Why you should clean your roof instead of replacing it

Your roof may be looking rough, but it doesn’t mean you have to replace it. Calling in a pro to clean your roof could have it looking like new in no time at all. The decision could save you plenty of money, save you from the inconvenience and even extend the life of the structure even further.

Got a bunch of tiles that are missing, or your roof is more than 25 years old? It's probably time to reroof. If you have a tiled roof, you need to hire a professional to clean your roof because if the water pressure is too high, you could damage the tiles. They will also check the integrity of your roof to make sure the water cleaning they perform doesn't leak into your roof.

It’s not just dirt on your roof that needs to be removed, and rain usually takes care of anything that settles on your roof. But those dark stains and green zones do need attention as they can damage your roof. They can cause tile or wood rot.

What you need to know about algae

  • It’s actually a bacterium, not a plant. It feeds off asphalt and limestone roofing.
  • When there is low light (such as shaded areas of the roof), the bacteria form a greenish colour. This is because they are hosting different types of moulds.
  • Your roof will be exposed to new algae spores by wind or animals. This is why they can spread between properties.
  • A roof covered in algae will absorb heat, causing your attic to be excessively hot. The interior heat can, in turn, damage your tiles over time.

What you need to know about lichens

  • Lichens are a combination of algae and fungus – they have grown together symbiotically.
  • Lichens grow tentacles that will penetrate tiles in search of nourishment. This can cause pockmarks on the tiles.
  • They are notoriously difficult to remove from a roof and tend to reappear when there is humidity or rain.

What you need to know about moss

  • Moss is a living plant form.
  • It has a shallow root system and will only thrive and survive if there is enough water.
  • A tree that overhangs a roof provides shade that keeps the area below moist for longer but also drops debris that feeds the moss.
  • Moss spores can be transferred by wind or animals.
  • Moss can make the edges of tiles lift. In extremely cold weather, it can freeze, causing more damage.
  • The "plant" holds water. This can lead to rotting and leaks on your roof. Wood rot will reduce the life span of your roof and lead to the growth of hazardous moulds. It can also damage your roof structure, making it possible for pests to enter your roof space.

If you’re weighing up the pros and cons of either decision, here are the things you need to consider. Ask yourself the following questions if you think it’s time to clean your roof.

Do I want my house to look well maintained?

A thorough clean of your roof will remove the black stains and moss that develop on roofing over time. A professional roof cleaner may choose to use specialised biodegradable chemicals on your roof. The benefit of this is that it will prevent these marks from reforming prematurely.

You can do your bit too by checking your roof regularly, removing leaves and debris, and replacing tiles as soon as you spot damage. You don't want water to penetrate the roof structure. Leaks will lead to damaged walls, property inside your house as well as potential health hazards like mould forming.

Do I want to protect my roof?

Reapplying the biodegradable chemical cleaner every couple of years will extend the life of your tiles because it will prevent the marks reforming. Once you’ve cleaned the roof once, you can simply apply the chemical without needing to clean again.

Do I want to save money?

Of course you do. Committing to regular cleaning and maintenance of your roof will extend the life of your roof and allow you to delay an overhaul.

Do I want to keep my roof warranty valid?

It’s advisable to check the small print of the warranty supplied by your roof installer. Most will recommend you clean your roof.

Do I want to keep my family healthy?

If your roof is leaking, it's likely that mould is growing somewhere in your house as a result. If patching holes in your roof is not solving the issue, you should consider replacing your roof. Some moulds are toxic and can make pets or your family members ill. Those with respiratory challenges like asthma, and those with allergies, need to live in a dry, mould-free environment.

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