Roof cleaning can be a good way to improve the curb appeal of a home.
According to Angie’s List owner and founder Angie Hicks, removing algae or moss streaks from a roof can make a big difference.
“At face value, roof cleaning can feel like a do-it-yourself project, but it’s not,” Hicks said. “Let’s face it, you’re going to be on the roof, on a ladder, using water and detergent, which can make the roof very slippery. You should leave this project to a professional.”
Roof cleaning contractor Michael Spiczenski said that most people encounter black algae streaking their roofs.
“What that black algae streaking is actually is the dead cells that are on top of the live cells,” Spiczenski said. “It’s called geo capsule magnels is the name of the algae that is on there. We totally remove that and kill all of those cells so they are no longer present. Also, the mold, moss and the like, we are also able to kill and remove that, too.”
Spiczenski said that roof cleaning can be less expensive than homeowners think.
“Generally speaking, I’m usually asked what is the cost of roof cleaning, and I tell people it’s anywhere between 3-5 percent of overall replacement costs,” Spiczenski said.
Algae and moss growth
• Asphalt shingle roofs that are in constant shade tend to attract algae growth which feeds off of microscopic particles in the limestone used in the shingles.
• This growth can be seen as a black or dark green staining on the roof.
Whether the presence of the algae is detrimental to the roof's lifespan is a debatable question.
Roof cleaning isn't necessarily harmful if done professionally, and many homeowners value the aesthetics of a clean roof. But it pays to do your research and ask the right questions before you determine if roof cleaning is right for you.
Angie’s List Tips: Hiring a roof cleaner
• Cleaning method process: The contractor should explain in detail the equipment and the cleansers they use. Will the products damage your roof material, lawn or plants? Are their products environmentally safe? Steer clear of any company that insists on using high pressure washing or abrasive cleaners – both which can damage your roof and possibly void your roof’s warranty.
• Ask about insurance: Any type of roof work is dangerous, and roof cleaning is no exception. Ask the contractor for proof of insurance/workers’ compensation before hiring.
• Inquire about costs: Roof cleaning costs can range from $350-$1,200. The price depends on various factors including the size, shape, pitch, an infestation of the roof.
• Is there a warranty? Ask the company about a warranty/guarantee? What steps will the company take if the algae/moss streaking reappears after a certain amount of time?
• Ask for references: A reputable company will provide references of past clients and a portfolio of before/after work.
• Don’t ignore repairs: If your roof is in need of repairs or replacement – it doesn’t make sense to invest in a cleaning. If you’re not sure, have a home inspector check out your roof before you do anything. Have your roof professionally inspected every two to three years.
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