What Is Roof Cleaning?
What does it mean when people are getting their roofs cleaned or washed?
The terms are interchangeable much like pressure washing and power washing. There isn’t much of a difference in the meaning. The more appropriate term would be roof washing as the process leans more toward washing.
A big misconception about roof cleaning is it’s a simple sweeping off of leaves and debris from the roof. This is why we prefer to use the term roof washing.
Roof cleaning is a bit more than sweeping off leaves from a roof.
Roof cleaning is now an approved method by ARMA (Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association). Also approved by other roofing manufacturers brands such as GAF and Owens Corning.
It is an effective and safe method for treating many forms of organic growth. These organic growths develop communities of bacteria / funguses that cover the roof’s surfaces.
Over time the growth causes damage to a roof and lessens the roof’s lifespan. You’ll begin to notice rotting of the wood and discoloration of the roof’s surface.
Not to mention, the roof itself will look quite old and disheveled.
There can also be health complications for people who are allergic or have a weak immune system.
With roof cleaning, we are able to fix the issue at the core level and kill these organic matters such as:
- Plants such as Moss
- Funguses such as Lichen.
- Bacteria such as Algae
Here are some Photos Of Each:
Moss Growing On Roofs
Lichen Growing On Roofs
Blue Green Algae Also Known As Gloeocapsa Magma On Roofs
With a basic understanding, you now must know that there is a right and a wrong way to go about cleaning a roof. It’s best to address them so you can make the most educated and informed decisions.
Benefit Of What Roof Washing Can Do For Your Home
The results of a proper roof are:
- Full elimination of bacteria, plants, and fungus growing on your roof.
- It is treating the root cause and to help your roof last much longer adding an instant 3-5 years of life to your roof.
- It stunts and retards any further growth from happening on the surfaces of your roof.
- Saves you 10k-20k on a new roof. And also saving thousands of dollars on repairing rotting wood and roof replacement.
- Restores and increases the curb appeal of your home within a day. Curb appeal on a roof increases by 40%.
- Reduces risks of health complications to you and your family.
- Prevents denial of your insurance claim for your roof.
How Does A Roof Wash Work? And Is It Safe?
How roof washing works is it uses a proper solution to treat the bacteria and funguses on the surfaces at the core.
This means the solution eliminates all organic matter down to the microscopic level. It does this by using a mixture of detergents, soaps, and chemicals as the treatment. It’s what professionals call a soft washing method that’s also used for washing siding on a house.
With soft washing, we use certain equipment that allows us to apply the mixture in a soft and gentle manner. This makes washing a roof and any surface a much safer and less aggressive method.
Before soft washing, people would use a pressure washer to clean all and any surfaces. Can you imagine standing on a roof and blasting 4,000 psi at shingles, metal, or tile surfaces? it’s a recipe for damage with a whole lot of debris flying everywhere.
Using pressure to clean a roof will peel off stains and layers that make up the integrity of the roof. Your roof’s membrane will be exposed to the elements. Depending on the weather condition, it can melt, tear, or soften the roof’s core material.
Also, pressure washing does not fix the problem at the core. It may remove the top layer, but underneath the shingles live the spores. The spores are the DNA blocks that cause bacteria and funguses to grow, and they will grow again fast!
The key feature of soft washing a roof is stunting any future organic growth from occurring. We estimate that it would take at least 3-5 years until the organic begins growing again. From there we only need to retreat and help the roof last even longer.
Results from soft washing compared to pressure washing:
- Roofs that have been soft-washed will not witness any regrowth for 3-5 years.
- Roofs that have been pressure-washed will not witness regrowth for 3-6 months.
What Are The Ingredients Used To Perform A Roof Soft Washing?
We want to make sure this point gets clear. Roof washing uses a mixture of Detergent, Soaps, and Chemicals to treat a roof.
The word that strikes fear in property owners the most is the word “Chemicals”!
The word jumps out with an instant negative connotation.
We at Full Color, want to be 100% transparent with our audience, clients, and future clients. We seek to dissolve the fear to help you make informed and well-educated decisions.
Fear is only from the unknown. To make it known and banish away your fears, here are the ingredients approved by ARMA for roof washing:
- Sodium Hypochlorite (also known as bleach)
- Sodium Per Carbonate & Oxalic Acid (oxygen bleach & brightener for wooden roofs)
- Fresh Water
- Special Roof Detergent that prevents the solution from drying out too fast
Hold UP! Did we say bleach!?
Most homeowners would say, “Oh! no, no, no, you are not going to use bleach on my roof!”
Our answer is,
“Well, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, do you want a clean roof and not get slapped with a cancellation on your homeowner’s insurance?”
If your answer is, “Yes!”
Then we will have to do it this way.
we have to if you want your roof to last longer, and prevent any further headaches and stress down the line.
Everyone needs to understand that bleach isn’t something to be afraid of. When it’s handled with care by a knowledgeable professional you get fantastic results.
The fear most homeowners have is then no longer what method or material will clean the roof. It becomes a question of who and which company should clean my roof.
What Can Go Wrong With A Roof Wash
Roof washing is a safe method if done so by trained professionals. There is a lot of care that’s taken place to perform a roof wash.
But what can happen during a roof wash that you should look out for?
Roof washing can damage:
- Landscaping and vegetation: The bleach from roofs can cause overspray. The overspray contains bleach and can burn plants, flowers, grass, and anything organic. The overspray can also kill all vegetation, especially succulent plants.
- Exposed Wooden Decks: Bleach can cause stripping off of stains on wooden decks. Bleach also weakens the wood on your wooden deck.
- Outdoor Furniture: Although most outdoor furniture is bleach resistant, there may be discoloration. This is only if the solution touches it.
- Galvalume Metal Roofs: Pure Galvalume roofs can change color from silver to all-black. This is a rare scenario when a solution is too strong or there was a failure to keep the metal cool during cleaning.
- Lack Of Safety: Safety is a priority when it comes to working on heights. Falling off a roof with injuries set a whole set of problems with medical and lawsuit bills.
- Solar Panels: The chemical reaction that a roof solution has on the solar panels’ glass causes severe damage and etching. It will reduce the effectiveness of your solar panels and void the warranty. Check out this article on whether should you clean a roof with solar panels installed.
Knowing what can go wrong will help you ask the right questions to make sure your provider will go to great lengths to keep your property safe.
Who Should Clean Your Roof?
We now circle back to the question.
Who and which company should clean my roof?
We have no right to tell you who you should and shouldn’t work with. But we can help guide you to make sure your roof-washing experience is a pleasant and easy one.
- A reputable company with honest reviews
- Referrals and recommendations from friends and neighbors
- The company looks orderly and professional
- They have a description of how the roof will get treated
- They help set the proper expectation and not misguide you
- They have a property + plant protection program that they can walk you through
- Proof of general liability insurance of at least $ 2 million coverage and worker’s comp
- A final assessment of the roof with photos and what to expect after the job
What Are The Risks Of Not Maintaining Your Roof?
As with anything in life, you won’t notice the side effects until it becomes a giant knocking at your door.
An unclean roof is comparable to that an unhealthy diet.
We like to quote the saying, “It’s death by a thousand cuts.” You won’t notice right away, but when you do, it will be a sinking feeling in your stomach and a frustrating time.
But, luckily you’re here and reading this article before it even gets to that point.
Or if you’ve already gone through all the frustration, you can prevent it in the future.
What Can Happen If You Don’t Take Care Of Your Roof?
1.) Insurance Claim Denial And Cancellation
A big issue recently with having a dirty roof is the cancellation of homeowner insurance.
Yes, you heard that right.
If you’re planning on going through the insurance claim to get a new roof or repairs done, it can backfire on you.
Take a look at this video here:
Those dark stains and green patches growing on your roof can cause you to lose 10’s of thousands on a new roof.
Some of us may or may not have that kind of money laying around.
But even if we did, we’d rather spend it on something else.
Here’s another article and video of homeowners going through the same cancellation. Insurance companies are refusing and denying insurance claims for roofs that are dirty.
2.) Rotting Of Wood, Water Damage, And Decrease Life Span Of Your Roof
The materials that make up most roofs attract various types of organisms.
Up in the Pacific Northwest and West Side, you get a lot of moss, algae, and lichen buildup. Up in those areas, the weather and condition make it perfect for the organic build-up to form.
Certain plant organic buildup on the roof causes the roots to dig their way into the roof. As they grow, they keep moisture trapped underneath and cause water damage to the roof. Over time the roof begins to rot from within as its wooden frame softens up.
Left untreated these roofs can collapse. Filing for an insurance claim would be very difficult by then.
What about here in the south? What about the roofs here in Austin TX?
It shouldn’t be as bad as the pacific northwest right?
Austin, TX gets a lot of heat and it gets humid here as well making it the perfect condition for organic growth.
The bacteria we get growing on roofs are blue-green algae, also known as Goeoclspsa Magma. It belongs to the cyanobacteria family which are toxins.
We also get a lot of Lichens that grow on roofs. Lichens hold moisture and over time speed up the wear and tear on the roof. So instead of your roof lasting, you find that you’ll need to replace your roof sooner.
the added fact is that 70-85% of homes in Austin TX have shingle roofs, these bacteria grow and spread like weeds.
The materials in shingle roofs are cardboard, fiberglass, and limestone. This is delicious food for algae, lichen, and moss. As a result, the weather condition + the materials in the roof will cause extreme growth to take place.
If left untreated your roof gets damaged and gets eaten away. As the roof gets left untreated, the organic growth will cause water damage and rot the wood in your roof.
Having these stains and damages will cause your insurance claim to get rejected. Many insurance companies now are requiring homeowners to maintain their roofs. Failure to do so will result in the cancellation of your homeowner’s insurance.
3.) Toxins Causes Irritation, Allergic Reactions, And Adverse Effects On The Liver And Lungs
Everyone is different and some of us may be allergic to the bacteria that grow on the roof. The Goeoclspsa Magma is a form of algae that’s airborne. Its spores in the spring and winter time can be toxic. When inhaled or injested it can cause irritation and allergic reactions.
The worst case is a roof that is heavy in growth and damaging the internal structure of the roof. The roof will most likely suffer water damage, and where there is water damage, you have a high chance of mold.
Mold can have serious health affect on you, your family, and your pets. It makes your home unsafe and can cause serious health issues.
Now that you understand the importance of roof washing, what will you do about it?
If we’ve read your mind, you’re wanting to know how much it will cost to wash a roof.
If you’re in Austin TX you’d want to know exactly how much it costs to wash your roof! give our team a call and we’ll get you an estimate fast!
Homeowners understand that:
- house needs to be washed
- gutters need to be cleaned out
- windows need to be cleaned inside and out
- driveways need to be pressure washed
But what most don’t understand is, the roof is as important if not more than any other part of their home.
The roof is the first line of defense against the elements, but also the one that’s often neglected the most.
Roof washing is a preventative protocol you can take advantage of as it will save you in the long run.
Nothing is worse than dealing with an issue that’s swept under the rug. Fixing the issue at the core is vital for a safe, healthy, and happy home/property.
If you have any questions, feel free to shoot a message to our team here at Full Color Cleaners. We’re always happy to help even if you’re not in Austin TX!
We hope this article has shed some light. The important thing is it helps you understand more about property maintenance. In the long run, you’ll be a much happier property owner who will get more out of your property and money.
Until next time!