Noticing visible algae or moss on your roof shingles? Black streaks or patches of green might be among the affected areas. This problem often occurs on asphalt roof shingles, but it can happen on other types of shingles, like cedar shakes. These stains usually mean algae or moss are growing on your roof.
Cleaning your roof shingles can make your home look better for your enjoyment and improve its curb appeal if you’re planning to sell. At the same time, it may save you money because the moss and algae that cause roof stains can damage your shingles, shortening their life and exposing your home to moisture.
You may want to clean it yourself to save money or learn how to clean a roof. Follow this process to get it done safely if you're in the do-it-yourself mode. But always use these safety precautions when working on any top to prevent accidents:
Wait for Good Weather
You should clean your roof shingles on an overcast day with little wind and no threat of rain. Hot days will evaporate, cleaning liquid too quickly, leaving your roof wet. Windy days will move shingles around too much, potentially damaging them or your yard. And the rain will wash away the solution, damaging your roof and leaving it wet.
Protect the Yard
Check any gutters you have in advance. If you have plants in your yard, saturate them first with water so that the cleaning solution does not damage their cells. Experienced professional contractors know which chemicals can damage plants and how to protect them when needed.
Prep the Cleaning Solutions
Have children and animals leave the area before mixing a cleaning solution in your garden sprayer.
For fire moss, lichen, and dense algae, use 75 percent sodium hypochlorite, better known as bleach, and water; this mixture is considered a hazardous material, so keep it away from people, pets, toys, and food products.
For gloeocapsa magma, black streaking, or light black algae growths, 50 percent sodium hypochlorite and 50 percent water.
For light stains on your roof shingles, use only 25 percent sodium hypochlorite and 75 percent water; bleach at this strength is also considered hazardous material. A quarter cup of dish soap added to this mixture will make the solution stick longer to your roof shingles as you work on cleaning and rinsing the growths away.
Start at the Top and Work Downward
Coat every surface of your roof shingles evenly from the top down. Gloeocapsa magma or black streaking or light black algae growths can be wiped away using scrub brushes but require more intensive treatment for fire moss or lichen; professionals usually use power washers for those growths.
Put a Second Coat if Necessary
You don’t need very much of your solution on your roof, as long as you make sure to coat every surface. If some patches of algae or moss have not vanished or turned white after your first pass, you can apply a second coat of the solution. If that doesn't kill it, you can mix a higher concentration of chemicals and use that. Moss or algae often turns white when dead.
In the End, It’s Better to Get a Professional to Clean Roof Shingles
Although learning how to clean a roof yourself may save money in the short term, you might accidentally harm your shingles or get foreign chemicals on your plants. Damage like this can lead to leaks in your roof and can even decrease the value of your home. Walking on your roof while you clean it also carries a risk; you could slip and fall. Even if you don't slip, cleaning your roof takes time that you might be able to use elsewhere. For example, you could make house repairs, work on DIY projects around the house, or simply relax with some friends and family.
So why not free up some personal time and get a professional to clean your roof shingles? Contact Three Mountain Roofing now. We provide residential and commercial roof cleaning throughout Vermont. We also offer other roofing services, so contact us or visit our website to know more about them!