Maximizing Roof Longevity: The Importance Of Roof Cleaning
The warm and humid climate in the Greater Vancouver Area provides ideal conditions for moss, mold, algae and other organics to grow on your roof. It doesn't just look bad, all that debris traps moisture and slowly rots away your shingles, shakes, or tiles. It's like having a wet sponge on the roof all the time. Moss falls into the gutters causing them to get clogged and overflow. In the summer heat, moss dries out and becomes a fire hazard. Most home insurance policies require the roof to be maintained. Mold and algae causes dark stains on the roof, it is acidic and feeds on the tar in the shingles causing them to become brittle. Neglecting regular roof cleaning can result in leaks, expensive repairs, and shortens the lifespan of the roof. The Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association (ARMA) recommends soft wash roof cleaning.
What Is Soft Washing?
Soft washing is the safest and most effective way to clean most surfaces. Unlike power washing which uses high pressure water to blast away dirt, soft washing does not use any pressure and is gentle on surfaces. Using high pressure to clean a roof will cause irreparable damage. Soft washing can be compared to doing laundry, environmentally safe chemicals are used to gently dissolve away dirt, moss, mold and any other organic materials. The chemicals we use are safe and very effective, it is the same stuff that is used in water treatment centers and in swimming pools. The Soft wash solution completely evaporates after about an hour and does not leave any residue. We use the same solution to wash the siding and home exteriors. Any type of roof can be cleaned with soft washing including:
Our Roof Cleaning Process
#1 Remove Moss And Debris
First we prepare the roof by gently scrubbing and removing the moss and debris from the roof and inside the gutters. We are usually able to remove about 90% of the moss that is stuck to the roof manually. It is not recommended to apply too much abrasive force onto the roof that is why some contaminants will usually remain after this step.
#2 Apply Cleaning Solution
In the next stage of the process we apply a soft wash solution to the roof using a low pressure spraying system that is mounted to our truck. We use about 70 gallons of cleaning chemicals on an average size home. The cleaning solution dissolves away any remaining organic material and loosens the remaining moss from the roof. The solution also penetrates into all the the cracks and crevices of the roof and kills moss and mold ono contact. Any dark mold stains begin to disappear instantly. After about an hour the soft wash solution completely evaporates away without any residue.
After Applying Cleaning Chemicals
Whatever small amount of moss that remains after the process will dry out and flake away in a few weeks. Best results are achieved after a few strong rainfalls which helps rinse away any remaining dirt and staining from the roof. The original color usually gets completely restored after a few weeks, this varies depending on the condition of the roof.
Why Do We Need to Use Chemicals?
After a professional cleaning the roof will remain contaminant free for several years because the chemicals we use penetrate deep and kill the moss and mold spores preventing anything from growing again. This is why we choose soft washing to clean roofs, abrasive methods or pressure washing can damage the roof and it does not remove the contaminants completely therefore problem will return in a few months. We recommend homeowners in the Greater Vancouver Area should clean their roof every 3-5 years or at the first sign of any moss or other organic growth.
Benefits of Regular Roof Cleaning
Many homeowners are not aware of roof cleaning and think the roof needs to be replaced when it becomes dirty. Using modern techniques it is possible to safely and effectively remove moss, dark mold stains, and other organics from a roof and keep them from growing back for years. We can clean and restore the roof to like-new condition for a fraction of the cost of replacing it. Although professional roof cleaning is not a cheap service due to the cost of the materials, equipment, and skilled labour required. The cost of having a dirty roof is much greater.
- Improve curb appeal of your home: A clean roof will make your home look more attractive. Even if the rest of your home is well-maintained a dirty roof can give the impression that you don't take care of your home. This can be especially important if you're trying to sell your home, as a dirty roof can turn off potential buyers.
- Extend the lifespan of your roof: A dirty roof can lead to structural damage if left unchecked. Algae, mold, and moss can cause rot and water infiltration. These problems can be expensive to fix, and will shorten the lifespan of the roof.
- Reduce the need for gutter cleaning: Moss from the roof tends to fall off in clumps and end up in the gutters. Even if the home has gutter guards installed, moss can still grow inside the gutter. This will eventually clog the downspout, causing water to spill over the side of the home and potentially into the attic. In British Columbia, it is essential to clean the gutters before winter because moss and other debris will freeze, causing a blockage (which we like to call a "gutter popsicle").
- Increase the energy efficiency of your home: A dirty roof will absorb more heat from the sun, in this summer more energy is required to cool it down. Cleaning your roof will help improve your home's energy efficiency and lower your energy bills.
- Improve air quality of your property: Mold and other contaminants that grow on a dirty roof can cause air quality issues as the spores get blown around in the wind. Cleaning your roof can help to improve the air quality of your home.
- Protect your investment: A roof is a large investment. In British Columbia, a roof replacement on an average-sized home can cost anywhere from $15,000 to $40,000 for just a basic roof. By cleaning your roof, you can ensure that it stays in good condition and continues to perform at its best. Removing contaminants such as moss and algae from the roof will significantly increase its lifespan and reduce the average cost of ownership.
- Reduce fire hazard: Dry moss, leaves, and other debris that accumulate on your roof and inside your gutters can be flammable. This is especially true during warm summer weather when it only takes a small ignition source such as a spark from the grill to cause a house fire. This is why most home insurance companies in British Colombia require the roof to be cleaned regularly and may cancel the insurance policy for non compliance.
- Save the environment Replacing a roof can produce a significant amount of waste, including old roofing materials, nails, and other debris that end up in the landfill. Cleaning your roof regularly extends its lifespan and helps keeps those materials out of the dump
Why Hire a Professional to Clean Your Roof?
While it may seem like a cost-effective solution to clean your own roof, it's just a bad idea for several reasons. Hiring a professional cleaning company can ensure that the job is done safely and effectively, saving you time and money in the long run.
- Safety: Any kind of roof work can be dangerous especially if you are not used to working at heights. A professional will have the proper safety equipment such as a harness and fall arrest system to prevent a fall. Ladder guards are used to prevent gutters from getting crushed or the ladder tipping over leaving the homeowner stranded on the roof possibly crushing other property below such as a car. Chemical respirators and specialized spraying equipment is required distribute the cleaning solution safely and quickly.
- Cost: Professional cleaning companies purchase concentrated chemicals in bulk and get them at a better price than a homeowner can. An average home requires about 70 gallons of soft wash solution to clean the roof effectively, this can cost a homeowner several hundred dollars alone.
- Damage: A professional has the experience to clean the roof without causing accidental damage which can lead to costly repairs.
- Time: Cleaning a roof can be a time consuming process especially if you have no experience doing it. Without proper equipment it can take a whole day, a professional will get the job done efficiently.
- Results: A skilled professional will give you better and longer lasting results. If the moss and other contaminants are not completely killed during the cleaning process it will return in a few months.
- Other services: Roof cleaning is just one aspect of home maintenance. Most exterior cleaning companies will offer you a package deal on a full exterior home maintenance so that you can get the house washed, concrete pressure washed, and windows cleaned in the same day.