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Tips for Cleaning Your Tile Roof

If you’ve noticed dark areas or mold growing on your tile roof it’s probably time to look into the cleaning options available to you. While it is not advisable to pressure wash an asphalt shingle roof because it will force off the protective granules, it is a viable option for cleaning tile roofs. However, the chemical cleaning process is usually a better option–I’ll explain why.

Tile Clean Before and AfterThe dark areas that develop on tile roofs over tile often consist of accumulated dirt, but some of it is an actual living organism. It’s either some sort of fungus, algae, or lichen; all living organisms. Pressure washing will break the majority of the plant matter off of the surface of the tile, but it is not likely to kill it completely. Meaning that it is very likely to grow back soon with the regular weather cycle of sun and rain available to it. Another problem that can occur with pressure washing a tile roof is that it forces water into areas of the roof where you don’t want water to get–such as any breaks in the tile, vents, stacks, or other terminations points. Usually there is a fastener system underneath the tile and any water forced through can damage that system or possibly even the underlying decking.

Pro Tile Roof CleanOn the other hand, the chemical cleaning process penetrates the tile roof surface, killing any living root systems and getting rid of any plant material growing up there. This prevents any existing fungus, algae, or lichen from growing right back and you can go much longer in between roof cleanings–saving you both money and hassle in the long run. Be aware that not all chemical cleaners are the same and some may do a better job than others. So, while there isn’t an immediate visible difference between a tile roof that’s been pressure washed or chemically cleaned you will notice a difference in how long each service lasts.

Also, I would recommend hiring a professional service to do the cleaning. Roofs are most commonly on a slope and can be slippery; especially when they have fungus or algae growing on them. Roof cleaning services have special equipment and training to help minimize any risks posed by the job. If a homeowner did want to do it themselves they should be extremely careful and take every precaution to avoid personal injury.

One more thing to add is to protect any plants and landscaping that may be around the home. Try covering them with some type of tarp or plastic drop cloths, but be careful in hot weather when the tarp could trap heat in with the plants for too long which could also damage or kill them. If the cleaning agent being used will kill the microorganisms growing on the roof then it will likely damage any plants that are on the ground as well when it get rinsed off. Some professional roof cleaning companies have a system where they have someone on the ground spraying the surrounding plants off with water while the roof is rinsed off.

Keeping all of these points in mind, it’s a good idea to compare multiple roof cleaning services and see what all they offer as well as reading reviews from their past customers.

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