Professional Roof Cleaning

     That depends.  It is deadly to algae, mold, mildew, fungi, and bacteria.  It can be unsafe if you are not properly trained in ladder usage and safety.  It can be unsafe if you are not properly trained in the use, application, and storage of chemicals.  Even professional roof cleaners can be injured or worse if they become unfocused and stop paying close attention to what they’re doing and to their surroundings as well.  We do not recommend roof cleaning as a do-it-yourself type project because of the possibility of injury and the fact that homeowners don’t possess the specialized equipment and knowledge necessary to properly clean a roof.  Besides, what price tag can you put on your weekend or vacation?  I’m sure that you’ll agree, the cost of a professional roof cleaning is worth not having to spend your precious time off trying to clean your own roof.  Remember, it will take a team of at least two experienced professionals with specialized equipment at least an hour and a half to properly clean a roof.  For a homeowner that translates to an all day job.   (Do you want to spend all day working with your wife on another “honey do” project?  If you answered “no” you can get your neighbor to help, but by the time you reciprocate your entire weekend will be shot.)  Even if you are willing to use a pump-up or a backpack sprayer, you still don’t have our proprietary recipe, so what ARE you going to put in the sprayer.  (Make sure you get it right, ’cause you don’t want to have to do it again.) 

     The most effective way to remove all the personal danger from roof cleaning is to hire a professional roof cleaner.  Trust me, it’s just one of  those things you should hire a professional for.  When my tonsils needed to be removed, I had plenty of sharp knives and a couple of mirrors on hand.  However, even though I am an admitted tightwad, I hired a doctor to remove them.  It just made more sense to leave it to a trained professional rather than trying to broaden my horizons.   Before you decide that I’m just a fraidycat and try to tackle cleaning your roof all by your lonesome, please hear me out.  I cut my own grass, I change my own oil, I even built a 400 square foot shed in my back yard and I even added three new levels to my existing deck, but like Clint Eastwood said, “a man must know his limitations.”  Cleaning a roof is not really all that hard either, it’s just that the potential for risk of life, limb, appendage, and property damage is too great unless you have the proper equipment and training.  Besides, wouldn’t you rather be golfing, fishing, boating, camping, hiking, watching TV, napping, or doing just about anything else besides trying to figure out how to clean your roof?  The figuring it out part is the easy part too.  The difficult part is execution, particularly with a pump-up or a backpack sprayer.  The one good thing about cleaning your own roof is that you’ll get plenty of exercise just going up and down the ladder every time you empty your sprayer and have to mix up a new batch of roof cleaner.  Obviously it’s your call, but roof cleaning can be very dangerous and is one of those things best left to a professional.

     We think it was bad parenting, but the algae school system probably bears some of the blame as well.  Seriously, algae really is bad for a number of reasons.  It will eat (literally consume) asphalt shingles, it will dull vinyl siding, it is rough on paint, and it looks awful on your concrete.  It also travels with a posse of undesirables (mold, mildew, fungi, and bacteria).  These aren’t your traditional home-wreckers, but they can certainly do a number on your home if you don’t stay after them.    By “stay after” we actually mean “kill and remove” but we never know if small children might be reading, so we try to keep our language gentle. 

     Algae on you roof is actually the worst.  Algae can do real, quantifiable damage to your asphalt shingles.  That’s not what is commonly considered “good.”  Shingle manufacturers have been aware of roof algae like Gloeocapsa Magma for years.  believe it or not, shingle manufacturers are actually on YOUR side in the fight against G.M.  They did a bit of research and development and came out with “algae resistant” shingles.  These shingles can withstand algae better than their predecessors could, but they could still use the occasional Certified Professional Roof Cleaning as a type of preventative maintenance.  Let’s talk dollars and sense for a minute.  If you pay for 30 year shingles, it’s only natural that you want your shingles to last 30 years or longer.  (We’re WITH ya brother!  I come from a long line of tightwads.)  Now, since you were bright enough to buy those algae resistant shingles, it stands to reason that you know the difference between algae “resistant” and algae “proof.” 

     While we don’t want to underestimate the research and development types who are working for the shingle manufacturers, we think that making an algae “proof” shingle is a pretty tall order.  That’s why we’re recommending that at the first sign of algae (or even before if you want) you should contact a certified professional roof cleaner and get yourself a non pressure professional roof cleaning.  Not only will this NOT void your warranty, it will keep your shingles healthy and whole.  If your professional roof cleaner offers one, we highly recommend a maintenance plan as well.  This will ensure that algae and his nasty little friends are unable to gain a foothold on your roof.  I think it was Ben Franklin who famously said “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  If you don’t know where to find a Professional Certified Roof Cleaner follow this link to the RCIA (Roof Cleaning Institute of America).  Good luck and happy hunting!

     NOW!!!  That’s right, right now!  The longer you wait, the more opportunity you are giving the enemy (Gloeocapsa Magma & his pals mold, mildew, fungi, and bacteria) to destroy your shingles and foster unhealthiness just a few feet from where you and your family sleep.  If it’s between 7:00 AM and 9:00 PM as you are reading this, call a professional (preferrably RCIA Certified) roof cleaner.  If they don’t answer leave a message, they’ll return your call.  If it’s currently between 9:00 PM and 7:00 AM where you are, write yourself a note so you remember to call tomorrow.  This is very important!  What are you waiting on?  Call now! 

     See?  That wasn’t so bad.  Professional roof cleaners are nice people, particularly the RCIA Certified ones.  If you are wondering how much a professional roof cleaning is going to cost you, and whether or not you can afford it, knock it off and quit acting like a cry-baby.  Of course you can afford it!  Actually, you can’t afford not to do it.  Even if money is tight, you really should not neglect your roof.  The best analogy I can give you is that roof cleaning is maintenance, like having the oil changed in your car.  Either you can pay a little now, and every so often, or you can pay a LOT later.  While the price varies by area and some other factors, a professional roof cleaning will cost less than lawn service for a year or taking your car to a carwash every week of the year.  The good news is that you don’t need to have your roof cleaned every year which makes it less expensive than maintaining the appearance of your lawn or you car. 

     The one exception to this rule is if you opt for a maintenance plan on your roof cleaning.  Not all professional roof cleaners offer this service, but if you find one that does, it can be an excellent way to save money.  The way my company handles this is by doing a follow-up cleaning each year after your initial roof cleaning.  I’m not going to go into detail here, because competitors regularly read this blog for education AND amusement and I don’t want to give away any secrets, but our annual customers enjoy a considerable cost savings over customers who call us on their schedule. 

     Let’s review.  The best time to have your roof cleaned is when?  No! Not now.  It was a couple of minutes ago, when you were reading the first paragraph.  That’s when you were supposed to call a professional (preferably RCIA Certified) roof cleaner.  You should have called before you continued reading.  Now, when is the second best time to have your roof cleaned?  I hope you answered now, since you allowed the first best time to pass you by.  Maybe in the next installment we’ll work on listening to and following directions.   But then again, maybe not.  I guess you’ll just have to wait and see.  Bye now.

 
Before
This is an example of a moderate to severe algae infestation.
After
Here is the same roof, but after a professional cleaning.

  I was talking to a nice gentleman this morning about roof cleaning.  (I know, I really need to get a life).  Anyway, he lives in a nice communty that was built about seven years ago and they are starting to get roof algae or Gloeocapsa Magma.  He told me that they had had multiple “roof cleaners” out to look at the problem, including yours truly.  I don’t mean to split hairs here, but if you ask what I do for a living, I’ll either tell you that I own a small business or that I’m a Roof Cleaning Contractor.  It’s no secret that part of my proprietary blend for professional roof cleaning is Sodium Hypochlorite.  There is only one supplier here in town and when I check with them periodically, they tell me that I am the only roof cleaner who buys Sodium Hypochlorite.  I’m no detective, but since I know the proper way to clean a roof is with detergents, not pressure, I can safely conclude that there are no other roof cleaners in Wilmington.  I honestly do not know who was in this neighborhood, so I am not speaking ill about them.   

While I do not know who they are, and I have shown that they are not roof cleaners, let me tell you what they were telling the nice people in this neighborhood.  The first tall tale they told was that algae won’t grow on the entire roof, only on select sides.  I have personally removed algae from the North, South, East, & West sides of roofs locally and I have the pictures to back it up.  While it is true that the algae typically starts on the North and West facing sides of a roof, if you don’t treat it, it will cover the entire roof.  After they spread this half-truth they went on to tell the residents that you only need to treat the algae you can see.  That is also incorrect.  The dark areas that you see on an algae infested roof are actually a protective covering that the algae creates for UV protection.  The algae is not visible to the naked eye.  What I’m trying to say is that in this situation, all you can see is the advance party.  The bulk of the invasion has yet to show itself.  If you were to only treat what you can see, within a year you will regret not having had a professional roof cleaning contractor treat your entire roof.  (See my previous blog on hacks, it’s titled “Bigger Roof Nasties”).  The lesson for tonight is beware of ANYONE trying to sell you a partial roof cleaning, it just doesn’t make sense.  Remember the old saying, “Anything worth doing is worth doing right.”  Also remember the other applicable old saying, “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of a cheap price.”  -Benjamin Franklin 

Do Over

     I’ll freely admit that this blogging thing is new to me, but I’ve been reading and writing for a long time now.  While I’ve always maintained that I do not understand how to operate a computer, the evidence refutes my claim.  In the last six months I’ve built two websites, designed several brochures, many postcards, and even my new business cards.  Suffice it to say that I have basic computer skills.  That said, please excuse my outburst about WordPress in my last entry.  The cause of the problem was most likely operator error.  I’ll do my best to regale you with the genuine brilliance that was the last two paragraphs of that blog here.  Please forgive me if I don’t do them justice, but I’ll do my best. 

     I honestly don’t remember all the things I said about roof cleaning after that, but they were somewhat amusing.  Since I can’t remember, I won’t require you to go back and re-read that particular blog entry, after all, fair is fair.  I did, however, suggest that purchasing a professional roof cleaning from a professional roof cleaner was right up there in the same ballpark as giving your wife diamonds.  At the same time, however, you still wouldn’t be satisfactory to her mother, but who cares, some goals just aren’t worth attaining! 

     I summed up the entire blog entry by pointing out that YOU (yes, YOU) would receive the same response from your wife whether you gave her diamonds or a professional roof cleaning.  Since a professional roof cleaning is actually affordable, I showed you how a professional roof cleaner saved you literally thousands of dollars AND made your wife think that you are a genuine genius all at the same time!  If that doesn’t score some points with your mother-in-law, run it by your father-in-law.  (After all, he’s been in your shoes for quite a LONG time.)   

     I’ve just learned, AND proven, that it’s faster and easier to summarize something than it is to actually do it.  That’s probably why I lost my temper in my last blog entry.  Oh well, that particular horse has left the barn.  In the interest of summarization let’s review.  The six main reasons to have your roof professionally cleaned by a professional roof cleaner are:  Health, Shingle Longevity, Property Value, Curb Appeal, Energy Cost Savings, AND a professional roof cleaning by a professional roof cleaner is cheaper than diamonds, yet it yields the same result.  It’s a good thing that your wife thinks you’re a genius, she’s absolutely right!!!

The Stripey House
Which way looks more valuable, clean or dirty?

      Roof cleaning can raise your property value.  This seems fairly self-explanatory, but why not, let’s break it down.  Houses with dirty roofs look nasty.  Houses with clean roofs look more attractive.  Why is this, you ask?  Well, that’s a good question!  While nobody can say for certain, we think that it’s due to the fact that even a beautiful house with a nice lawn & great landscaping doesn’t achieve it’s full potential with a dirty roof.  ( It’s similiar to how you mother-in-law views you.  You’re satisfactory, but you never have achieved the heights she wanted you to scale.)  Now if you treat that same house to a professional roof cleaning, it’s whole world turns around!  It’s a beautiful CLEAN house with a nice lawn & great landscaping which makes it way more valuable than it was with a dirty roof.  (If you want, go ahead and show a little initiative and treat your house to a few hours with a professional roof cleaner.  You’ll still be a disappointment to your mother-in-law, but your wife will appreciate it AND you neighbors will be envious.) 

     I wrote two other paragraphs, but wordpress ate them both twice.  I’ll try this again tomorrow, but right now I will glady admit that although I am a professional roof cleaner, I am not smart enough to use wordpress! 

     The occasional professional roof cleaning can make your shingles last longer.  Yes, it CAN!  Don’t try to argue with me, it’s MY blog.  The reason that professional roof cleaners are able to make your shingles last longer is that the algae (G.M) and his buddies mold, mildew, fungi, and bacteria are slowly destroying your shingles.  If you leave them alone on your roof long enough, their pals lichen and moss may even show up to speed up the process.  Moss and lichen are the heavy hitters in this scenario, so it’s best to nip the problem in the bud just like Barney Fife would recommend.  Let’s take a look at what happens as roof nasties demolish your roof. 

     The first thing you need to know about this process is that all major shingle manufacturers use crushed limestone in their asphalt shingles as a filler material.  That makes G.M. very happy because he loves crushed limestone.  As a matter of fact, it seems to be his favorite food!  G. M. will eat away the asphalt at the base of your ceramic granules which will loosen them and cause them to fall off your roof where they’re not going to be able to do you a bit of good.  But wait, there’s more.  Let’s say you don’t listen to us and you leave your roof (which by the way is busy 24/7 protecting the largest investment you’ll probably ever make) untreated and G.M.’s pals moss and lichen come to the party. 

     Moss and lichen ARE rolling stones to a certain extent, but as they grow older, they tend to slow down and establish roots.  Since you carelessly let G.M. take over your roof, moss and lichen will figure that you don’t mind if they put down roots, literally, on your shingles.  G.M. causes significant granule loss, but nothing compared to the roots on moss and lichen.  They’ll knock granules off your shingles in a manner similar to big ol’ tree roots cracking a concrete driveway.  The worst part is that they’re moss and lichen.  You can’t reason with them, you simply have to kill them! 

     This is where a professional roof cleaner comes in.  While he can’t actually turn back the clock, he can follow Barney Fife’s advice and nip the problem in the bud.  Imagine, if you will, your roof totally infested with algae, moss, and lichen.  Now imagine the check you’ll have to write for a new roof.  Scary, huh?  OK, now imagine you just have a little algae and you decided to follow our advice and consult a professional roof cleaner.  He will eradicate the G.M., mold, mildew, fungi, and bacteria, before the moss and algae even show up.  He can’t stop you from eventually having to write that check for a new roof, but with the occasional professional roof cleaning, he is your ticket to making your existing shingles last as long as possible and delaying the installation of a new roof.  It’s similar to an oil change, you can pay a little now, or a lot later.   Tomorrow we can discuss how a roof cleaning can increase your property value.

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