since baking soda can be easily blown off by the wind, you will need to repeat the treatment a few times. 

5. Know your strengths and weaknesses

Don't hesitate to hire a professional roof cleaning service if you don't feel comfortable with your skill or experience level.

Roof cleaning contractors have the required expertise and knowledge to get the job done right in the shortest amount of time. They have the necessary equipment and professional cleaning solutions and can get your roof back in shape in no time. That's why you should consider leaving the job to the pros, instead of going through all the trouble yourself.

6. Algae is more than just a visual concern

Roof algae can make your roof look old and aesthetically unappealing. But that's not the only concern you should have when it comes to algae growing on your roof. Algae feed off your roof shingles and deteriorate them over time. That's why it's important to take care of them right away before they start damaging your roof.

The interesting thing about algae is that even if you can't see them, they still may be growing on your roof. While algae are invisible in their early stages of development, that doesn't mean they're not there. That's why even if your roof seems okay now, you may want to have it inspected and cleaned every 3-4 years to be on the safe side.

7. Not all types of roofing materials are safe to pressure wash

While very effective and convenient, pressure washing is best used for metal roofs or cement tiles. These types of roofs cannot be harmed by pressure washing, while terracotta roofs, asphalt shingles and other similar roofing materials can be harmed by high pressure, which is why it's important to always go with a soft wash when treating these types of roofs. The soft wash method uses low-pressure nozzles to provide less pressure on your roof shingles while still getting a great result. Combined with a biodegradable chemical, soft washing removes mould, algae, lichen and moss growth as well as pollen, dirt, grime and other residues. The method works well when it comes to eliminating all kinds of debris and stains without damaging the surface of your roof or your nearby plants and shrubbery.

8. There are two main methods used to clean a roof

Depending on the type of roof you have as well your particular preferences, you may require a chemical cleaning, pressure washing or an eco-friendly roof cleaning. While eco-friendly options are on the rise nowadays, as they are very effective and safer for your home and the environment, they are a bit more expensive than traditional chemical cleaning. Pressure washing is also a conventional roof cleaning technique companies offer, although it is not suitable for all types of roofs as it may damage the shingles and cause more harm than good.

Benefits of Hiring a Roof Cleaning Service

While some homeowners may choose to do their dirty roof themselves, cleaning a roof is a difficult, demanding and hazardous process that requires a lot of skills and years of experience, not to mention suitable cleaning and safety equipment.

1. Improve your street appeal

Having a clean roof can boost your curb appeal and increase the value of your home. A high-quality cleaning can remove all the moss, algae and dirt build-up, as well as any unsightly stains or marks that might be covering the roof's surface. This will improve the look of your roof and with it your entire home.

2. Get additional services

While our tradesmen are already up there cleaning your roof they can also do a thorough inspection of your tiles or shingles, report any roofing problems and conduct small or larger roof repairs, depending on the service you require. Our professionals aren't just the best roof cleaners in the area, they are also qualified in roof restoration, roof painting, roof repair and basically anything that's related to your roof. So no matter if it's pressure cleaning or fixing broken shingles, they are here to assist you in any way they can. This way you can maintain your roof tiles or shingles in good condition and extend the lifespan of your roof.

3. Stay safe

Safety should be your number one concern when working on a ladder or on top of a roof. One wrong step or move can cause you to slip and fall, which can lead to serious accidents and injuries. That’s why it’s important to use the required safety equipment, or call a roof cleaning professional if you’re not confident in your skills or experience level.

4. Save money

While some may argue that it’s more expensive to hire a roof cleaner than to rent the appropriate equipment and do the job yourself, or simply postpone or avoid this task altogether, leaving your roof to the mercy of the elements, the truth is that if you’re looking for the most cost-effective solution, hiring a professional cleaner would be the way to go. That’s because routine cleaning and maintenance help keep your roof in good shape all year long, prolonging its lifespan and saving you a lot of money on avoidable repairs down the road.

5. Best available care

When you hire a professional roof cleaner to take care of your roof cleaning needs you can expect to get the ultimate care available and achieve the best results. That's because roof cleaners have the best supplies, equipment and cleaning solution needed for each particular situation so they can take care of all your needs while preserving the structure and quality of your roofing material.

These are some of the main benefits you can expect to receive when hiring a professional roof cleaner, so before you grab that ladder and start cleaning, consider this easier and more effective alternative, so you can achieve the best results in the shortest amount of time.