Roof Cleaning – Should You DIY or Hire a Professional?
Roof cleaning is an important part of maintaining the integrity of your home. It can help offset future costs for roof repair (see 6 Roof Repair Hacks and Tips) as well as enhance the exterior aesthetic of your home. Many homeowners view this necessary responsibility as daunting and elect to hire a contractor to do the cleaning. Others, however, decide to perform this task on their own terms.
In this article, we first offer a brief overview of what roof cleaning entails, then we discuss the pros and cons of doing this task yourself as opposed to hiring a professional.
A Brief Overview of Roof Cleaning
The extent that a roof needs to be cleaned depends on the environment it is located in, the level of maintenance by the homeowner, as well as the type of roof that is installed.
For many cheaper roofs made from asphalt or other synthetic materials, the process of roof
cleaning involves just removing mold, mildew, lichen, moss, and algae from the surface. If this is done every 10 years or so, the roof will rarely experience problems or damage.
However, if these accumulations are not taken care of, the roof will collect and store heat, making the interior air conditioning costs to increase. These accumulations can also grow and spread over time to other parts of the house, withering away the exterior layers of the roof and causing the value of the home to decrease.
Most popularly, bleach is used to remove these build-ups, and this is endorsed by the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association.
For certain substances, like algae and moss, a more specialized solution is recommended using part water and part pool chlorine.
For metal roofs, oxidation is common due to the underlying materials, and a solution comprised of water and ammonia has been proven effective. You have to be especially cautious when cleaning metal to not damage the outer layer of protective film, as such damage can result in more build-up over time.
Other roofs made of wood, tile, or slate require specialized approaches that differ depending on the quality of the material.
The two main approaches to cleaning a roof use a high-pressure or low-pressure technique. The former involves using a kind of spray, whereas the latter often involves air diaphragm pumps, gas-powered engines, or lower-pressure spray if necessary. In certain cases, scrubbing by hand using durable cloth might be necessary.
Hiring a Professional
Hiring a professional to take care of your roof cleaning can be pricey and can cost anywhere from $400 to $600 depending on the time investment and contractor you hire.
Professional roof cleaning
But remember, roof cleaning is a delicate process that requires attention to detail in order to prevent damage. Many Homeowners Insurance Policies require certain cleaning techniques to avoid violating the terms of the policy. Hiring a professional can help you to follow these terms and is also an ideal approach if you live a busy life.
The help of an expert is especially critical because power-washing, an easier method of cleaning, is so demonized in the roof cleaning industry. A gentle, soft clean is encouraged by experts, and this takes considerable time and energy, not many homeowners possess.
DIY Roof Cleaning
Unless you are highly knowledgeable regarding roof cleaning techniques, undertaking this responsibility yourself might be overwhelming and time-consuming, or even worse, potentially dangerous.
Professional contractors are trained at what they do, which is why they demand a high pay for their work. If you do your own roof cleaning, you might not do a good job and even potentially damage your roof.
Yet, you are the one occupying your house, so why should your level of attention not extended to the outside? Engaging in a DIY project is a rewarding experience and can teach you much about the materials you are working with, even test the limits of your character.
Just make sure that you do proper research and make sufficient preparations before beginning. Most importantly, remember that all new things take time to learn, so don’t go too fast. If you do, you might compromise the quality of the roof cleaning or, worse, your health.
Another consideration is the accessibility of roof cleaning equipment. While you can certainly make your own solutions and then apply them by hand, the most effective way is to use a device designed with roof cleaning in mind. Unfortunately, many of these pumps and engines are expensive.
Our Final Thoughts on Roof Cleaning
We think that whichever route you choose, proper research should be done ahead of time. This means determining what solutions and devices would be best suited for your roof as well as the best contractors for performing the work.
If you decide to do the roof cleaning yourself, we suggest enlisting the help of a friend or family member to ensure your safety. We also suggest not rushing the job, as the time saved in the short term will be negated by the future energy required to repair any damages.