Is DIY Roof Cleaning a Good Idea?

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by Kyle Ray

The roof of your home plays a vital role in protecting the space from changing climate conditions. When it’s raining, or the wind is blowing, the roof helps to prevent moisture and outdoor air from seeping into your living space. The roof also impacts the overall appearance of your home. If it looks worn out or not maintained, a house might look like it’s not cared for properly. Keeping the roof clean is an essential maintenance task that comes with homeownership. But if you’re wondering whether DIY roof cleaning is a good idea, find out by reading further. 

The Importance of a Clean Roof

Over time, various contaminants can accumulate on your roofing materials. Dirt is one of these contaminants, but rainfall is typically strong enough to wash it away. The real problems are natural elements, including lichen, moss, fungus, and algae. Lichen is a type of fungus that grows with algae, relying on the organic oil base of the shingles on the roof to live. This fungus forms root-like tentacles that penetrate the shingles, making the lichen more challenging to remove. 

Moss is a plant that has a shallow root system and requires substantial moisture to thrive. Tree branches that grow close to your roof may drop debris that moss can feed on, helping it to grow. Animals and wind can transfer moss spores from one place to another, so when one roof has moss growth, other roofs in the neighborhood will likely soon follow suit. Fungus spores can also spread through the air and need moisture and heat to grow.

Algae is a particularly problematic substance on your roof because it impacts the appearance and condition of the roofing materials. The algae that grows on limestone and asphalt roofing is called Gloeocapsa magma (often shortened to GM). It spreads quickly from roof to roof and causes dark patches to appear.

Many property owners don’t realize that they may void the warranty on their roofing materials if they don’t keep up with regular roof cleaning. The presence of specific contaminants can void a warranty and cause significant damage. Having your roof cleaned regularly can also help maintain the property’s value and extend the life span of the roofing materials. Cleaning your roof is a worthwhile maintenance task.

Should You Clean Your Roof?

When you spot signs of contaminants on your roof, it might be tempting to pull out the garden hose or pressure washer and try to remove them yourself. However, DIY roof cleaning is never a good idea. The average homeowner doesn’t spend a lot of time on a roof, and for a good reason. Climbing on a roof is dangerous, and attempting a DIY roof cleaning could result in severe injury or damage to the structure.

Another reason to leave this job to roof cleaning professionals is the risk of causing damage with the wrong cleaning methods or chemicals. A pressure washer set to a high setting could blast away your shingles, leaving behind a bare patch that will need repair. Certain chemical-based cleaning products may eat away at the materials used to construct your roof. 

If you fall from your roof while trying to clean it, you could get seriously injured. Even if you’re being as safe as possible up there, an unexpected gust of wind or faulty equipment could cause you to go toppling down. It’s not worth the risk to try a DIY roof cleaning job. Roof cleaning experts use safety equipment and undergo extensive training in the proper methods for climbing and walking around on the roof.

Even if you don’t fall from the roof, you could still get injured while trying to clean the surface. When performing the task, trained professionals know what weak spots look like and can avoid these areas. They can also watch out for signs of damage to protect themselves and your roof.

How to Remove Contaminants From the Roof

Although rainfall can wash away some of the stains on the roof, specific contaminants require more intensive cleaning methods. Hiring a professional who understands how to safely and effectively clean your roof will yield better results than tackling a DIY roof cleaning attempt at your home by yourself.The professional team at Geek Window Cleaning can perform professional roof cleaning for Austin and Houston clients who want to protect their homes from the damaging effects of algae, moss, and other natural debris. For more than a decade, we have transformed the exteriors of our clients’ homes. We can provide a free roof cleaning estimate, so contact us to request more information.