The overwhelming majority of U.S. homeowners have an asphalt shingle roof. It’s not hard to see why. Asphalt shingles are affordable and low maintenance.
That being said, they are also slightly less durable than other roofing materials. The key to asphalt shingle roofs is to have a solid maintenance routine. For some owners, that may mean rolling up their sleeves and cleaning the roof.
If cleaning your roof sounds like an unheard-of concept to you, you aren’t alone. However, this simple task can help extend the life of your asphalt shingles and prevent roof damage. Today, we’ll help you understand:
- How to clean roof shingles
- Why you might want to
- General maintenance tips
Ready to get a squeaky clean roof? Keep reading!
The Benefits of Cleaning Your Shingles
Cleaning your roof shingles may seem like a daunting task, but the benefits far outweigh the effort involved. Here are some compelling reasons why you should make roof shingle cleaning a part of your regular home maintenance routine:
- Extend the Lifespan of Your Roof: Accumulated dirt, algae, moss, and debris can deteriorate your shingles over time, causing them to lose their protective capabilities. Regular cleaning helps prevent premature wear and tear, ultimately extending your roof’s lifespan.
- Enhance Curb Appeal: A clean, well-maintained roof significantly contributes to your home’s visual appeal. Cleaning your shingles can revitalize your home’s exterior, making it look more attractive and inviting.
- Prevent Costly Repairs: Neglecting your roof can lead to severe damage that may require costly repairs or even a full roof replacement. Cleaning your shingles helps identify issues early on, allowing you to address them before they become major problems.
- Improve Energy Efficiency: A clean roof reflects more sunlight and absorbs less heat, helping to regulate your home’s temperature. This can lead to lower energy bills, especially during hot summer months.
- Maintain Home Value: A well-maintained roof adds value to your home. Regular cleaning and maintenance demonstrate that you take care of your property, which can be a significant selling point if you ever decide to put your house on the market.
How to Clean Shingles in 9 Steps
Cleaning asphalt shingles is a step-by-step process that involves safety precautions, equipment, and a gentle approach to avoid damaging the shingles. Here’s how to do it properly:
1) Gather Your Materials
Before starting the cleaning process, it is essential to make sure that you have all of the necessary tools, including:
- Safety gear: Wear non-slip shoes, safety goggles, and gloves.
- Ladder: Use a sturdy, well-maintained ladder to access your roof.
- Garden hose with a nozzle attachment.
- Mild detergent or specialized roof cleaning solution.
- Soft bristle brush or a low-pressure power washer.
- Plastic tarps to protect landscaping and catch runoff.
- Safety ropes and harnesses if working on steep roofs.
2) Prepare Your Roof
Clear debris: Start by removing leaves, branches, and any loose debris from your roof using a leaf blower or a broom. This step ensures that you won’t be pushing debris into your gutters or shingles during cleaning.
3) Wet Your Roof
Use your garden hose to wet down the roof’s surface thoroughly. This step helps to loosen dirt and make it easier to remove.
4) Apply Cleaning Solution
Mix a mild detergent or a specialized roof cleaning solution with water according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Apply the solution to your roof using a soft bristle brush or a low-pressure power washer. Work in small sections to ensure thorough coverage.
5) Gently Scrub
Gently scrub the shingles to remove dirt, algae, moss, and stains. Avoid using excessive pressure, as it can damage the shingles.
Rinse your roof with clean water using your garden hose. Make sure to rinse away all cleaning solution residue.
7) Prevent Future Growth
Consider applying a roof treatment or zinc strips to inhibit the growth of algae and moss in the future.
8) Clean Gutters
Don’t forget to clean your gutters as well, as they can become clogged with debris from the roof.
9) Safety First
Always prioritize safety when cleaning your roof. If you’re not comfortable working at heights or handling chemicals, consider hiring a professional.
How Often Should You Clean Your Shingles?
The frequency of roof shingle cleaning depends on various factors, including your climate, the type of shingles you have, and the presence of nearby trees. Here are some general guidelines to help you determine how often you should clean your roof shingles:
- 🔎 Annual Inspection: Conduct a visual inspection of your roof at least once a year. Look for signs of dirt, algae, moss, or debris accumulation. If you notice any issues, it’s time to clean your shingles.
- 🌎 Geographic Location: Homes in areas with high humidity, frequent rainfall, or significant shade are more susceptible to algae and moss growth. In such regions, you may need to clean your shingles every 2-3 years or even more frequently.
- 🌳 Tree Coverage: If your home is surrounded by trees, falling leaves and debris can accumulate on your roof. In this case, you may need to clean your shingles more often, particularly in the fall and spring.
- 🔨 Type of Shingles: Different types of shingles may require different cleaning schedules. Consult your roofing manufacturer’s recommendations for specific guidance.
- 👷♀️ DIY vs. Professional Cleaning: Consider whether you’ll clean your shingles yourself or hire a professional. If you’re doing it yourself, factor in the time and effort you can realistically invest.
Work With a Professional Roofer!
As you can see, properly cleaning your shingle roof can help you hugely in the long run. However, many homeowners don’t feel equipped to tackle this task on their own. We always recommend taking the proper safety precautions, and when in doubt? Hire your local roofing contractor!
At Greentek Roofing and Solar, we’ll help you care for your roof and spot any potential problem areas. Contact us today to get a free estimate for your roofing project!