If your shingle roof has started showing signs of mold and discoloration, it’s high time for a robust cleaning session. But how exactly do you clean your roof without damaging any of its components?
We’ll provide a detailed guide in this article. So read on to discover how to clean roof shingles properly and safely.
Cleaning Roof Shingles: A Step-by-Step Guide
When it comes to cleaning roof shingles, remember power washers are an absolute no-go. That’s because power washers can damage the integrity of your roof, knocking shingles from the place and moving the screws holding them.
Therefore, you’ll mainly be using chemicals to clean your roof.
Step 1: Ensure the Safety of Your Plants
Before you start cleaning anything, you should soak all your plants and greenery in water. By doing so, you’ll prevent the plants from absorbing any harsh chemicals coming off the roof.
Use plastic tarps and cover as much of the surrounding vegetation as possible. And clean your gutters; make sure they’re not emptying directly on top of vegetation.
Step 2: Choose Your Chemical of Choice
Many different chemicals are available to clean roof shingles. However, the three most commonly used are:
- Muriatic Acid
But which cleaning solution should you pick? Here’s the indication for each one:
A 1:1 mixture of vinegar and water is the cheapest and safest way to clean roof shingles. It is safe to use on shingles and shingle glue and won’t damage any greenery if it contacts it.
However, it’s not strong enough to remove all moss and mildew. At the most, it’ll remove dirt and keep your roof looking clean.
Bleach is the cleaner of choice for roofs in need of thorough cleaning.
It can remove moss, algae, and other stains quickly. Typically, a 3:1 ratio of bleach and water is used for the job. However, higher and lower concentrations can be used depending on the type of algae and stains.
But unlike vinegar, bleach is potentially toxic for both plants and humans. When handling it, you must always follow the proper safety procedures, such as ensuring adequate ventilation and wearing gloves, goggles, long sleeves, etc.
Note: Household bleach is sold at 5%-9% concentrations to the general public. This is usually strong enough to kill most moss and algae. However, professionals can sometimes use higher concentrations for more effective cleaning solutions.
Muriatic acid is the strongest chemical you can use to clean your roof, even to the point of removing mortar and persistent stains. However, as strong as it is, it’s highly toxic to the eyes, skin, and plants. As such, muriatic acid is best left in the hands of professionals.
Step 3: Apply the Cleaner
First off, you should wet your roof with water to prevent the cleaner from drying it out. Then, place your cleaner of choice in a garden sprayer, and start spritzing your roof.
Work your way from top to bottom, applying as even a coat as possible. If the cleaner is too runny, mix in ¼ cup dish soap to increase the viscosity and duration of action.
Let the mixture sit for 15-20 minutes and evaluate its effects.
Tip: Don’t clean your roof on a hot, sunny day. The chemicals will quickly evaporate, preventing them from effectively killing the algae and moss.
Step 4: Go Over Any Problem Areas
In certain areas, you may notice that the mildew and algae haven’t turned white or disappeared.
In such a case, you’ll need to double-treat those spots. Start by respraying them with the original cleaning mixture. If this doesn’t work, use higher concentrations until the moss turns white.
Step 5: Rinse the Roof and Plants
Once the shingles are squeaky clean, use a garden hose and start rinsing your roof and any vegetation possibly implicated in the process.
Step 6: Reevaluate
After a week or so, check if your roof shingles need a second cleaning session. If your roof still isn’t clean after a second bout, it is highly recommended to call the professionals and have them look.
Roof maintenance, including shingle cleaning, is essential to prolong your roof’s life. However, the process can be arduous, especially if you need to do it frequently.
Thankfully, we at Viking Contractors can take the weight off your shoulders. Not only do we offer cleaning services, but we also offer roof repairs, installations, and free roof inspections.
Give us a call, and we guarantee your roof will be in good hands.