Houston is notorious for its heat, humidity, and hurricane season, and Houston homeowners know all too well how much damage these three weather events can create in and around the house. Special weather conditions call for special home maintenance, and your roof is not excluded from that list. But for most homeowners, remembering the last time they thought about roof maintenance would probably be a fruitless effort.
If you’re with the majority and can’t remember the last time you cleaned your roof or find yourself thinking “Roof cleaning, what?! Should you clean your roof every year? Two years? How often is enough, and why did nobody teach me this?!”, keep reading to learn about protecting your home ahead of the summer season.
Is Roof Cleaning Necessary?
The short answer, YES!
Your home is likely the largest financial investment you’ve ever made and the one you’re most concerned with protecting. The cost of regular roof maintenance is significantly lower than the cost of replacement—to the tune of about $8,000 on average—so maintaining your roof is just good business sense when it comes down to it.
Why Should I Clean My Roof?
Algae, moss, and lichens can trap moisture on your roof or even root down through the shingles in search of nutrients, causing expensive damage in addition to the unsightly black streaks and stains they leave behind. Avoiding wood rot should be your main concern here, as excess moisture in your roof structure could cause a dangerous mold outbreak in your attic or ceiling.
Increased Weather Resistance
Lowering the risk of damaging your roof from moisture accumulation has twofold benefits. By avoiding moisture damage that can weaken your roof, your roof will maintain its weather resistance for longer since there is less likelihood of a roof leak or similar issues.
Maintaining your roof can help extend its lifespan by preventing more serious repair work from being required but also because you’re becoming more educated about your roof through the process. And the more educated a homeowner can be about their property, the more money they’re likely to save in the long run.
How Often Should You Clean Your Roof?
How often you need to clean your roof depends on the materials used to build it and the condition that it’s currently in, but it’s good practice to routine gutter cleaning and shingle repair once a year.
For more labor intensive maintenance, concrete tiles will need more frequent cleanings as they take longer to dry and in turn are more susceptible to moisture damage. Concrete tiles should be cleaned once every two to three years. Asphalt shingles, though more delicate than concrete, should be cleaned roughly once every seven years since they are thinner and dry more quickly.
It is incredibly important to be careful during this cleaning process because high-pressure cleanings could strip the shingles of their gravelly surface and leave your asphalt roof more susceptible to heat, water, and wind damage. And those are all weather phenomena that we Greater Houstonians know all too well the importance of avoiding.
Does Cleaning Your Roof Damage It?
Although maintaining your roof through regular cleanings is important, how you clean the roof also matters—especially if you don’t want to shell out the big bucks for costly repairs, or worse a full roof replacement. These are the top three issues that arise when an amateur tries to clean their own roof without the proper knowledge or tools:
Lost Shingle Granules
Shingle granules protect asphalt shingles from sunlight and other elements, helping extend the life of your roof. Treating the roof too roughly during cleaning could dislodge the granules, especially with stiff-bristled brushes or scrubbers. Never use common household items to clean your roof.
Pressure Washer Damage
Roofs are surprisingly delicate considering the function they provide, so using standard pressure washers on your roof is ill-advised. Specialty roof cleaning tools are required for this sort of project to avoid surface damage and water damage from a pressure washer.
Tricky Roof Warranties
Washing the roof with something as harsh as a pressure washer can sometimes void the warranty on your roof, making potential future roof damage much more expensive. To avoid this case, some roof warranties require professional cleanings, so be sure to check your roof warranty or homeowner’s insurance!
What Should I Use to Clean My Roof?
From a cursory internet search, you might be convinced that all you’ll need to clean your roof is a gallon of household bleach, a hose to spray the roof down with water, and a ladder to climb up, but you’d be setting yourself up for disaster.
Although bleach can kill surface algae, it does nothing for the growth on your roof below the shingles’ surface. Bleach can also harm vegetation and pets if it gets into the yard. Sodium hydroxide products, or lye, are more effective and less harmful to vegetation than bleach, but they’re highly corrosive, which means whoever is cleaning would need to wear full-body protective gear. So lye is out of the question as well.
The best choice is a high-grade biodegradable cleaning solution that does not contain toxic chemicals such as chlorine-bleach, phosphates, or other chemicals that can kill vegetation and pollute waterways.
Our Pros Know More Than Just Paint—Pro Painters
When it comes to maintaining your home’s roofing structure, your best bet is to choose a team of professionals from an experienced roof cleaning company to ensure the safety of your home, its contents, and yourself. With over twenty years of experience, Pro Painters are your trusted roof cleaning contractors in and around the Houston area.
If you’re noticing dark, streaky stains on your roof, just realizing it’s time for your regular preventative maintenance, or just wondering should you clean your roof or have a professional come out and take a look, contact the Pro Painters team today for a free quote!