Cleaning your roof tiles – Step by step guide

For protection against the harsh environmental elements such as snow, rain, sun the primary source of defence we have is our Roofs. Which is why maintaining roofs is very important. The defence mechanism of any system must stay maintained, same as in the case of Roofs, once they get damaged, they won’t be able to protect us anymore. We need our roofs to last longer. Concrete, metal, and synthetic tile roofs last only for 50 years, clay tiles on the other hand last for about 100 years.

Regular cleaning of the roof can ensure the good condition and can also make the appearance aesthetically pleasing. Cleaning and organizing things should be done on a regular basis because it increases the lifespan of things, and to improve the lifespan and condition of roofs cleaning must be the first step.

In this blog, we will tell you why you should keep your roofs clean and how you can keep them clean in such a way that it enhances the beauty of the tile roof.

Does a Tile Roof Need Cleaning?

Cleaning is a very easy and effective way to keep things clean and to protect them from damage as well. Roofs require maintenance, and why should it not, it protects us from harsh climatic conditions. Cleaning tile roofs can bring out its appearance and can make it shine, it can also protect from corrosion, cracking, or any other form of breakage. However, many people are not aware about the importance of keeping their roofs clean. They put it off because they think that it might damage the roof or most of the time, they don’t know about how to do it properly.

Moss: Moss acts like a sponge, it absorbs water and moisture. The growth of moss on the roof tiles can lead to softening and splitting of the tiles because the moisture seeps in and makes the element brittle. Once the tiles start cracking up the moisture is then absorbed by the woods and other structural material leading to structural damage.

Roofs are designed in such a way that there is a slope to allow easy drainage of water or moisture. The moss, algae, or lichen can act as an obstacle or a barrier on the path, which can result in standing water leading to severe roof damage. Lichen on your roof can be extremely damaging, especially if left untreated- because it actually sets up “roots” in your roof, and will destroy the roof whenever you come around to cleaning it.

Roofs are exposed to air, air can bring in dust, airborne pollen, soot, residue etc which can greatly disturb a person with asthma or any other allergies. Any person who has health issues will not be able to enjoy outdoor time because of the debris that has settled itself on the roof inside the cracks.

Some debris such as twigs or leaves can find their way inside the cracks which will result in loosening of the tiles and therefore increasing the risk of losing the tiles because of a severe windstorm. If you do not treat the debris it can cause water damage, and breakage of the roof tiles.

How Often Should You Schedule Tile Roof Cleaning?

Most owners schedule the first cleaning after five years of installation of the roof and after that every other year or sometimes every 2 years. It is okay to schedule the cleaning every year but there are certain reasons that can persuade you to schedule roof cleanings more consistently.

Humid environment is the most favourable environment for the growth of algae and moss. Therefore, homes in humid or tropic regions have more risk of algae or moss growth in between the roof tiles. If you are cleaning your roofs every year then it can limit the growth of algae or moss, and your roof will stay clean for the next year.

Homes in dusty areas such as construction zones are likely to get layer and layers of dust and dirt piled up on top of the roof. If you are not cleaning the debris within a year, the piled-up dust can seep through and can cause water damage or corrosion. And most importantly getting a layer of dust off us is much easier than cleaning years of piled up dirt.

Even after the stormy season it is very important to schedule a roof cleaning because storms can bring in a lot of debris which can be very harmful for the roof and can lead to severe damage. The debris can also act as a water barrier.

Steps

When you have scheduled the roof cleaning, then you have two options: you can either go for a professional cleaner or you can do it yourself. If you have chosen the second option then you must own the following essential tools for the entire process.

Tools and Essentials Required

Pressure Washer

Pressure water with appropriate nozzle sizes is a must in the roof cleaning process. The nozzles must be according to your tile type. Concrete tiles have small pores in them which require an extra brush for manually brushing the debris away or you can do it with a pressure washer with approximately 1.500 psi.

Ladder

For reaching the roof and making sure that pressure washer reaches every corner, and nothing is left behind.

Plywood

Plywood is for creating a large surface so that your weight is distributed, and the pressure of your weight doesn’t break the roof tiles. Note: you can foam trat the insides of the plywood to decrease the pressure.

Cleaning Chemicals

Professional cleaners use sodium hydroxide-based cleaning chemicals. Because they are environment friendly and highly effective. Chlorine and water solution is also very effective and is a cheaper option.

Primers, sealant, Paint

Pressure washer can erode the paint and tile coatings. Newly prepared tiles are prone to dirt and moisture which we know can result in damage. Pain is for recoating and sealing the tiles to protect them from moisture or damage.

Replacement tiles

While you are cleaning you can also replace some of the cracked or loose tiles for maintenance purposes. Plus, replacement tiles can also come in handy if you in case while cleaning damage some of the tiles.

Dry rugs

For polishing the roof.

Do inspection for faults or damage

Before spraying the water from the pressure washer, inspect all the faults and damages, for example if the roof is broken, or is there any sort of water leakage, is there any window edge that requires fixing and whether the roof ridge is entirely intact. Without inspection if you are going to spray the water directly you will have water dripping in your house from the leakages which can lead to mould growth, bad odour which can result in formation of natural habitat for termites.

Use pressure washer

Using a pressure washer can save you a lot of time than manually cleaning all your tiles with some water and a rug. High pressure water will explode on your roof and will easily clean all the debris. If you are using the pressure washer only then using cleaning chemicals is entirely unnecessary.

You will have to adjust the water settings; you can achieve this by experimenting with different pressures. It is important to note that the setting must be adjusted in such a way that you are only able to see that the tiles are getting cleaned. But not so high that it will cause damage to the tiles.

When you are walking across the roof make sure that you do not step on any moss or algae. Start from the top left corner, clean your way downwards the entire strip, repeat until you have covered the entire roof.

If there is any sort of stubborn debris or moss you will have to use anti moss treatment to clean the tiles perfectly.

Applying anti moss spray

Anti-moss treatment will force the moss to detach itself from your roof. The anti-moss treatment is added to the pressure washer and then sprayed upon the entire roof using the same method as mentioned earlier. For this step it is necessary to take safety precautions such as wearing safety gloves for stopping the chemicals reaching your hands.

When you are planning to have an anti-moss treatment you will have to divert the pipes from your garden, and from your rainwater tank.

Once you have sprayed the roof with anti-moss treatment then you will have to wait for it to sink in and work its magic. After that you can spray clean water. Now you will not find that stubborn plant attached to your roof!

Conclusion

Regular cleaning of roof tiles is extremely important to keep it aesthetically pleasing and damage free. Cleaning the roof tiles can also increase its lifespan, if you find it hard to clean the roof tiles yourselves then you can go ahead and contact some professionals to do it for you. The main goal is to make sure that your rooftops stay debris and moss free. Because debris can lead to damage which can result in water leakage, and no one wants water dripping on their head 24/7.