What Happens If You Don’t Clean Your Roof?
Everyone knows the importance of keeping a “roof over your head.” There’s a reason rooftops have their own idioms. They’re arguably the most important facet of a secure shelter, so much so that the word “roof” is metonymic, used to signify an entire home.
Yet, for all the security roofs provide us, we often don’t give them enough love and care. Roof care and cleaning is often forgotten until a problem arises, when it actually should be part of your regular home maintenance like mowing landscaping or repainting.
Why? Because failing to clean your roof could have serious – and dangerous – consequences.
Here’s why you should be cleaning your roof on a regular basis, and a breakdown of your options for roof maintenance.
Why You NEED to Clean Your Roof?
A clean roof is, of course, more attractive. Blotchy, stained roofs decrease your home’s curb appeal and make it more difficult and less lucrative to sell your house. But roof cleaning is not just an aesthetic consideration. It’s a serious structural liability.
Your roof’s job is literally to be exposed to the elements 24/7, but it needs TLC to continue to work effectively over time. Dirt, debris and leaves all find their way onto the roof, especially if you’re lucky enough to have trees on your property.
Add in moisture from rain, and leaves and debris turn into mold, mildew, algae, and bacteria which eat away at your roof and cause it to decay.
Algae specifically is both extremely common and extremely damaging to your roof. This blue-green invader actually feeds off asphalt and limestone roofing and thrives in low light. Its spores are transported by wind and animals, meaning it easily spreads from rooftop to rooftop in neighborhoods. And, algae not only wears away your roof but also affects the temperature inside your home. It turns into dark stains that soak up the sun and increase the heat of your roof, transferring that heat into your home. That can lead to a large increase in cooling and energy costs during the hot summer months.
Moss also presents a significant threat, as it holds in moisture and can cause shingles to lift or curl. Mold is an even more worrisome threat, as it presents a health hazard for your family.
Algae, mold, and moss all lead to rot, which can result in leaks that put all the personal property underneath your roof at risk. Rot is an invitation to pests and wildlife. Bugs, rodents, and pests are attractive by the fact that rotting roofs are easier to chew through. Bees and birds also look to roofs that house an active biosphere to make their nests and hives.
Another, often overlooked, benefit of cleaning your roof is that it protects its warranty. Although some homeowners are under the impression that having a warranty exempts them from cleaning their roof, most manufacturers actually include cleaning as regular maintenance that homeowners are responsible for.
In short, not cleaning your roof is the recipe for needing expensive repairs or a roof replacement.
The Three Possible Roof Maintenance Options
So you’ve realized how important it is to clean your roof. What options do you have?
There are only three possible prongs at the fork in the road of roof cleaning.
#1 – Do Nothing
When you choose not to undertake roof cleaning as part of your house’s maintenance, you’re simply going to have to replace your roof sooner.
Replacing a roof can cost upwards of $20,000. In fact, according to Angie’s List, roof replacement costs between $4,900 to $14,100 on average. Roof cleaning, on the other hand, costs a few hundred dollars
#2 – Try Cleaning It Yourself
Unless you have a penchant for heights, the idea of getting up on a ladder and cleaning your roof yourself probably doesn’t sound very appealing. You’d need to mix your own cleaning solution that can kill algae and moss, and most likely spend all day under the hot sun or in the cold wind scrubbing tough stains. Sounds fun, right?
Additionally, organisms that plague roofs are extremely difficult to remove. Take for example lichen, which grows root-like tentacles that penetrate deep into shingles.
Or, take mold, which can be nearly impossible to remove completely. We can’t tell you how many people have contacted us saying they’d tried to clean their roof themselves but could not get rid of yellow and black mold stains completely.
More importantly, cleaning your own roof is extremely dangerous. Roofing is the fourth riskiest job in the country, and even professionals need to be hospitalized and even die at shockingly high incidences. Plus, out of the 500,000 yearly falls from ladders, 97 percent occur at home.
And if all that’s not enough, mold, mildew and algae will regrow if not regularly treated with an effective solution.
#3 – Hire Professionals
Hiring a roof cleaning professional is the only way to ensure safety and efficacy. When done correctly, cleaning can help your roof look brand new and extends its life.
Professionals have the expertise and experience to work on every type of surface and know exactly how to eliminate mold, mildew, bacteria, and algae as well as how to get rid of stains. At Westlake HCS, we know how to treat your roof whether it’s asphalt, tile, metal, wood, slate, or shingle.
While standard high-pressure washers available at home improvement stores can harm shingles, professionals like us at Westlake HCS use special equipment (and know the difference between the two!) that does not harm your roof. We’re also fully insured and provide a no-damage guarantee because we don’t use high pressure! Learn more about the way we perform our roof washing service here.
Additionally, our proprietary eco-friendly cleaning solution that’s heads and shoulders above caustic DIY bleach and water solutions that harm plants, people, and pets.
Is Your Roof Due for Cleaning?
According to the National Roofing Association, “All roofs require periodic maintenance to achieve maximum roof life.” They recommend inspecting your roof at least twice a year.
Like changing your oil, roof cleaning protects your investment by extending the life of your roof. A clean, well-maintained roof will add years to its life and value to your home. More importantly, the structural damage caused by algae, mold, mildew, moss, and debris can put you and your family at risk.
If you think your roof is due for a cleaning, or are not sure whether it is, we can help. Our professional cleaners will provide an evaluation of your roof free of charge, and can provide no-contact roof cleaning services. Call us today or click here to start a free estimate.