Do's and Don'ts of Cleaning Asphalt Shingles

Do’s and Don’ts of Cleaning Asphalt Shingles

Note that climbing or walking on your rooftop without experience, or the right safety equipment, can result in serious injury. We don’t recommend anyone to climb or walk their roof without having experience cleaning roofs and the necessary safety equipment.

Asphalt shingles have become a popular choice for roofing due to their affordability, durability and ease of roof maintenance. Asphalt shingles, despite being durable, can get dirty and affect the appearance of a house. It is essential to clean your asphalt shingles regularly in order to combat this problem. When cleaning your asphalt shingles, there are some do’s and don’ts that you should keep in mind. Improper cleaning techniques could damage your roof.

Asphalt shingles are a far cry from the shingles of decades past. They now have technologies that reduce their susceptibility to black streaks, moss growth and other unflattering stains. Asphalt shingles are more resistant to moss and algae growth thanks to technological advancements, but it’s still important to maintain them. Dirt, debris and environmental factors will affect the look and lifespan of your roof over time. Regular cleaning will not only make your home look its best but can also extend the life of your roof. Cleaning your asphalt shingles should be part of your preventative maintenance plan.

Consult a roofing contractor or company if you are unsure of where to begin when cleaning asphalt shingles. You can get advice from them on how to clean your roof and they will ensure the process is done properly and safely. If you prefer to tackle the task yourself, do some research before you start and avoid harsh chemicals or equipment which could damage your roof. Asphalt shingles will continue to protect your home and look good for many years with proper care and maintenance.

moss and algae on roof

Removing moss and algae

Use a solution designed specifically for removing moss or algae from asphalt shingles. Bleach and other harsh chemicals can damage your asphalt shingles, reducing their lifespan. Look for a gentle solution that’s still effective, like a mixture of white vinegar and water. Let the solution sit on the affected area for 15 minutes, then gently scrub with a soft bristled brush. This is best done in the summer when the moss has a brownish color. The moss will be easier for you to remove in the summer than it would be during the spring or fall.

Algae growth is often responsible for black streaks on roofs, particularly in humid and warm areas. Apply a solution made of equal parts white vinegar and water to the affected area using a soft sprayer or brush. Let the solution sit for 15 to 20 minutes before washing it with water. A natural alternative to using hydrogen peroxide is to mix water and peroxide in a ratio of 1:5. When working on a roof, it is essential to use safety gear and wear the appropriate footwear.

When cleaning your roof, there are several things you should keep in mind. 

Avoid these things when cleaning asphalt shingles

Do not use a pressure washer

Do not use pressure washers as they can damage the shingles by removing the protective granules.

Avoid any abrasive cleaning brushes

Avoid using harsh cleaning tools like metal scrapers or stiff bristle brush as these can damage the shingles and cause water to penetrate. They may also remove the granules.

Don’t ignore any shrubs or plants when roof cleaning

If not protected properly, the chemicals can damage your plants and other vegetation in and around your home. They will also cause significant damage to soil.

Never climb on your roof without the right safety equipment

Avoid climbing on your roof if it’s icy or wet. You should also wear sturdy shoes with good traction. If your roof is steep, you may want to hire a professional. Wear a safety harness, and wear clothing that will protect you against the elements.

Do not wait until the last minute

You should take action as soon as you see moss on your roof. Delaying too long could cause your shingles to be damaged and can even cause roof leaks that need to be repaired. Cleaning your gutters or trimming trees and shrubs around the house can prevent moss growth. Follow these tips to safely and effectively clean asphalt shingles. This will keep your roof looking great for many years to come.

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Steps for roof cleaning asphalt shingles

There are some key steps you should follow if you want to clean your asphalt shingles yourself:

Acquire the proper tools supplies & safety equipment

It is essential to have the right tools, safety equipment, and supplies before you can clean your asphalt roof shingles. The equipment you will need includes a sturdy stepladder, a garden sprayer, a soft bristled brush, an asphalt shingle cleaning solution, safety gear like rubber gloves, safety goggles, and a safety harness. You should also ensure that the weather is suitable for roof cleaning. Extreme temperatures, wet roofs or iced roofs are not ideal conditions. These steps will help you to ensure that your roof cleaning is safe and effective.

Protect plants and vegetation around the foundation of your home

When cleaning asphalt shingles, it is important to protect the plants and vegetation surrounding the foundation of your house. You can do this by covering the shingles with plastic or another protective material as you clean. You can also wet the roofs with water both before and after cleaning. This will help to prevent damage caused by cleaning solution runoff. These steps will help to ensure that your plants, trees and other vegetation are not damaged during the cleaning process.

Remove debris from roof

It’s now time to start cleaning. Remove any debris, such as leaves or twigs that have accumulated on your roof. To avoid damaging your shingles, use a leaf blower to remove the debris or gently sweep it off with a broom. Looking for roof leaks or other problems can be done simultaneously. Then, spray the roof down with the garden hose before applying the cleaning solution.

Make your chemical treatment

Bleach is not the best option for cleaning your roof. It could harm the plants and vegetation around your house due to the runoff. It is dangerous to mix chemicals when cleaning a roof. The manufacturer’s safety instructions and guidelines should be carefully followed. It is generally not recommended to combine different cleaning products as this could result in harmful gasses or dangerous chemical reactions. You should consult a professional if you have any questions about the safe use of a cleaning product, or how to deal with a chemical spill.

The use of white vinegar to clean an asphalt roof is effective. The mild acidity of vinegar dissolves grime and algae from the surface of your roof. Pour clean asphalt with vinegar, combine equal parts white vinegar and water into a bucket. Apply the solution with a soft bristle brush or sprayer to the affected area and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse the roof with water to remove both the solution and any dirt or grime that has been loosened. Wearing the right safety gear is essential to prevent slipping and falling while working on a rooftop.

When protecting your roof, and the plants around your house, it is best to limit your use of chemicals. Chemical treatments are effective at removing dirt from asphalt shingles but can also harm the environment and plants. It is always best to opt for non-toxic solutions or natural cleaning methods, such as vinegar and a little water. A lesser use of harsh chemicals will also help to prolong the life of your shingles. These chemicals can cause premature aging and deterioration.

Focus on problem areas when roof cleaning

If the moss or algae are stubborn on your roof and you apply the roof cleaning solution, it might be necessary to repeat the treatment. Continue to clean the roof after the initial treatment to remove all dirt, grime and algae. To avoid damaging the shingles and allowing moss or algae to grow, it is important to let each treatment dry completely before applying another treatment. You can extend the life of your asphalt shingle roofing by cleaning it properly.

Soak your plants & shrubs with water after finishing your roof cleaning

Soak your Shrubs and Plants in Water After you have finished cleaning, be sure to water any plants or shrubs nearby with a garden hose. This will dilute any cleaning solutions or runoffs that could be harmful to landscaping. This extra step will help you to avoid any damage that could be done to your property. It will also ensure the safety of your project. Always prioritize safety when working on your roof.

spraying roof with chemicals

What is the best way to clean your asphalt roof?

It may only need to be cleaned if your roof is relatively new and in good shape. If your roof is older than 20 years or you have more problems than just algae on it, you might want to replace the entire roof.

A simple cleaning can restore the appearance of your roof and increase its lifespan if it’s less than 20 years old and does not have any significant damage.

A total roof replacement is necessary if, on the other hand, your roof has been in place for more than 20 years or it has structural damage or other common roofing problems such as broken or missing shingles. Roofs at the end of their lifespan are more susceptible to damage, and less effective at protecting your home against the elements.

The old roof is removed and a new roof is installed. It can be a time-consuming and expensive process, but is necessary to ensure the safety and longevity of your home. To ensure the work is done properly, it is essential to hire an experienced residential roofing contractor.

In general, the decision on whether to replace or clean your roof depends on the age and condition of the roof, as well the extent of the damage. A professional roofer can offer advice and make recommendations that are tailored to your situation.

Roof cleaning conclusion

Cleaning your asphalt shingles is necessary to extend the life of your roof but some precautions need to be taken to make sure it is done properly and safely.  Make sure to have the proper safety gear, use the proper safety equipment and cleaning solution and don’t forget, if you have any questions, be sure to reach out to a professional for help.