A good roof shingle cleaner can save you thousands of dollars in unwarranted replacement costs. Many times homeowners will believe that when there is a buildup of algae or green growth on the roof shingles, it is time to replace them. However, with careful cleaning you can still retain the old shingles without any damage to the surface.
Cleaning Roof Shingles
Cleaning roof shingles is not something that many people think about. However, it should be done at least every few years, especially if there are any large trees that hang over the roof. Small leaves or seeds fall onto the roof and can germinate over time. Washing the roof down prevents this from happening. Some cleaners are better than others for this process. Knowing which ones to use will help keep the shingles clean and long-lasting.
Use Bleach for Effective Cleaning
Bleach is the best way to clean roof shingles. Chlorine bleach will effectively kill any mold that is starting to grow and loosen up many of the stains. To use this roof shingle cleaner correctly you should mix one part of bleach with one part of water. When you apply the bleach do not immediately wipe it off. Spray it onto the shingle surface and let it sit for about 10 minutes. This will loosen up the dirt, droppings, and other stains. Wipe it away with a soft brush so you do not remove much of the asphalt.
Use Sodium Hydroxide
Another great roof shingle cleaner is sodium hydroxide, or better known as lye. This chemical is commonly used in products like drain cleaner and oven cleaner. Sodium hydroxide must be used carefully in order to not damage the roof or be harmful to any surrounding plants. It should be diluted with water in order to breakdown the chemical elements. Many roof specialists prefer sodium hydroxide instead of bleach because it does a great job on the green algae and is less harsh when rinsed well. When using this chemical it is also important not to use it excessively or it can damage the roof shingles.
A more eco-friendly cleaning solution for shingle roofs is a cleaning product that contains high levels of citrus acid. This will work much in the same way as bleach, although you will need to use a little more on the stain. It should be left for a short period of time before wiping away and may need to be reapplied. However, it is much less toxic than the previous two roof shingle cleaners and will not cause any damage. Look for cleaners with the citrus acid and additives like Borax or baking soda. You may also make your own cleaner with these chemicals.
Roof shingles may also be cleaned through the use of a pressure washer. Depending on the condition of the roof you may have to use lower pressure. However, the jet stream of the water can remove algae and dried on droppings. The pressure washer should also be used to rinse off the other chemicals and cleaners used in order to break them down enough to lower their toxicity.