A roof that needs to be cleanedRoof Cleaning & maintenance extends the life of your roof. Have you ever paid for a new roof? Expensive, right? There are things we can to to extend the life of a roof. There are things you can neglect that will cut the life of your roof in half. Here, we will take a look at what you can do to get a full life out of that roof of yours. Maybe even extend it a bit.

Cleaning Your Roof

Foam roof with leaves decaying
My roof prior to clean up

Maintaining your home’s roof begins with cleaning.

Once or twice a year the roof should be cleaned off. Do you have a pitched roof or a flat roof?

Leaves and dibris can get caught up there and make it difficult for your roof to drain. Leave the mess up there for too long and it can begin eroding your roof.

We are going to talk more about this further into the article. By getting up there and doing a little roof cleaning once or twice a year you will be eliminating lots of problems, and extending the life of your homes roof.

One of the disadvantages of a  solar system on your homes roof is that you’ve gotta keep the panels clear of leaves & trash. Solar panels only work if they can see the sun.

Different Roofs Mean Different Approaches

Pitched roofs have different challenges than flat roofs do.

Tile roofs are different from asphalt shingle roofs. Same is true for wood shake shingles, clay tile, concrete tile, metal, and foam roofs.

All of the various roofs can be a little unique to keep clean.

If you are uneasy about being on ladders and don’t see yourself climbing up onto a roof then just have a roofer or handyman perform these tasks.

If, on the other hand, you are up to it these are not complicated tasks.

Roof Cleaning – Valley Gutters

On pitched roofs there are typically valley’s where two opposing sides meet together and form an area that is designed to chase the water off of the roof that is gathered.

These valleys typically run all the way down towards the gutters or the edge of the roof. These valleys are notorious for collecting debris that can get stuck and make drainage difficult. Using a brook or blower can be a good way to clear the stuff out.

Dormers and Roof Penetrations

Dormers are another place where things like tree leaves can pile up. Same is true for any penetration going through the roof like vents, pipes, and antennas. Look around all of these and clear away the debris.

In some cases you may even have piles of stuff laying on portions of the roof. This is especially true on a flat roof. Again, just clear it away with a blower, or a broom.

Overhanging Tree Limbs

I really don’t want to trim my neighbor’s tree and pick up the leaves. If I don’t I’ll feel guilty, dammit!

If you have tree limbs that are growing you may need to do some seasonal pruning to keep the branches clear from your home.

Branches that hang over the roof portion of your home will definitely be a culprit in adding to the job.

Real Life Example

I personally have to deal with this every year myself.

I have a giant Chinese Elm in the front of my home. It’s a beauty, but she sheds her leaves when the cold comes and lots of that stuff ends up on my roof. It is really bad when the limbs get overgrown.

Part of my roof is flat and part is clay tile. Each has to be dealt with. The clay tile is easy form me to reach while I am standing on the flat portion of the roof. I just use my gas powered blower to clear it off.

tools for pruning the tree that is overhanging onto my roofI carry a trash can, broom, flat shovel, and tree trimming tools up to the roof. Once I get all of my tools up there the work begins. Taking care of this job is one of these things that will help keep up the value of my home.

Trim Tree Limbs

I start by trimming the big Chinese Elm. I cut away all of the overhanging branches that I can reach. It makes for a pretty big pile of limbs by the time I’m done.tree clippings

If some are too high, I will ask my community landscaper to complete the high work. He has those long extension pole trimming tools for that.

Then I just run around to the various areas of the roof and pick up all the leaves and things that the wind carries up there. This is the biggest part of the job. Sometimes I get 2 full 32 gallon trash cans full of leaves. If I get that much it’s a sign that I probably waited too long to get to this job.

Check Roof Penetrations

Look at all of the pipes that come out of the roof. Mine has quite a few. Each one of those penetrations has some kind of gook spread around the base of the pipe where it comes out of the roof.

Examine this area for cracks or blisters. If you see any of that you can carefully cut the blistered areas and then seal the area with a new layer of whatever kind of roofing sealant that is recommended for the job. Many of these materials are sold in one gallon buckets or caulking tubes.

Inspect Your Roof After Cleanup

Now that all of the debris are removed from the roof, and the penetrations are sealed it’s time to inspect as best you can. Focus in on one area at a time. Don’t let the scale of the roof overwhelm you. Just try to look at an area about the size of a bedroom and see if you notice anything out of place.

Take Note of Issues

You may see places where tiles or shingles are missing or damaged from wind, or hail. You may notice blisters in a flat roof. Take photos of each of these with your phone. Maintaining your home is actually fulfilling. Taking care of these cleaning jobs is one thing you can do to save money with your house.

Parapet Walls

Sometimes we have parapet walls that may be designed to hide things like air conditioning mechanical equipment on the roof. In today’s world solar is becoming more common, so sometimes solar panels are hidden behind these low walls so that can be hidden from view down on the ground.

Sometimes the tops of these walls can fail before the face of the wall will. Why? It’s because the top of the wall can be a moisture trap. Water may be able to stand on the tops of these walls and penetrated the structure. Examine these areas and look for cracks or blisters. Take note or photograph these problem areas that you find. If you are capable of sealing the damaged areas do so. Otherwise pass along your findings to your roofing contractor.

Organize your findings – Create Your ToDo List – Get Busy

You may have quite a list, and lots of photos of the problem areas. It doesn’t matter if you found one problem or 2 dozen issues; you have to deal with it. If you are handy and completely confident in your ability to perform the maintenance then get after it. If not, hire someone who is qualified to do the work.

By making sure that the roof cleaning is done annually you will extend the life of your roof and save yourself thousands of dollars in the long run. A little clean up, patching, sealing, and maintenance will go a long way.

More Related Articles

View All Home Maintenance Posts
Share