How to: Roof Cleaning Edition

Why is it important? 🙏

Like anything else, your roof needs to be maintained. This needs to be done in many ways, like having a professional do a routine maintenance check and making sure that your gutters are clear of debris. Another way to ensure your roof is in tip-top condition is by cleaning it about once a year. This is especially important for roofs with asphalt shingles because they attract moss and other debris more than metal or tile roofs due to their rough finish. While this is an important task, it is also a difficult one. It requires intensive labor and will most likely take you most of the day, but if you suffer a little now, you are likely to suffer less later.

How do you know it needs to be done? 🤔

As we stated earlier, cleaning your roof is not a once-a-week task. It only needs to be done when necessary. That being said, how do you know that it needs to be done?

  1. The number one sign is when you begin to see moss creeping in. Moss roots create channels that allow water to run through and damage the shingles. Water can damage the seal that binds shingles together as it passes through the shingle. By washing away the moss, you prevent this damage from continuing. However, if you start to notice black streaks where the moss was, call your roofing specialists immediately. This is a sign that moss has caused black mold to grow. Black mold causes many health issues, so you will want it taken care of immediately.
  2. Discoloration is another sign that it is time for a thorough wash. The rough texture of asphalt shingles allows them to collect dirt quite easily. Washing away this dirt revitalizes your shingles and keeps them looking as good as possible.
  3. The final sign is if you notice your shingles shifting. Your roof shingles can lift away from the base materials of the roof when leaves, grime, mold, and moss accumulate on them. Your roof becomes vulnerable to water damage and leaks when your shingles lift. Roof cleaning will remove debris that gets underneath the shingles.

Steps to take. 👣

Now that you know the signs, it is time to get started. Here are a few of the steps you can take when cleaning your roof.

  1. The first and most basic step is safety. Roofs are not solid surfaces. They are slanted, making it difficult to keep your balance, which can be dangerous. If you aren’t careful, you might end up creating the infamous Clark Griswald scene from Christmas Vacation. To make sure that you stay safe at all times, you will want to wear non-slip shoes, goggles to protect your eyes, thick gloves, and a safety cord attached to some point on your roof. This last step is the most important because it ensures your safety in case you fall. Once you have followed these steps, you are ready to get started.
  2. Before starting any cleaning, you will want to clear any unnecessary debris from your roof. You can clean it off by hand or use your trusty leaf blower, whichever you are most comfortable with.
  3. The next step is to gather all the cleaning supplies. You’ll need to work with specific types of chemicals, like sodium hypochlorite, to get rid of algae stains and other dirt your roof may have. This is not just soap and water. Using this can potentially ruin your roof. You may opt for a commercial product, but never use harsh chemicals! That’s strictly forbidden because it could potentially depreciate the lifespan of your roof. As a general rule, make sure to use products that are safe for asphalt shingles. Once you have gathered all your materials, put your solution in a garden sprayer. This will give you the most effective results. Just make sure that it is a low-pressure sprayer.
  4. Now it’s time to spray your roof. Spray each shingle that needs it. Make sure to pay extra attention to the ones with algae growth. There is no rule on how many solutions you need to spray on your roof. It depends on how dirty it is. Once you have sprayed your desired amount, let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. After you have let the solution sit, it is time to rinse. Make sure to thoroughly rinse. You don’t want to leave any solution on your shingles, or it could damage them. Once this step is done, your shingles should be sparkling!

Potential hazards. ⚠

With any at-home job, there are potential hazards. Before cleaning the roof of your home, it is imperative to understand how this might affect you and your home.

  1. Being on your roof without the proper gear is a life risk. You could slip and fall off your roof, causing serious injuries. If you don’t take the proper steps before climbing onto your roof, it may end badly.
  2. Since you are working with harsh chemicals, one wrong move could potentially cause adverse effects on you, your home, or your family. When using these chemicals, you risk causing danger to the things around you. Always use extreme caution.
  3. The last and most costly risk you could be facing is damaging your roof. While the task seems straightforward, many things could go wrong. You could ruin your shingles, causing water to seep into your home. This water damage could cause mold to grow and the structure of your roof to deteriorate. You could be adding to an already existing leaking issue, and if you are not a roofing specialist, you won’t know that you are doing it.


Even though you might be able to do the job yourself, that doesn’t mean you should. Call the professionals, such as Sterling Construction, if you need your roof maintained. We will do a routine maintenance check and let you know if a cleaning is needed at all. Roofing maintenance is important, so make sure it is done correctly.