Are Roof Cleaning Services A Necessity For Residential And Commercial Buildings?

Are Roof Cleaning Services a Necessity for Residential and Commercial Buildings?

Depending on the type of building, residential roof cleaning and commercial roof cleaning are essential to maintaining optimal appearance. A clean roof is immediately apparent and a sure sign that the place is properly cared for.

But is a roof cleaning service really necessary?

It may seem like a roof cleaning service is a luxury rather than a need. As a matter of fact, however, both homeowners and business owners should be aware of the importance of a clean roof. Commercial roof cleaning, for example, can be just as important as many other aspects of running a reputable business.

Residential roof cleaning is essential, too, especially when homeowners want to sell. Often, exterior cleaning and roof cleaning can make the difference between having a house on the market indefinitely and selling it to the first buyer who comes along. How your home appears – its curb appeal – is vital to making a sale.

If you’ve never had your roof professionally cleaned, you may not even remember what it used to look like before black stains and debris altered the appearance.  Professionals use low-pressure cleaning equipment to return your roof — and other treated parts of the structure — to a like-new condition. It may be the closest you can get to a time machine for your house or business!

All well-maintained buildings, whether commercial or residential, use roof cleaning services. But why are they so important? Let’s take a look at some of the things that you might not know about roof cleaning.

Professional Roof Cleaning Removes Organic Matter

Removes Organic Matter

There’s more to professional roof cleaning services than just superficial cleaning. If that was the case, then you could simply rely on the rain each winter to adequately clean your roof.

That’s definitely not the case.

Rain will indeed clear away some debris and keep your roof naturally clean — to a certain point. At that point, more comprehensive methods need to take over to remove and prevent the growth of organics such as bacteria, algae, lichen, and moss.

These types of “debris” can pose much more danger than just a lack of aesthetic appeal. Untreated, these organics can cause damage to asphalt shingles and subsequent leaks.

The biggest problem you’re likely to encounter is the black stains caused by cyanobacteria called gloeocapsa magma (GM). In simple terms, this “roof algae” feeds off the limestone, which is commonly used as a filler in fiberglass shingles. This causes a breakdown of the roofing materials. So not only does GM trigger ugly black stains, but it also can cause damage to your asphalt shingles if left unchecked.

GM also poses a problem to more than the immediately affected roof. As the bacteria are airborne, they can spread to nearby houses and colonize those roofs in turn. This tendency has made GM one of the more common threats to the lifespan of a roof. In addition to the unsightly stains and damage caused by the bacteria, the buildup of GM has led to lowered resale value. Historically, it has also caused the cancellation of insurance policies and the increase of utility costs, as the stained and damaged roofing material draws in more heat.

Experts, including the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association (ARMA), suggest that the best technique for dealing with GM involves the low-pressure application of a sodium hypochlorite-based detergent. Well-trained professionals provide this service.

Roof Cleaning Removes Lichens and Moss

Removes Lichens and Moss

Of course, GM isn’t the only organic threat to your roof. Without care, a roof can develop an entire ecosystem, including bacteria, algae, lichens, and moss.

Lichens, which are a type of composite fungus organism, can cause significant damage to asphalt shingle roofs. Once they have the chance to grow, they not only can be difficult to get rid of, but they will pull off the granules from the asphalt shingles as professionals remove them. This causes significant damage to the integrity of your roof.

Moss grows in damp conditions out of the sun. There are a variety of types of moss, but they are incredibly hardy plants and can grow exponentially if left to themselves. They also can compromise the integrity of shingles and other roofing materials and, ultimately, damage your roof.

The clear solution to these issues is professional roof cleaning. Using controlled low-pressure techniques, as well as appropriate detergent treatments, professionals will altogether remove lichens and moss from your roof. Detergent-based cleaning is a comprehensive solution that generally lasts for 5-10 years before any signs of reoccurrence. It can protect and even prolong the life of your roof.

However, if lichens and moss have already caused damage, such as cracks and leaks, this should be addressed to avoid further problems with the structure.

Roof Cleaning Removes Dirt

Damage to Wood and Shingle

If left alone, dirt, debris, and especially organic growth accumulate on your roof over time. The wind carries dust and debris from nearby sources of pollution, wildlife, and trees. The environment can also be a contributing factor, as damp climates make it easy for moss and other organics to grow.

Rain may take care of some of the dirt on your roof, but if you want to truly get rid of it, you need to look into professional roof cleaning services. Professional roof cleaning removes up to 99% of dirt, debris, and organics. It restores your roof to its natural color, as well as maintaining the materials for as long as possible.

Should You Have Your Roof Professionally Cleaned?

Roofs are tough, as long as they’re installed correctly and maintained properly. But without proper maintenance, asphalt shingles are easily damaged by organic matter.

As discussed, many organisms, including algae and bacteria, can gnaw away at your shingles. The granules that coat the top of each shingle contain nutrients that stimulate growth for these invading organisms. Although GM and other similar bacteria and algae may grow slowly, if left to their own devices, they will cause severe damage to shingle roofs.

On top of that, there are aesthetic considerations and even potential insurance concerns to weigh in the balance when deciding to pursue professional roof cleaning services.

Once more, regular professional roof cleaning is absolutely the way to go to preserve roofing materials and extend the life of your roof for as long as possible.

Regardless of whether you have a residential or a commercial building, experts recommend regular roof cleaning for the long-term health of the structure.

Benefits of Professional Roof Cleaning:

  • Maintain the cleanliness of your roof
  • Best way to have a “like-new” appearance
  • Prevent the spread of bacteria and algae
  • Ward off the growth of lichen and moss
  • Protect roofing materials from damage
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Eric Schnaible

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