MRA offers simple tips for homeowners to inspect, clean and care for their roof before summer hits
If spring is a time of freshness and renewal, why do homeowners often find their roofs looking tired, dirty and worse for the wear this time of year?
“Winter debris such as branches, dead leaves and other organic material are hard on roofs and warmer spring weather can trigger the growth of moss, algae and fungus. Some roofing materials like asphalt shingles are particularly susceptible to these problems, especially in wet climates. Unfortunately, these types of roofs also can be expensive and tricky to clean, forcing homeowners to use harsh chemicals or methods that may result in roof damage if not performed correctly” said Renee Ramey, executive director of the Metal Roof Alliance (MRA).
While metal roofs naturally resist the growth of organic matter and are exceptionally easy to clean and care for, the MRA recommends performing regular care and maintenance to help reduce damaging elements such as pollution, airborne dirt, pollen and other debris to keep them in tiptop shape. Simple steps to care for metal roofs help them stay beautiful, fresh and protect their very long life. And thanks to special coatings and paint, cleaning a metal roof is not only easy, but more environmentally friendly, eliminating the need for harsh chemicals. In fact, plain water can often effectively wash away dirt, dust and other debris from a metal roof.
While it’s always good to check with the specific metal roofing manufacturer, below is a simple home cleaning remedy useful for most metal roofs, based on guidance from leading MRA members:
- If water alone isn’t enough to remove common dirt and debris, mix 1/4 cup detergent (including mild laundry detergents, car washing soap, mild dish soap) per gallon of water.
- Apply the solution to roof surface using washcloth, sponge, a soft bristle brush and/or non-abrasive pad. The goal is to use the lightest touch that will effectively do the job.
- Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Thoroughly rinse surface with plain water.
Other tips for springtime roof care:
1) Above all, think safety first. There are many safety precautions to consider when getting up on any type of roof, no matter what the material. Even a small amount of moisture or organic growth such as moss can cause a roof to be extremely slippery and dangerous. The best advice is leave it to the professionals if you are not comfortable or prepared to take the proper safety precautions.
2) Make it a habit. Spring is an ideal time to perform roof maintenance, especially after a harsh winter. Clean out gutters, remove any fallen branches, leaves or pine needle, trim vegetation away from the roof, and make sure that accessories such as snow guards are still in place. Come next winter storm, you’ll be glad you did.
3) Follow directions. Don’t overuse or abuse cleaning agents. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to help protect and maintain roof warranties. Never use steel wool, wire brushes, sandpaper, high pressure power washers, souring powders, paint removers or thinners on a metal roof. For more stubborn substances such as grease, tar or mildew, always follow the recommendations of the metal roof manufacturer.
3) Test carefully. If you’re unsure about a cleaning product, test it first by trying it on a small, less noticeable area before you use it on an entire roof.
For more information about the benefits and long-term, low maintenance performance of metal roofs, visit the Metal Roofing Alliance at www.metalroofing.com