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Does Regular Roof Cleaning and Power Washing Damage a Home?

August 8, 2020

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Regular roof cleaning offers a homeowner many benefits, including a more attractive home exterior. Roof power washing kills growing moss, mold, algae, and mildew, while removing storm debris, bird’s nests, sap, soot, and other harmful residues. However, some homeowners still might wonder if roof washing and other pressure washing services damage a home, if they can manage this work themselves, and how to keep a home’s exterior clean without the risks.

Improper roof washing methods might damage shingles, tiles, flashing, and other materials, even chipping brick chimney stacks and roof vents. However, professional roof cleaning and especially soft wash systems actually protect materials and surfaces from damage caused by storm debris and pollution while restoring a roof’s appearance.

Every homeowner would do well to consider the benefits of regular roof washing as well as pressure washing services for their property, while also noting a few precautions about improper cleaning methods. You might then discuss your questions with a pressure washing company near you, and know that your home is clean and pristine and protected from the elements.

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Why Your Home Needs Regular Roof Cleaning

Before you dismiss the need for roof washing or put it off for another year, note some reasons why every home needs this service on a regular basis.

  • Soot, dried dust, and acid rain residues dry out shingles and tiles, making them brittle and more likely to split and crack over the years. Never assume that rain and snow are sufficient for washing away these residues but rely on regular roof washing instead.
  • Storm residues including fallen twigs and leaves as well as sap and moss from overhead branches might work their way behind and between shingles and tiles, loosening their connectors. In turn, those shingles and tiles are often more likely to blow away during a storm or gust of wind.
  • Homeowners often fail to realize damage caused by birds and squirrels on a roof! Sharp claws tear away at shingle and tile surfaces, weakening those materials. Removing nests and food stores with roof washing discourages these pests away from your home.
  • Bird and animal droppings are also caustic and damaging to roofing tiles and shingles. Droppings and nests are also very unsightly and create a rundown look along your entire property.
  • Storm debris, bird’s nests and droppings, and other residues on a roof also tend to make their way to a home’s gutters, increasing the risk of clogs. Gutters direct rainwater away from a home’s exterior walls and foundation; clogged gutters increase the risk of water damage, mold and mildew growth, and unsightly water stains.
  • Mold and mildew tend to grow along roof edges and eaves, where water collects. These residues create a very unhealthy outdoor environment, even producing lingering smells that make it difficult to enjoy your home’s deck or patio!
  • Mold, mildew, moss, and algae especially damage roofing tiles and shingles, growing between them and loosening them from the roof decking. Algae even eats away at asphalt shingles, so they’re likely to crumble and fall away sooner rather than later. 
  • Mold, mildew, moss, and algae also create a rundown, dirty look outside your home, detracting from your lawn and landscaping features. In some cases, these residues and other unsightly mud and dirt along exterior walls and roof materials can affect your home’s overall value!
  • Thick soot, dirt, and other grime might cover roof shingles and other materials needing repairs. Homeowners and even roof inspection contractors might overlook dented or torn shingles, damaged flashing or its adhesion, and other roofing issues, increasing the risk of interior water damage and costlier repair bills down the road.

How Often Should You Schedule Roof Washing?

Most homeowners find that roof washing every other year is an excellent choice for ensuring their home’s roof is clean and pristine and protected from damage. Note that this includes new roofs, as dirt and storm debris don’t discriminate according to a roof’s age! It’s also beneficial to consider roof pressure washing after a particularly strong storm has passed through the area, and especially if you can readily see storm debris on your home’s roof.

Consider your local area when deciding a good roof cleaning schedule as well. Nearby highways, marinas, airports, and other such structures often mean more soot and air pollution ending up on a home’s roof and the need for more consistent cleaning. Tropical areas or those prone to high humidity levels might also see more mold, mildew, moss, and algae developing on the roof and exterior walls throughout the year.

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Branches hanging your home’s roof tend to drop lots of debris, as said. If you don’t want to trim those branches or relocate the tree, consider more consistent pressure washing services. Mature trees in your neighborhood, even if they’re not in your yard, also result in added debris on the roof and the need for pressure washing services more often than average.

Other Pressure Washing Services and Their Benefits!

Every home needs regular roof washing services no matter your location, the home’s age, and average weather conditions. However, you might note some other pressure washing services available and how they also help keep your property clean and in good condition.

  • Dirt, mud, grass clippings, and other debris aren’t just unsightly; these residues hold damaging moisture, lawn care chemicals, and other materials against a home’s exterior walls. Grass clippings can also leave behind ugly stains! Regular exterior house washing removes that debris, protecting your home’s condition and appearance.
  • Professional gutter cleaning washes away thick dirt, mud, storm residues, and other materials, reducing the risk of clogged gutters. Standing water and other debris in gutters also lead to mold and algae growth along windows and attract bothersome insects. Avoid these risks and keep gutters clear with regular gutter pressure washing!
  • Dirt, sand, silt, and other debris etch concrete and asphalt, while motor oil, fertilizers and lawn care chemicals, and other materials are especially abrasive and corrosive to these surfaces. A standard garden hose is typically insufficient for cleaning those materials while regular concrete pressure washing removes even the most ground-in debris and residues, protecting concrete and asphalt surfaces.
  • Pool decks are especially prone to damage, as evaporating pool water carries chlorine and other such chemicals that then settle on the surrounding deck. As with driveways and walkways, spraying down the deck with a hose is not sufficient for ensuring the space is clean and protected.
  • Washing patio pavers and stones and wood decks and fences is especially difficult, as it’s easy to dislodge stones or chip and etch wood building materials. Soft wash systems ensure a proper, thorough clean of all those surfaces, removing thick layers of dirt and mold without damage.
  • Professional window washing cleans away damaging layers of sand, silt, storm residues, acid rain, and other substances, protecting glass from damage and creating a better view both inside and outside the home.

Is DIY Roof Cleaning Manageable?

Before you decide to avoid roof cleaning costs by trying to DIY this work yourself, you might note some precautions and reasons to rely on a pro instead. Your safety is one such precaution, and the most important as well! Roofers, power washers, and other such contractors go through rigorous training and typically take lots of precautions to ensure their safety even when on the ground, as power washing equipment is cumbersome and dangerous in inexperienced hands.

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Homeowners also might assume that thick dirt and grime as well as mold, algae, and other materials stuck between shingles and tiles need more pressure for effective cleaning. However, more pressure often means more risk of damaging those shingles and tiles! Applying soft wash surfactants, designed to dissolve thick dirt and grime, and using low pressure rinsing ensures a thorough, safe clean.

Investing in professional roof washing costs also means a thorough clean of the roof surface as well as its eaves and overhangs, trenches, areas around the chimney stack and roof vent, and other such places. Rather than risk a poor-quality cleaning that overlooks built-up grime and dirt in various spots, call on the pros for full-scale roof washing you can trust.

Related Questions

How much should roof cleaning cost?

Most power washing contractors charge by the square foot and some add charges for an especially filthy roof, for a sloped or steep roof with lots of obstructions, and so on. On average, a homeowner might expect to pay around $150 to $400 for a thorough, standard roof cleaning.

Why would an older roof need cleaning more consistently than one in good condition?

While storm debris and acid rain residues don’t discriminate according to a roof’s age, note that an older roof might suffer with more cracked or split shingles, torn flashing, and the like, and these damaged areas might hold more dirt and debris. Since roof cleaning also tends to reveal areas of needed repairs, you might consider more consistent power washing services so you or a roofing contractor can perform a thorough inspection and know when it’s time for new shingles and other fixes.

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