Homeowners: Is Roof Cleaning Really Necessary?

While you may have meticulous landscaping, beautiful windows, and a charming mailbox, black streaks and stains covering your roof will drastically decrease your home’s curb appeal.


What causes those ugly, black stains? How do I fix them?

According to experts in the roofing industry, these stains are caused by an algae, Gloeocapsa magma. Costing only a fraction of replacement cost, cleaning it is usually your most cost-effective solution.

These stains first became an issue when roofing manufacturers started adding limestone to the shingle coating. The Gleocapsa magma survives through feeding on this limestone filler and photosynthesis.

Even though manufacturers are adding other materials to stop algae growth, we still get calls to clean relatively new roofs. Some manufacturers are adding copper or zinc to hinder algae growth, but their benefits can wear down over time.

You’ll notice most of the staining on the northern facing side of your roof. It’s darker and wetter, making it ideal for algae growth. Lower humidity areas of the country have fewer occurrences of staining, while the problem is very common in the warm and humid Southeast.

While these dark stains are unattractive, roofing experts agree that the greatest harm to the roof is from moisture retention and root damage that algae and other living organisms can cause. When fungus and algae grow together, they form lichen. This lichen will wrap it’s roots around and feed off the granules in your shingles. Once lichen is established, it’s very difficult to remove. Scrubbing or pressure washing lichen can cause extensive damage.

How much does roof cleaning cost?

The average cost of roof cleaning starts at $500 and can go up to $1,500+ depending on your roof’s size, pitch, and height. Before making the decision to have your roof cleaned, make sure you have a good idea of your roofs condition and age, then compare costs accordingly. In most all cases, cleaning is the better option and definitely less expensive.

What should I know before hiring a roof cleaning contractor?

– Verify insurance. You should never let anyone work on your roof without the proper liability and workman’s comp insurance. If someone gets hurt on your property and workman’s comp is not in play, you could have some serious problems.

– Verify that your contractor will not be using a pressure washer on your roof. It’s a common issue with contractors unwilling to invest in the equipment to properly and safely clean your roof. This will cause damage in almost all cases.

– ARMA (Asphalt Roofing Manufacturer’s Association) recommends a chemical soft washing process to remove this organic growth from shingles. It’s very important that your roof cleaning company has a process in place to prevent damage to your landscaping from runoff. Make sure they are covering any sensitive plants and constantly watering down any exposed landscaping. When done correctly, damage to landscaping is not an issue to worry with.

– Ask how long the results from the cleaning should last. Any legitimate roof cleaning company should be willing to give you a streak-free guarantee of at least  years. Shy away from anyone who doesn’t.

Auburn House Wash serves the Auburn, Montgomery, Lake Martin, Lake Harding, and Columbus markets. We clean hundreds of roofs per year and we have the experience, staff, and equipment to clean your roof in a safe and efficient manner.

For a quick and easy roof cleaning quote for your home, please visit https://auburnhousewash.com/quote/.

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