Roof shingles are an essential part of your house that needs to be maintained and cleaned periodically. As rain falls onto the roof, it can wash dirt and debris into the cracks between the shingles. These cracks can then harbor moss and other potentially harmful substances that may damage the roof or leak. You can clean your roof shingles using a broom or a gel solution to remove moss and dirt. Clean roofs mean safer roofs, so it is important to know how to clean your roof shingles. Knowing how to sweep off the shingles and removing moss from them separately is also important maintenance. Shingle cleaning depends on what kind of shingle you have- whether they are ceramic, tar-paper, or aluminum.
Get the debris off the roof
Once you have removed the old shingles, you will need to get any debris off the roof. You do not want pieces of wood, nails, or granules from the old shingles sticking up to hurt someone. You can do this by raking them off with a roof rake or by blasting them off with a hose. If you choose the hose method, make sure to use a high-quality one as poor-quality ones can break and send pieces flying.
If there are any holes or tears in the roof, you can either patch them with tar paper or replace the affected layers of the roof. Tar paper is less expensive so it is more cost-effective to use that instead of replacing the whole roof.
Wash the shingles with water
Once the debris is off the roof, the shingles need to be cleaned. You can do this in a few ways, but most recommend washing the shingles with water. Some say to wash them with a hose, others say to collect rainwater and wash them with that. Either way, the water needs to be collected and able to wash off the shingles.
Shingles are made of lightweight material so it is easy to get rid of the dirt and grime by just washing them. Grime tends to stick on roofs because of the texture, so washing removes most things. Just make sure the water is not too hot or cold, too hot may damage the material, and too cold will not remove anything. Warm water is best! After washing them check for any spots that may need special attention.
Use oil-based cleaner
Once you have finished rinsing the roof shingles, you can begin cleaning them. You can use a variety of cleaners, but most recommend an oil-based one. The main reason for this is that water-based cleaners can leave a residue that will lead to future stains and the need for constant cleaning. Oil-based cleaners will remove any dirt and grime leaving your roof shingles clean. Just make sure when buying a cleaner that it is safe for asphalt tile roof shingles. Some may not be, so check before buying! Using a broom or rag, spread the cleaner across the shingles in small sections.
Let the cleaner sit for several minutes to soak in and break down the dirt and grime. Then, wash away the cleaner with a hose.
Use ammonia and water mixture
Once you have finished scraping off the dirt, your roof is not completely clean. You will need to wash the roof to get it fully clean. You can do this by using an ammonia and water solution. Ammonia works well at breaking down dirt, grime, and grease. By mixing it with water, you create a solution that will break down the dirt on your roof while being safe for the environment and your plants. Just spray the roof with the solution and let it sit for several hours or even a full day, depending on how dirty it is. Then, hose off the solution and watch all of the dirt and grime wash away. Your roof is clean! Ammonia can be pretty harsh so make sure you use protective gloves when handling it and wear protective goggles when spraying it onto the roof.
Use baking soda and water mixture
If there is algae or moss growing on your roof, you can scrub it off with a brush. Once clean, you can wash the roof shingles with a baking soda and water mixture. Baking soda is a great cleaning agent that works for lots of different things. It is one of the most versatile ingredients in the world, so stock up! Mix about a cup of baking soda in a gallon of water and bring it to a light showering rain consistency. Spray this on the shingles and let it sit for an hour or so to soak in. Then, just hose it off and your roof is clean! This method works well if your roof is covered in dirt or debris as it will help remove some of that. If your roof is clean, this will help keep it that way by keeping the shingles moist which prevents drying and cracking.
Brush up debris before cleaning
Once you have finished sweeping the roof, you will need to brush up any debris that remains. It is important to do this before washing the shingles to prevent any dirt from entering the washing process. Washing the shingles will require some water, so make sure the roof is dry prior to vacuuming. Shingles can be very heavy, so using a good-quality brush with plenty of strong bristles is ideal. A broom or a handheld broom attachment can also be used to sweep the debris down into the gutter. Then, use the hose on the roof to vacuum up any remaining debris that may have fallen outside of the gutter.
Be careful when cleaning roof shingles
Though it is important to clean your roof shingles, it is important to be careful while doing so. Please do not climb on the roof to scrape off debris! Instead, carefully pull debris off the roof using a rake or broom from a secure ladder. Then, take a hose outside and wash off the roof to remove any remaining debris. Shingle cleanup is best done during rainy days as well, making it easier to wash off the roof. When cleaning algae off roofs, it is best to use a brush instead of a cloth. Cloths can leave fibers behind that may damage the shingles when dried. Brush away all algae and dry out your roof as best you can! Dry weather is best for cleaning roofs as well, as rain will rinse away any leftover cleaner or water left on the roof. Avoid using heavy-duty cleaners as they may damage your shingles.
Replace damaged shingles
Once your roof is clean, if any shingles are damaged, they need to be replaced. If a single shingle is missing, you can replace it with a matching one. If any are missing, it is best to put new ones on instead of trying to match new ones with the old ones that are probably worn out. Shingles can be purchased at most home improvement stores and roofing companies.
Removing the old ones takes some skill so make sure you get someone trained to do it! Check for certification from the National Roofing Contractors Association for quality assurance. Shingle removal is best done during the winter season when there is no sunlight or heat on the roof which would cause the new shingles to burn.
Contact an expert
If you are not comfortable cleaning the shingles yourself, then do not do it. Contact Sullivan Roof Cleaning to do the job professionally the first time. Cleaning shingles is not a simple task and requires experience and expertise. And if you will hire a professional then they exactly know how to clean them without damaging the underlying layers of your roof, like the felt layer and asphalt layer. If you are trying to save money by doing it yourself, then just make sure you are careful and use the right tools.