Quick Tips for Roof Stain Removal and Cleaning

Get rid of big eyesores on your roof by using these tips for roof stain removal. Make sure your roof, and house, shine all year long.

When it comes to how others view your home or business, people do judge a book by its cover. The appearance of the outside causes others to draw conclusions about what the inside is like as well. 

An untidy, grimy exterior will usually cause others to assume a cluttered and dirty interior. This can especially be an issue for homeowners looking to put their house up for sale or those looking to bring in customers. Potential home buyers or customers could get a negative impression before they ever even stepped in the door.

Roof stain removal and cleaning is one effective way to combat this. 

This is an area that is often overlooked when it comes to keeping a building's exterior sleek and clean. In fact, many are unaware of how easy it really is to keep their roof clean. 

Here's a quick guide on just that topic. 

Where Do the Stains on Your Roof Come From?

Have you ever wondered what those unsightly black streaks that form on your roof are? Knowing what they actually are is the first step in being able to effectively go about your roof stain removal process.

Some think these black streaks are simply a sign of aging shingles. Many others often refer to this ugly staining as coming from mold or mildew. Still, others will say that these come from soot deposited by your home or business' chimney.

In fact, these streaks and stains are none of the above. They actually are caused by a species of algae called gloeocapsa magma, or just blue-green algae if you prefer. 

These algae can arrive as just a few spores, but can quickly multiply. How so? If they are deposited onto a north-facing or otherwise shaded part of your roof where sunlight hits less harshly and directly and where there is more moisture, they'll have an ideal environment for multiplication. 

Over time, if left unattended to, the multiplying of this algae begins to appear as black stains or streaks running down your roof. 

Benefits of Roof Stain Removal

The fact that the black streaks and stains on your roof aren't sure signs of damage is good news. It means that this discoloration is not, in fact, a sign that your roof has disintegrated and are in need of replacement. You more likely just need to do some good chemical washing. 

This being so, the algae can end up causing damage to your roof if it is neglected. All types of roofs can be affected, including sheet metal roofs. However, for homes and businesses with asphalt shingle roofs, removal of algae build-up is especially important. Why so?

Much of what makes of the weight of asphalt shingles is limestone. This limestone has the benefits of adding weight to the shingles, as well as improving their durability and flame retardancy. The limestone also contributes to the reflective qualities of shingles as well. 

Unfortunately, the algae mentioned above happens to like consuming limestone. If left uncleaned, the algae can slowly eat away at and weaken your shingles. Over time, this could prevent a much greater problem than simply leaving unsightly black stains and streaks. 

Letting the algae multiply causes other problems as well. This specific species of algae are able to produce a dark pigment which acts to protect them from the sun. If neglected, as the algae multiply, so too will this pigment accumulate on your shingles. 

Once this pigment has accumulated, it lowers the reflective attributes of your roof and causes it to absorb more sunlight. This ends up transferring into your home or business as heat. And now your cooling costs are going to go up as well. 

How to Clean Your Roof

When ridding your roof of unsightly streaks and stains, the first thing to think about, of course, is safety. The issue is pretty obvious considering you'll be going up on a roof. Make sure to take proper safety measures, such as using a harness and wearing slip-resistant shoes to protect from a fall. 

Another factor to be aware of is what could lead to your roof's warranty being voided, if it has one. Some companies will void a warranty on a roof if a pressure washer is used. 

Many professionals still use pressure washers when performing roof cleaning services. Yet, pressure washers can often do far more harm than good. If angled wrong or used on too high pressure of a setting, pressure washers can cause permanent damage to a roof. 

For this reason, a solution that has been around for many years, but has more recently surged in popularity is soft washing for roofs.

This is a solution that is cheaper, easier, and still does a great job cleaning your roof. 

Here's what a simply step-by-step soft washing process that almost anyone can do for roof stain removal looks like:

  1. Put on eye protection and rubber gloves (to protect from the chemicals you'll be using).

  2. Fill a garden type hand sprayer with a solution of one part bleach to five parts water. You can also add some trisodium phosphate (TSP) to your solution for some added stain-fighting power.

  3. With safety measures in place, go up on your roof and, starting from the top down, spray down your roof with the chemical solution by using even, sweeping motions while spraying.

  4. Once you've wetted the entire roof with the solution, let it sit for 15-30 minutes. 

  5. Rinse off the solution using a normal garden hose. Make sure to be thorough and go about rinsing the roof evenly, otherwise you could leave small patches of dirt.

It really can be that quick, cheap, and easy. 

 

Keep Your Roof Lasting by Keeping It Clean

The first line of defense against damage is prevention. It's best to prevent the need for repair or replacement in the first place. It also is much more cost effective.

As we can see from the above benefits, roof stain removal is one of the best ways to go about this. 

Unfortunately, the case might be that you're reading this article too late and roof staining has caused permanent damage to your roof, leading to a replacement roof being necessary.

Or it could be that your roof has lasted admirably but now it's simply time to consider replacement options. 

Perhaps you're just in the market for a more aesthetically-pleasing or energy-efficient option. 

We offer a full range of roofing services and have spent decades servicing both residential and commercial customers on projects large and small. 

Whatever the case may be for you, feel free to get in touch with us for a free inspection, consultation, and estimate.