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How To Clean A Metal Roof 

Posted on February 3, 2023

Estimated Reading Time : 5 Min.

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How to clean a metal roof

Don’t let your metal roof fall victim to unsightly streaks, discoloration, rust, and corrosion. By taking the time to clean it, you can maintain its beauty and extend its lifespan. With our comprehensive guide, cleaning your metal roof should be easy. Read our step-by-step guide to ensure your metal roof is up to date. 

Pro Tips To Clean Your Metal Roof

Here is a list of steps you need to consider before, and during, the cleaning process.

Preparation for Cleaning

Before cleaning a roof, you should take the following steps listed below to maximize your efficiency. 

A. Safety Precautions Before Cleaning

Before cleaning a metal roof, it is important to take the necessary safety precautions to avoid any potential accidents or injuries. This includes wearing appropriate safety gear such as gloves, protective eyewear, and non-slip shoes. It’s also important to secure any loose items on the roof and make sure that the ladder or scaffolding being used is secure and stable.

B. Gathering Necessary Tools

Before starting the cleaning process, it’s important to gather all of the necessary supplies ahead of time to ensure that the cleaning process is efficient. This may include specialized cleaners, soap and water, a soft-bristled brush, gloves, protective eyewear, and a ladder or scaffolding.

C. Pre-Cleaning Inspection

It’s important to perform a pre-cleaning inspection and evaluation before beginning the cleaning process. This may include checking the roof’s surface for any damaged or missing shingles, checking for any leaks, and determining the type of growth that is present on the roof.

Cleaning Techniques

Cleaning techniques require some effective tools, such as a soft-bristled brush, soap or solution, water, and a ladder. 

A. Soft Washing

Soft washing involves a mixture of low-pressure water spray and a specialized cleaning solution. This gentle approach is ideal for cleaning most types of metal roofing and effectively removes dirt, debris, and any algae or moss growth. Soft washing is favored by many for cleaning metal roofs due to its non-abrasive nature, which helps prevent damage to the roof’s surface.

B. Scrubbing With Soap And Water

As a manual cleaning method, scrubbing a metal roof with soap and water involves applying a solution of soap and water to the roof’s surface and then scrubbing it with a soft-bristled brush. This technique effectively removes dirt and debris, making it an ideal choice for metal roofs that are not too dirty. However, it’s important to note that scrubbing can be both time-consuming and physically demanding.

Types of Growth On Metal Roofs

Before cleaning your roof, you should be aware of the growth that can occur on your roof and how to clean each type.

A. Algae

Algae is a type of growth that appears on metal roofs in response to humidity and trapped moisture. By coming in contact with water and air, the growth of algae increases over time if it goes unchecked. Additionally, if it is not addressed, algae growth can result in the deterioration and discoloration of metal surfaces. 

B. Moss

Moss growth on metal roofs is a common issue that occurs in damp and shady areas. The moist and shady conditions provide an ideal environment for moss to thrive and quickly spread on the roof’s surface. If left unchecked, the accumulation of moss can hold moisture and cause the roof to deteriorate over time. 

Additionally, moss can clog gutters and downspouts, leading to water pooling on the roof and further promoting moss growth.

C. Lichen

Lichen is a combination of algae and fungi that grow together and can create a crusty and bumpy texture on the roof’s surface. If lichen growth on a metal roof is left unchecked it can lead to discoloration and unsightly streaks. It also reduces the roof’s ability to reflect UV rays and causes it to deteriorate over time.

D. Dirt And Debris

Dirt and debris can accumulate on metal roofs over time, potentially leading to clogged gutters and downspouts which aids in moss growth. This buildup of dirt and debris can also cause the roof to deteriorate and develop leaks over time.

Rust And Corrosion Of Metal Roofs

Rust occurs when metal reacts with moisture and oxygen, causing it to oxidize and form a reddish-brown coating. This can weaken the roofing structure and make it vulnerable to leaks and other damage. Additionally, corrosion occurs when metal reacts with other substances in the environment and forms an oxide layer, which can affect the roof’s appearance and performance. 

By removing dirt, debris, and other materials that can contribute to their formation, the roof can remain free from rust and corrosion and perform optimally.

To learn more about the lifespan of metal roofs, and what affects them, read our blog on how long a metal roof lasts.

Can You Pressure Wash Your Metal Roof? 

Pressure Wash Your Metal Roof
Pressure Wash Your Metal Roof

We don’t recommend that homeowners pressure wash their metal roofs for many reasons. However, the answer to this question truly depends on the different styles of metal roofs. Read the next section to learn about the styles of metal roofs and their response to pressure washing. 

Cleaning Techniques For Different Metal Roof Styles

Not all metal roofs can withstand pressurized water as it can make dents and cracks in the metal roofs, leaving them to leak water. Therefore, you must understand the style of your metal roof and its respective cleaning method. 

Standing Seam Metal Roofs

Standing seam metal roofs require a different approach when it comes to cleaning. Unlike corrugated metal roofs, standing seam roofs are more delicate and require a gentler touch. 

Therefore, you should avoid the pressure washer, as high pressure can cause damage to the seams and seals. Instead, clean a standing seam metal roof through the use of a specialized cleaner, or by applying a solution of soap and water with a soft-bristled brush.

Corrugated Metal Roofs

When it comes to cleaning corrugated metal roofs, their durability allows for the use of a pressure washer. However, it is important to choose a pressure washer with a low to medium-pressure setting and take precautions while cleaning. 

Stand at a safe distance from the roof and avoid pointing the pressure washer directly at the roof’s seams. This ensures that the cleaning is effective without causing any damage to the roofing material.

Metal Shingle Roofs

Metal shingle roofs are similar to corrugated metal roofs in terms of durability and can also withstand a high-pressure stream of water from a pressure washer. However, it’s important to be careful when cleaning a metal shingle roof to avoid damaging the shingles, or their seals.

Powder Coated Metal Roofs

Some homeowners may choose to coat their metal roofs to give them better protection from the elements. One example of this is powder-coated metal roofs. You may think that because of the protective coat, you wouldn’t be able to use a power washer, but this isn’t the case. 

As long as you use a low setting on your pressure washer, you will be able to effectively clean a powder-coated metal roof, or other types of metal roofs that are coated. 

Maintain Your Roof With Professionals Before It’s Too Late

While cleaning and inspecting your roof, if you see any kind of growth and damage which needs professional inspection or repair in Wisconsin, call BRH Enterprises today at (920)-249-4228 for a free consultation and inspection. We will be happy to help you.

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