Cleaning Shingle Roofs – A Step-by-Step Guide

Cleaning a residential shingle roofing system requires inspecting the roof

Keep your home’s roof from appearing old and dirty. Knowing how to properly clean a shingle roof helps maintain its curb appeal, allowing you to spot damage and defects before causing costly leaks.

Cleaning a residential shingle roofing system may require professional help

New Image Roofing Atlanta assembled the following step-by-step guide, demonstrating how to clean a shingle roof, what not to do, and when to call a professional roofer.

Cleaning a Shingle Roof – “Dos”

Before starting the cleaning process, conduct a thorough roof inspection. Look for damaged or missing shingles, areas with excessive moss or algae growth, and any signs of wear and tear (granule loss or Hail Damage). Addressing these issues beforehand is crucial to prevent further damage during cleaning.

Verify Proper Drainage – Your roof’s ability to efficiently shed water is crucial to prevent dirt, mold, and mildew buildup. Make sure valleys, gutters, and downspouts are debris-free and allow water to quickly and naturally drain from your roofing system.

Cleaning a residential shingle roofing system involes clearing valleys gutters and downspouts

Use the Right Cleaning Solution – Choose a cleaning solution for shingle roofs. Avoid harsh chemicals (they can damage the shingles and harm the environment). A mixture of water, mild detergent, and oxygen-based bleach is excellent for removing stains and debris.

Protect Your Landscaping – Wet your plants and landscaping around your home before applying a cleaning solution. Cover delicate plants with tarps to prevent damage from the cleaning solution. Rinse the plants thoroughly after cleaning to remove any residual solution.

Cleaning a residential shingle roofing system requires protecting plants and landscaping

Apply Cleaning Solution Evenly – Use a low-pressure sprayer or a garden hose with a soft spray attachment to apply the cleaning solution evenly across the roof. Allow the solution to sit for the recommended time to break down stains and organic growth.

Tip: Eliminate any guesswork and read the cleaning solution product label for its recommended use (application and removal).

Gentle Brushing for Stubborn Stains – Use a soft-bristled brush or broom to gently scrub the surface for stubborn stains or areas with heavy moss or algae growth. Avoid using abrasive tools or harsh brushes that will damage the shingles.

Rinse Thoroughly – After the cleaning solution has had sufficient time to work, rinse the roof thoroughly with a garden hose or a pressure washer (set to low pressure). Start from the top (and work your way down) to ensure all cleaning residues are washed away.

Regular Maintenance – Establish a routine for regular roof maintenance. Cleaning your shingle roof annually or biannually, depending on your climate, can help prevent debris and organic matter buildup.

Tip: Request a Roof Maintenance Program quote from your roofer. In most cases, you can determine how many visits and which maintenance activities will be performed.

Cleaning a Shingle Roof – “Don’ts”

Avoid High-Pressure Washing – While a pressure washer can be used for rinsing, avoid using high-pressure settings as they can severely damage shingles, dislodge granules, and compromise your roof integrity.

Cleaning a residential shingle roofing system without high pressure water

No Chlorine Bleach – Avoid using chlorine bleach (or other chlorine-based products) as a cleaning solution (it can discolor shingles), harm vegetation, and contribute to environmental pollution.

No Harsh Scrubbing – Refrain from using abrasive brushes, wire brushes, or tools that can scratch or gouge the shingle surface. Gentle scrubbing is sufficient to remove most stains without removing shingle granules.

Do Not Ignore Safety Precautions – Cleaning a roof can be hazardous (always prioritize safety). Use proper safety gear, including slip-resistant shoes, safety harnesses, and goggles. Work on dry days to minimize slip and fall risks.

Watch this video for a quick product and application demonstration.

When to Call a Professional Roofer

Extensive Damage – If your roof has extensive damage, like missing or damaged shingles, it is advisable to call a professional roofer. Attempting to clean a severely compromised roof without addressing underlying issues can worsen the damage significantly.

Steep Roofs – Steeply pitched roofs can be dangerous to navigate (especially without proper equipment). If your roof has a steep slope, it is safer to call a professional roofer with experience in roof cleaning.

Persistent Leaks – If you notice persistent leaks or water damage inside your home, it indicates potential roof issues. A professional roofer can assess the situation, identify the leak source, and recommend necessary repairs.

Lack of Experience – If you are uncomfortable or inexperienced in roof maintenance, it is best to call a professional. Roofers have the expertise, tools, and knowledge to properly clean and inspect roofs.

Call a professional roofer to clean a residential shingle roofing system

Aging Roofs – Older roofs may be more delicate and prone to damage. If your roof is aging, it is wise to consult a roofer who can assess its condition and recommend appropriate cleaning methods or repairs.

Shingle Roof Cleaning

In this article, you discovered how to properly clean a shingle roof without causing severe damage to its shingles.

Keeping your roof clean is crucial for its longevity and performance. It also helps maintain your home’s curb appeal and value.

Accumulated dirt, algae, moss, and debris (over the years) can compromise a shingle roof’s appearance and functionality. A dirty or damaged roof can adversely affect your home’s value.


  New Image Roofing Atlanta

    2020 Howell Mill Rd NW Suite 232
    Atlanta, GA 30318
    (404) 680-0041