Roof Cleaning: Interesting Facts You Should Know

Roof Cleaning: Interesting Facts You Should Know 

roof cleaning

Roof cleaning is becoming more popular particularly in the United States. That is because of “Gloeocapsa Magma” which is an airborne algae. The stains and black streaks that are found on the north capping side of the roof but do spread to the entire roof on the long run are known as Gloeocapsa Magma.

Research shows that for Gloeocapsa Magma to grow, it has to have heat, moisture, and a food source. The heat and moisture source is readily provided by the warmth and humidity of the climate. The food source is mostly supplied from limestone fillers discovered in asphalt shingles.

Limestone was proposed to the shingle production process when oil prices started to increase some years back. Asphalt impregnated material was employed in the shingles to add weight and substance to the shingle. In order to save on the rising petroleum cost, and ultimately shingle costs, the manufacturers used limestone to replace some of the asphalt material.  Limestone being relatively affordable and dense was an ideal substitute. Nevertheless, limestone also feeds Gloeocapsa Magma. Feeding off the warm temperatures, high humidity and limestone in the shingles for food, if left neglected, the algae can cause some significant damage over time.

From inception, this algae is more of an eyesore than anything and can be easily displaced. Left on the roof, it will keep expanding until it covers the entire roof. At this point, it becomes food for lichens and mildew, and this is where the real trouble starts. Be careful! Many times a roofer will be called in to inspect the roof, and some roofers will tell you that they need a new roof and in some cases, that may be so. But, many a times, proper cleaning of the roof will can save you thousands of dollars and that’s why you need an expert roof cleaning contractor.

However, if left unattended, the mildew will build up over time until there is a substantial layer of which can breed mildew. The mildew builds up to the point that moss will begin to grow. Moss can then lead to Lichens and Lichens have little tentacles that grow down into the shingle. Once the tentacles get established, they are very hard to remove, and in the process, some of the shingle grit will be dislodged leaving pits or holes in the shingles.

So it is advised to remove the stains before it gets very bad. The best time to clean the roof is in the warmer months and when the algae cover 30% to 40% of the north roof. By this time it is possible that the algae has spread to other parts of the roof and will only be a matter of time before it begins to show. The longer you wait, the harder and more costly to remove.

5 Things You Should Know About Roof Cleaning

It is obvious that roof cleaning is an important part of home maintenance and may be the most significant aspect of roof maintenance. Keeping your house roof clean prevents decay, which could lead to a complete replacement of your roofing or expensive repairs. Roof cleaning will elongate the lifespan of your roofing and helps the roof stay more functional for a longer period.

Below are five things about roof cleaning which every homeowner should know before hiring a contractor or start the process of cleaning:

  1.  You Can Do Roof Cleaning Yourself

DIY roof cleaning certainly exists, and with the proper tools, methods and cleaning products, an able homeowner can do a fair job. However, before you conclude that this is your preferred method, make sure you look at all the facts.

•    When you are purchasing cleaning products, find a trusted company to buy from. Look for a company that provides multiple formulas and administers preventative solutions.

•    If you use the right chemicals, follow proper procedures, and rinsing techniques, you can count on the compounds not doing any damage to your shingles or your landscape.

•    There is no easy way to get your roof cleaned. You should set aside at least a full afternoon, and be ready to work no matter what sort of cleaners you have bought for the job.

  1. Roof Algae Is More Than an Aesthetic Concern

Nobody wants algae on their roof because it is an unattractive attribute. However, it is of great concern because it’s not something you can easily put off. If your roof is not cleaned regularly, particularly if the algae are visibly noticeable, it can lead to rapid decay of your shingles, which has a few effects:

•    Since your shingles aid the blocking of UV rays, you will experience a drop in your home’s energy efficiency and a steep rise in your AC bills.

•    You will have to replace your roofing earlier than you are supposed to, and that can cost upwards of $10,000.

  1.  Roof Cleaning Service Is Not Overpriced

Roof cleaning experts usually charge a fair price, especially considering the cost of roof replacements. Roof cleaning agencies charge between $200 to $1000 in the United States and the average cost is about $476. Recognizing the importance of the service, plus the amount you will end up spending without it, it is well worth the cost of hiring an expert roof cleaning agency. That’s if you don’t wanna do it on your own.

  1. Even If You Cannot See the Algae, You May Still Need a Cleaning

In its earliest stages of development, algae are invisible. Therefore, even if your roof appears to be alright, there’s a chance that the best time to have it cleaned is now. That is one of the reasons why expert roofers recommend you have a roof inspection around once every three years. The earlier you are able to detect the roofing problem, the better it is for your roofing.

Many home-owners prefer to clean the roof themselves, but algae could be affecting the entire roof when it is only visible in spots. It is always a good idea to take preventative means and let the cleaning be as thorough as possible when you do it yourself.

  1. There Are Two Principal Ways to Clean a Roof, And Each Are Viable For Different Reasons

The two major methods for roof cleaning are:

•    Pressure Washing – This roof cleaning method entails the use of highly pressurized water on the roof to remove any mold, dirt, algae, or grime.

•    Chemical Cleaning – sometimes called Soft Washing, in which chemicals are the principal thing that is eliminating those harmful things from your roof.

Each of these methods has its own strengths and shortcomings.

Pressure washing is very efficient but may be best for concrete or metal roofs. There is a chance that the pressurized water could ruin your shingles.

Of course, some chemicals can wreck your roof as well, and the runoff could cause problems with parts of your home or landscape. However, if the roof cleaning contractor knows what they are working with, they should be able to find the right balance of effectiveness without harming any parts of your property.

We advise that you should be careful and selective when hiring a professional roof cleaning contractor. Make sure that they are ready to properly clean your roof and can guarantee no damage will be done to your property.

Other Facts About Roof Cleaning

Previously, we discussed what causes the black stains on asphalt roofs that is so often found on houses mainly in the United States.  Now, we will discuss two of the techniques of extracting the stains and why one way should be avoided.

There are generally two ways to eliminate Gloeocapsa Magma. Either with Sodium Hydroxide or Sodium Hypochlorite. Some contractors use one while some use the other. So what differentiates them and which of the two is the best? Below are the facts.

Sodium Hydroxide is a chemical substance used in many different products and applications. Some of the better knows are dishwashing detergent, oven cleaner, water treatment plants, and paint and stain strippers. It is likewise used as the principal ingredient in roof cleaners sold at the big box stores.

When employed as a roof cleaner, it is usually applied with a pump up sprayer to the roof and left to set for a period. Then using some pressure washer someone will get on the roof to wash the stain off. It looks like syrup or coffee running off the roof when it is washed off.

As stated earlier, Sodium Hydroxide is part of the components of oven cleaners and dish detergents. It is an excellent degreaser. It breaks down grease, oil, etc. to a substance that’s water-soluble and easily dispose. We use it to remove oil-based stains from decks. In this case, used as a roof cleaner, it does remove the algae but also kills plants, grass and can damage glass as well as break down the asphalt (oil based) in the shingle. Due to the chemical strength and time left on the roof, It does not destroy the shingle, but it does extract some degree of asphalt. In addition, any amount of asphalt removed is too much. In my opinion, not the best method but you can hire professional roof cleaning in New Roads for a better result.

Sodium Hypochlorite is also a widely used chemical in roof cleaning. Best known as the main ingredient in bleach, it works well at removing algae and mildew. As found in bleach, it is around 5% by volume depending on the brand. Commercial Clorox brand is around 6%. Bought “off the shelf,” 5% bleach will clean a roof, but it will take some time and probably several applications. The problem with store brands is the 5% is not strong enough, and Sodium Hypochlorite loses strength over time.

Most expert roof cleaning contractors will buy their Sodium Hypochlorite from a chemical supplier. It is fresh and much effective at 12.5% content by volume. If applied correctly, it is an excellent cleaner, which does not harm the shingles. It is the only method endorsed by the American Shingle Manufacturers Association.

Sodium Hypochlorite is caustic, so care must be taken when being used. If not used correctly, it will kill grass and plants; it will also corrode metal and can etch glass. Safety precautions must also be adhered to at all times. Chemical gloves, masks, protective clothing must be worn, and run-off controlled. The above mentioned are not for the do-it-yourselfer, homeowner, or an untrained contractor. It is definitely the best method of removing Gloeocapsa Magma.

However, there is a debate as to the most suitable method to eliminate the black stains from roofs, like most anything else; there is a wrong way and a right way to do anything.  To know the right way, you have to know the fact. Roof cleaning can be done safely and efficiently if done correctly.

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