Roof Cleaning Methods: Four Options for Removing Ugly Roof Stains
- by Karl
If you have been researching roof cleaning methods on the internet, you have likely encountered claims, counter-claims and outright confusing and conflicting information among the different camps.
This article will provide clarification regarding the four main methods most widely available to consumers for removing ugly roof stains caused by algae, lichens and moss.
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Method #1 Eco-Friendly, Low Pressure
Companies that use this method use products that do not contain toxic chemicals such as chlorine-bleach, phosphates or other chemicals that can kill vegetation and pollute waterways. This method also uses a low-pressure rinsing system that is safe for asphalt and fiberglass shingles.
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Pros: Typically, the results with this method are instant and the stains are completely gone before the contractor leaves your house. Skilled technicians using eco-friendly roof cleaning products will get on your roof, inspect it, and do the job using high quality, eco-safe products and state-of-the-art equipment which really clean your roof. Professionals who use this method thoroughly clean your roof while preserving the integrity of your shingles and your landscaping.
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Cons: This method may cost a bit more due to the cost of the high quality eco-friendly products and equipment and the extra time the contractor spends at your house ensuring no roots or stains are left behind.
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Tip: When hiring a contractor who uses this method, pick one who guarantees that the roof stains will be completely gone before they leave your house. Also, look for a company who offers an annual roof stain prevention program.
Method #2 Chlorine-Bleach Mixtures
Contractors who use Sodium Hypochlorite (chlorine-bleach) mix it in relatively high concentrations with other chemicals such as Trisodium Phosphate, also known as TSP. They spray it on your roof and wait for it to dry. They re-apply the mixture several times until the stains start to diminish. Typically there is no rinsing. The stains that don’t come off may (or may not) eventually come off with the rain.
Pros: Bleach cleaning often costs less because the chemicals are inexpensive and the roof usually isn’t rinsed after the application.
Cons: The final results typically are not instant. In addition, a chlorine-bleach solution has the potential to pose harm to people and pets. Also, it is a powerful oxidizing agent capable of breaking up most protein structures, including the plant cuticles of the vegetation in the landscaping surrounding most homes. The effects of such a mixture on your landscaping can cause permanent damage to your plants, trees, grass, and shrubs. Bleach and phosphates can leach into waterways in watershed areas.
Tip: Contractors who use chlorine-bleach usually don’t advertise that they use it and often the only way to know is to ask them directly. If you’re still not sure, ask the following question: “How will you protect my plants while cleaning my roof?” Any answer other than “we don’t need to protect your plants because our product does not harm plants” indicates that a harmful chemical is being used. If the answer is something like “we wet down your plants before, during, and after our treatment to protect them” or “we use of a runoff recovery system” or “your plants will be covered during the cleaning process,” these are clear indicators that a harsh chemical is being used.
Method #3 ‘Splash and Dash’
Some contractors spray a chemical on your roof and tell you to wait for weeks or months to see the results. Products which do not require rinsing, but depend on the rain to wash away the roof staining organisms are designed so that the contractor does not have to get on a wet roof or use special equipment to rinse the roof.
Pros: Less expensive than some other methods.
Cons: These products often take repeated applications to achieve even marginal results.
Tip: Some contractors will use a consumer grade product and charge you professional rates for it. You can buy these products yourself at the big box stores. They won’t work any better for you either, but at least you won’t be paying the middle man.
Method #4 High Pressure Power Washing
Some roof cleaners use high pressure power washing in an attempt to remove roof stains.
Pros: Can’t think of any.
Cons: Not only is this damaging to your shingles, but it’s also not an effective way to remove organisms that cause roof stains. Using high pressure to power wash shingles leaves root systems behind, so the algae will often return rather quickly.
Tip: If you’re not sure if the contractor will be using damaging high pressure, ask him to hold his hand under the spray. If he can’t do that, then the pressure is too high and can damage your shingles. Also, if he tells you he doesn’t use any chemicals, just water, that’s a clear sign a high pressure is likely being used. After all, if you could remove the stains with just water and low pressure, then rain alone would do the trick.
Now that you know the pros and cons of the four main roof cleaning methods, you are well-prepared to ask the right questions to make an informed decision. Not only will removing those ugly roof stains greatly improve your home’s curb appeal, but a clean roof is an energy efficient roof and one that should last for years to come.
The Roof Moss Cleaners Ltd
78 St Margarets,Grove Great Kingshill High Wycombe
Buckinghamshire HP15 6HP
If you have been researching roof cleaning methods on the internet, you have likely encountered claims, counter-claims and outright confusing and conflicting information among the different camps. This article will provide clarification regarding the four main methods most widely available to consumers for removing ugly roof stains caused by algae, lichens and moss. Looking for…
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