Steps to Cleaning a Moldy Roof

Diana Waldeck Uncategorized

A mold problem can sneak up on you anywhere, even your roof. Even if you can’t see it, it can be dangerous. Black mold deposits can be an eyesore, and even worse, they pose serious health risks. If you find evidence of mold on your roof, eliminate it right away. You can break up growths of mold, moss, and algae by spraying your roof with a powerful chemical cleaner.

  • Make sure you wear the proper safety gear. Wear a pair of thick rubber gloves, respirator or breathing mask of some type, and goggles. Also wear protective clothing including pants, a long-sleeved shirt, and nonslip work boots or shoes. Moldy shingles can be very slippery, and chemicals can irritate eyes and skin.
  • Protect your nearby plants from runoff or overspray of the chemicals. You can mist the surrounding trees and shrubs with a garden hose to prevent chemicals from sticking, or you can cover the surrounding areas with a plastic tarp. You should wet your plants once before you start and once again once you’ve finished.
  • It is essential to take precautions when climbing onto a roof. Find a stable stretch of ground and position a sturdy ladder there. Make sure you have direct access to the roof with no obstructions to be in your way. Climb slowly and carefully until you can make your transition onto the roof. If it’s available, a solid surface such as concrete will make the best base for your ladder, but if one isn’t available, ensure that the patch of grass or dirt you do set up your ladder on is perfectly level. It is also advised to have someone help and hold the ladder for you while you climb.
  • Angled rooftops can be steeper than they look. It will be important to watch your step. Keep your eyes on your feet as you move around the roof, and avoid putting your full weight down until you’re confident that your footing is secure. Don’t let a small miscalculation result in a fall. When stepping on and off the ladder, stick closely to the ridge where the two sloped sides of the roof come together. This area will offer the greatest support.

  • Scrub the thickest buildup away first. Using a long-handled brush, scour the surface of the shingles to loosen stuck-on mold while it’s still dry and brittle. Focus on the heaviest growth and the harder to reach areas where overlapping shingles are. The chemical treatment will finish the job. Wear your breathing mask during all of this as to not inhale the mold particles or the chemicals. 
  • Mix the cleaning solution outside. It’s best to use powerful chemicals such as chlorine bleach. Combine one quart of bleach, one gallon of water, and one-quarter cup of trisodium phosphate. Use a pump sprayer to dispense the solution. Chlorine will kill the mold while the TSP will remove stains. Never combine bleach with anything containing ammonia. It can produce toxic chlorine gas, which is extremely hazardous to breathe in. You can also possibly find some preformulated treatments at your local home improvement store. 
  • Spray the whole roof thoroughly, starting on the lowest row of shingles and working your way backward to the upper part of the roof. This will prevent the solution from draining in your direction. Keep spraying until you see the runoff, then let the chemicals sit for 15-20 minutes to soak in. Using a pressure washer is not advisable as the force they generate is enough to damage delicate shingles. The best time to clean your roof is during cloudy or cooler conditions when the solution won’t immediately evaporate before it’s had a chance to do its job. Also, ensure the forecast doesn’t call for rain as that will wash away all of your work. 
  • Rinse shingles with the sprayer after emptying and refilling with fresh water. You can also use a garden hose. Sweep the stream over all the parts of the roof that you just sprayed with chemicals. If not appropriately rinsed, chemicals like bleach can cause permanent damage or discoloration. 
  • You should clean your roof every few years. Treatments will prevent mold and other such nuisances from moving back in. After the initial cleaning, give your roof a checkup every six to eight months. Repeat the process as often as needed to prevent new growth. Inspect your roof at the end of summer, as well, following stretches of warm, rainy weather, as high moisture levels can accelerate mold growth. Give your shingles more frequent attention if you live in an area with an especially humid climate.
  • Installing strips of zinc or copper flashing will cause the natural antimicrobial properties to wash down the roof when it rains, keeping mold, moss, and algae at bay. You will tell a significant difference in the condition of your roof after just a few months. Place the strips just under the uppermost row of shingles and span the length of the roof. Also, switching to mold-resistant shingles can be helpful. They are constructed with zinc and copper additives that will stop mold from ever forming in the first place. They are slightly more expensive, but they’re guaranteed to save you trouble in the future and time on recurrent cleanings, however, ensure you’re getting your money’s worth by holding off until the shingles you have in place begin to wear out. Then, speak with a roofing professional about the cost of upgrading.

Are you looking to upgrade your home? Have Questions? Call HEP Inc. at (865) 234-0501 and get started today! HEP Is On The Way!