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How to Clean an Asphalt Shingle Roof: What You Need to Know

Jul 7, 2017 5:55:00 PM

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Asphalt shingle roof tiles come with a wide range of different benefits that make them an attractive proposition for many homeowners across the country. They're incredibly versatile by design, allowing them to be adapted to many different angles, shapes and forms depending on your needs. They also bring with them an incredible design variety (particularly when it comes to color palette options), letting you really end up with a unique-looking visual approach to your home that is all your own.

This does not mean, however, that asphalt shingle roofs don't need to be properly maintained to keep the looking their best. If you really want to clean your asphalt shingle roof in the right way, there are a few key things you'll want to keep in mind.

What Happens if You Don't Clean Your Roof?

In addition to unnecessary wear and tear on your roof tiles from the weather, the number one concern that you should have if you don't regularly clean your asphalt shingle roof is moss growth. As moss thickens and continues to grow on your roof over time, it can actually raise up the singles in an unnatural way.

Not only will this allow debris to gather in an area where it doesn't belong, but it also promotes water buildup. This in turn not only limits the lifespan of your roof and could cause individual tiles to rot, but it also makes a leak much more likely - leading to damage inside your home, as well. 

Black algae and similar types of issues are also very common on asphalt shingle roofs that are not properly maintained, all of which mean that cleaning your roof on a regular basis should always be a top priority in the life of any homeowner. 

Cleaning an Asphalt Shingle Roof

Most asphalt shingle roof cleaning methods require the use of some type of chemical - this is especially true if you're dealing with algae stains and other visual issues. Whatever you do, make sure that you don't use harsh chemicals or you could artificially shorten the life of your tiles. Use a product specifically designed to not only remove moss and algae stains, but one that is marked safe to use on asphalt shingle roofs.

For the best results, mix your chemical cleaner with about a gallon of water and a quart of bleach. Pour all of those ingredients into a pump-style garden sprayer and mix them very well. When you're finished, get up on your roof (being sure to take precautions against both a fall and the fact that you're working with chemicals) and spray down your roof as thoroughly as possible.

Once you've taken the chance to wet down your entire roof with the aforementioned solution, give it a chance to sit - usually about 15 minutes or so will do just fine.

Then, you can use a standard garden hose to spray down the roof and remove the solution entirely. If any problem spots remain, get back up there with a brush and wipe down tiles individually. Be careful not to apply too much pressure, though, or again you could cause the type of damage that may have long-term ramifications both inside and outside of your home. 

You may also want to consider installing a sheet of either copper or zinc-coated sheet metal along each side of your asphalt shingle roof, just below the ridge. This will change the environment on your roof to make it much less suitable for algae and moss growth - a preventative measure that you'll be very glad you took in the future.

Other Tips, Tricks and Best Practices

In addition to general cleaning, there are a number of other things that you can do to cut down on problems with your asphalt shingle roof significantly. If there are any tree branches that are either making contact with your roof or are blocking sunlight, trim them whenever you can. More sunlight on a roof means less debris accumulation and an environment that is generally less suited for moss and algae growth.

You'll also want to hop up on your roof whenever possible and clean out all debris with a leaf blower or other system - particular in your gutters. Not only does this promote proper water drainage (which is one of the major things that a roof is supposed to do), but it again prevents moss and algae from building up over time.

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