One look at your roof and you know. Whether you have asphalt, ceramic, shake, or slate tiles, it can lead to damage that shortens the life of your roof. What is it? Algae growth. Algae cause those ugly black streaks on your roof. Along with moss, lichen, and fungus, it can grow on surfaces like roofs in any climate and in any part of the country.
Do-It-Yourself Roof Cleaning and Professional Cleaning Services
There are a number of products you can use to clean your roof. Roof cleaners, both commercial and homemade can get rid of the stains and the algae, but be aware that most cannot prevent a recurrence of the problem. Before buying or concocting a roof cleaner, find out what products and cleaning methods the roofing manufacturer recommends. Cleaning your roof can be dangerous. Injuries associated with falls and improper handling of cleaning chemicals are often serious in nature. You may want to hire a roof cleaning professional to handle the job.
Chlorine bleach is a highly recommended roof cleaner. It is one of several roof cleaning solutions that is simple to make yourself and a primary ingredient in many commercial cleaners. Generally the bleach is diluted in water. Some cleaning jobs require added power; this is where products like Trisodium Phosphate (TSP) comes in. To make a bleach/TSP roof cleaning solution, mix the TSP according to package instructions. Add 1/2 cup bleach to each gallon of TSP cleaning solution. Another bleach solution is offered by oxygenated bleach products such as Oxy-Boost and Stain Solver.
Proper Handling of Roof-Cleaning Solutions
Bleach roof cleaner (and products such as Oxy-Boost and Stain Solver) should be sprayed onto the roof and thoroughly rinsed off after 5 minutes. Otherwise, the bleach may cause damage to your roofing material. Bleach is toxic to most plants and wildlife, so extra care should be taken to control runoff and cleanup after use of these products. Bleach is not recommended for asphalt shingles.
More Options for Roof Cleaning
Lye-based (sodium hydroxide) products have also been sold on the market as roof cleaners. There is some evidence that these cleaners should not be used due to the damage they can cause to the roofing and even nails. Many brand-name products like Spray and Forget offer eco-friendly roof cleaning without bleaches or lye. There are alternatives to the constant cycle of roof cleaning and algae growth. Algae-resistant shingles that contain granules of copper can prevent algae growth. If you are not ready to replace your roof, installing zinc and copper strips high up on your roof can inhibit algae.