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Roof Cleaning - Everything You Need To Know About How To Clean Your Roof

Updated on January 20, 2012

Roof cleaning

Roof cleaning was never that popular until a few years ago, suddenly it seems that everyone wants to improve the appearance of their property by having the roof cleaned. The actual process of doing the work isn't too difficult but is probably best left to the professionals, unless you happen to have a very shallow roof or a good head for heights!

Here are the benefits of cleaning the roof:

  • Improve the kerb appeal of your home
  • A good time to check for broken tiles
  • Your gutters will be cleared out too
  • No more moss growth on the roof means reduced gutter maintenance

I have always kept my roof clear of moss, not because I like the look of a bare roof but I have always had issues with the moss collecting in the gutters where it would build up and clog the system, that led to leaks and overflowing rainwater gutters - a real headache and potentially expensive to repair.


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Several Options

There are several ways to clean the roof, the option that is best for your roof will depend on the type of roof you have. Concrete roof tiles are much tougher than clay based ones. You should first have a good look at the roof to determine real reason why it needs a clean, is it a build up of moss and algae? Or because it's weathered and looking dirty?

The first method is to use a scraper and gently remove the moss before applying a moss and algae killing chemical by sprayer. This is the more gentle way to clean a roof as the chemicals will kill off the moss and black lichens that manifest on the surface of the tile.

The next option is to use a pressure washer to blast any dirt and moss off the roof, personally I am not a fan of this method as one mistake and the loft could flood. There is also the possibility of damage to the roof tiles or felt covering. Don't forget that these tiles have been out there in the elements for many years and may not be as strong and sturdy as they once were.

The third option is to manually remove the excess moss with a scraper and then apply a copper roof strip along the ridge line and another about half way down the roof. When rainwater comes into contact with the metal it will release just enough residue to create an environment that moss and mould cannot thrive it. While this method won't kill off large areas that are already infested with moss/mould it will ensure the surface doesn't see any new growth - it's a great method for those of you who have already removed the moss.

Whichever method is chosen it is always a good idea to install a gutter guard afterwards to keep leaves out of the gutter. Because the roof is no moss free the guard won't clog up so quickly.

Moss covered roof

Why I don't like to use pressure washers

To the right you can see a photo I took from one of my roof moss removal projects, all the moss was manually removed, no pressure washing was involved. Once the roof was swept down and the gutter cleared out I used a sprayer like this and filled it with a high strength moss killer such as this. It takes a few days for the chemical to break down the remaining black spots on the roof (called lichens) but after a few weeks and several rain falls the whole roof area looked freshly cleaned, even though all I did was remove the moss with a scraper and apply a moss killer.

The same method can be used on moss covered patios and driveways too.

I don't use high powered pressure washers because of the following reasons:

  1. It is ridiculously messy, covering my neighbours wall with muddy water is a no-no
  2. I don't want to disturb the roof cement which is already a bit flaky
  3. I don't want to remove the natural weathering from the tile, just the moss and organic growth
  4. There were several broken tiles on the roof in the photo, had I used a high powered pressure washer I could have caused water to enter the loft.


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