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How to Clean a Metal Roof: A Complete Guide for Homeowners.

01/19/24 | Roofing

Many homeowners choose metal roofs for their durability, energy efficiency, and eco-friendliness. Metal roofs can last for decades, withstand fire and wind, and lower your cooling bills by reflecting heat and sunlight. But like any roof, metal roofs need regular cleaning and maintenance to stay in good shape and look nice.

You can clean a metal roof easily if you follow some safety measures and use the right methods. In this article, we will tell you why, how often, and how to clean your metal roof. We will also give you some special tips for cleaning metal roofs in Florida, where the weather and environment can make it harder.

Why Should You Clean Your Metal Roof?

Cleaning your metal roof regularly has many benefits, such as:

  • Making your metal roof last longer. Dirt, debris, pollutants, and other elements can damage the paint or the metal of your roof. This can lead to corrosion, rust, fading, chalking, or cracking. These problems can shorten the life and performance of your metal roof. You can prevent them by cleaning your metal roof at least once a year. This will protect your roof from early wear and tear and keep it in good shape for longer.
  • Making your metal roof look better. A dirty metal roof can look dull, stained, or discolored. This can make your home look less appealing. You can improve the appearance of your metal roof by cleaning it regularly. This will bring back its original shine and color and make it more attractive and inviting.
  • Keeping your home healthy and safe. Mold and mildew can grow on moist and shady areas of your metal roof. They can feed on organic materials such as leaves, twigs, or pollen on the roof. Mold and mildew can harm your health and your family’s health. They can cause allergies, breathing problems, headaches, and other symptoms. You can stop them from growing by cleaning your metal roof periodically. This will remove any sources of mold and mildew and keep your home healthy and safe.

How Often Should You Clean Your Metal Roof?

Several factors affect how often you should clean your metal roof, such as:

  • Type and color of your metal roof. Different types and colors need different cleaning schedules. For example, steel roofs rust more easily than aluminum roofs, so they need more frequent cleaning. Dark-colored roofs also need more cleaning than light-colored ones, because they absorb more heat and dirt, and fade and chalk more.
  • Location and environment of your home. Your home’s location and environment also matter. For example, coastal areas have more salt spray and humidity, which can corrode and discolor your metal roof. You need to clean it more often than in inland areas. Urban areas have more pollution and smog, which can stain and deteriorate your metal roof. You need to clean it more often than in rural areas.
  • Weather and season of the year. The weather and season also make a difference. For example, rainy or snowy areas have more moisture and snow, which can rust and grow algae on your metal roof. You need to clean it more often than in dry or sunny areas. Hot or cold areas have more extreme temperatures, which can expand and contract your metal roof, causing cracks and peels. You need to clean it more often than in moderate or mild areas.

You should clean your metal roof at least once a year, preferably in spring or fall, when the weather is mild and dry. But the factors above may change how often you need to clean it. To find out the best cleaning schedule for your metal roof, check the manufacturer’s instructions, or ask a professional metal roofing contractor.

Tools and Products for Cleaning.

You need these tools and products to clean your metal roof safely and effectively:

  • Ladder: Use a sturdy and stable ladder that reaches the highest point of your roof. Place it on a level and solid ground and have someone hold it for you or use a stabilizer or an anchor to prevent slipping or falling.
  • Safety harness: Wear a safety harness to avoid falling off the roof. Attach it to a strong and reliable feature of your roof, such as a chimney or a ridge clamp, and fit and adjust it properly. Also wear non-slip shoes and gloves to improve your grip and prevent injuries.
  • Garden hose: Use a garden hose with a spray nozzle or a wand attachment to rinse your metal roof with water. Use the jet setting to create a pressurized stream of water that removes dirt and debris from the roof surface. Do not use a pressure washer, as it can damage the paint system or the metal substrate of your roof, or force water under the seams and flashings, causing leaks and moisture problems.
  • Cleaning solution: Use a cleaning solution to dissolve and wash away any stubborn stains or spots on your metal roof. Use a mild detergent, such as car washing soap or dish soap, mixed with water, or a commercial metal roof cleaner that is specially formulated for metal roofs. Do not use harsh chemicals, such as bleach, ammonia, or chlorine, as they can corrode or discolor your metal roof, or damage the surrounding vegetation and property. Do not use abrasive tools, such as steel wool, wire brushes, or sandpaper, as they can scratch or dent your metal roof.
  • Sponge, microfiber cloth, or soft-bristled brush: Use a sponge, a microfiber cloth, or a soft-bristled brush to apply the cleaning solution and scrub the roof surface gently and evenly. Do not use a hard-bristled brush or a metal scraper, as they can damage the paint system or the metal substrate of your roof.

How to Clean Your Metal Roof in Six Steps.

  1. Choose a dry and overcast day to clean your metal roof. This way, you can avoid slipping on wet surfaces or getting blinded by the sun. Also, check the weather forecast for no rain or wind for the next 24 hours. Your roof needs to dry completely without water spots or streaks.
  2. Gather your tools and products and put them in a handy place. Wear protective clothing and gear, such as long sleeves, pants, shoes, gloves, goggles, and a hat. Cover or move any plants, furniture, or objects near your roof. You don’t want them to get wet or damaged by the cleaning solution or the runoff.
  3. Set up your ladder and safety harness following the safety guidelines and instructions. Have a partner to help you and watch you on the roof. Never clean your metal roof alone or without safety equipment.
  4. Rinse your metal roof with water using your garden hose and nozzle or wand attachment. Start from the top and work your way down. Spray water thoroughly and evenly to remove any loose dirt and debris. Pay attention to areas that collect more dirt and debris, such as valleys, ridges, seams, flashings, vents, and skylights. Make sure they are clean and clear.
  5. Apply the cleaning solution and scrub the surface. Mix the cleaning solution as instructed and pour it into a bucket or a spray bottle. Apply it to your metal roof with a sponge, a microfiber cloth, or a soft-bristled brush. Start from the top and work your way down. Let the cleaning solution sit for 5 to 10 minutes, or as directed, to loosen and dissolve any stains or spots. Then, scrub the surface gently and circularly with the same tool. Rinse the tool often with clean water to avoid spreading dirt and debris
  6. Rinse your metal roof with water again to remove any cleaning solution and dirt. Start from the top and work your way down. Spray water evenly and thoroughly. Pay attention to areas that retain more water, such as valleys, ridges, seams, flashings, vents, and skylights. Make sure they are dry and clean. Dry your metal roof with a towel or a squeegee. Start from the top and work your way down. This will prevent water spots or streaks. Check for any wet or dirty areas and repeat the cleaning process if needed.

How to Clean and Maintain your Roof in Florida.

Living in Florida can pose some extra challenges for metal roof owners. The climate and environment can wear out your metal roof faster. Here are some common problems and how to prevent them:

  • Salt spray and corrosion. The ocean can spray salt on your metal roof if you live near the coast. This can make your roof rusty and dull. To avoid this, rinse your roof with fresh water often, at least every three months or as the manufacturer suggests. Use a metal roof cleaner that can remove salt and protect your roof from corrosion.
  • Mold and algae growth. Your metal roof can get moldy and green if you live in a humid or rainy area. This can ruin the paint or the metal itself. To avoid this, use a bleach solution with a lot of water to kill and remove any mold and algae from your roof. Trim any branches or plants that can give shade and moisture to mold and algae.
  • Hurricane damage. Your metal roof can get damaged by hurricanes if you live in a risky area. High winds, flying debris, or hail can dent, crack, or puncture your roof. To avoid this, check your roof before and after each hurricane season and look for any damage. Fix or replace any damaged parts as soon as you can to prevent more problems.

How to Maintain your Roof.

Besides cleaning your metal roof, you also need to do some regular maintenance tasks, such as:

  • Check and fix the sealants and caulking. Look for any cracks, gaps, or deterioration around the seams, flashings, vents, and skylights of your metal roof. Reapply or replace any damaged or missing sealants or caulking to prevent water leakage and moisture damage.
  • Check and fix the paint system. Look for any fading, chalking, peeling, or cracking on the paint system of your metal roof. Touch up or repaint any damaged or worn out areas to restore the appearance and protection of your metal roof.
  • Check and fix the metal substrate. Look for any rusting, corrosion, or perforation on the metal substrate of your metal roof. Clean and treat any rusted or corroded areas with a rust converter or a metal primer to stop the rust from spreading and damaging the metal roof. Replace any perforated or severely damaged areas to avoid structural problems.

Conclusion.

You can clean and maintain your metal roof easily if you follow some precautions and proper methods.

This article showed you the steps and tips to keep your metal roof clean and beautiful for years. Always check the manufacturer’s instructions, or ask a professional metal roofing contractor, if you have any questions or concerns about your metal roof.

We appreciate your reading, and I hope this article was helpful and interesting.

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