Protecting Your Investment: 5 Roof Cleaning Myths

Moss covered roof - roof cleaning

Roofs, like every other part of your home, need routine maintenance. Regular inspections will allow you to catch possible issues while they can be more easily repaired. Cleaning will increase the life expectancy of your roof. Debris, stains, moss, and lichen do more than detract from the appearance and value of your home. They can create more serious issues later.


Myth: Roof moss is a cosmetic issue so it can be ignored.

Moss and lichen can damage shingles. This includes the UV protection properties of the shingles. The result is a warmer home and higher cooling bills (if you’re fortunate enough to have AC). Their root growth can lift roof tiles making them more susceptible to wind damage. They can trap debris and retain water.

Algae growth is another serious issue.


Myth: Those black stains are caused by pollution.

The stains are caused by Gloeocapsa Magma, a hardy type of algae which thrives in our damp environment and on the limestone filler in shingles (it helps retain the moisture and creates the perfect ‘organic’ food).

Failing to remove it allows the condition to worsen each year. The eventual build up can affect interior temperatures, decrease property values, and will lead to replacing your roof sooner than expected.


Myth: It’s only necessary to clean sections of the roof with growth or visible stains.

When it comes to algae, the dark stains you see are the result of the bacteria develop their dark and hard UV-protective outer coating (Wikipedia). Not seeing stains doesn’t mean algae isn’t present. It means the growth hasn’t reached its advanced stage. Proper treatment requires cleaning your entire roof.


Myth: Roof cleaning is an easy DIY project.

While you can rent a pressure washer and buy what you need to do the job, you are better leaving it to the professionals. Cleaning a roof on your own, aside from the risks which come from climbing ladders and being on a wet, possibly slippery or weak roof (when was it inspected last?), can result in additional damage. Pressure washing done incorrectly can damage tiles, flashing, chimneys, and gutters. Incorrect application of chemicals and retardants won’t eliminate all of the moss or algae growth or will lead to future growth sooner than later. Improper cleaning can also void your manufacturer’s warranty.

While you can do it yourself. The risk, time, and cost involved are not worth the outcome.


Myth: Roof cleaning is expensive.

Expensive is a relative term. Your home is your single largest investment. Your roof is arguably the most important part of your home – and one of the most expensive to replace. Proper care will maintain the value of your investment and the life expectancy of your roof.

As an added thought, given the potential future damage moss, lichen, and algae can cost, some insurance providers could cancel or increase the cost of your policy for failing to keep your roof clean. (We definitely recommend you check with your provider as they may have a clause requiring routine cleaning as well.)


Protect your investment.

When you consider it not improves the look of your home and extends the life of your roof, having a roof professionally cleaned is one of the smartest and most cost-effective things a homeowner can do to protect their investment.

2 replies
  1. Rebecca Gardner
    Rebecca Gardner says:

    I’m glad you explained that roof cleaning isn’t a DIY project and should be left to a professional. My husband mentioned he wants to improve our home’s curb appeal by cleaning the roof and siding before summer. I’m glad I read your article and learned why hiring a house soft wash service would be better than trying to handle the job ourselves.

  2. Vivian Black
    Vivian Black says:

    We have been considering cleaning our roof for a year now. Thank you for your contribution to the dangers of making it a DIY project, particularly on the safety of getting a professional. Knowing that the roof can be slippery and dangerous is concerning. Also, I wouldn’t have considered that pressure washing done incorrectly could damage tiles, flashing, the chimney, and gutters. I will be calling a roofer for sure.


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