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Archive for the ‘Moss Removal’ Category

How Often Should You Clean Your Roof?

November 30, 2016

You may love to experience the four seasons each year in the Pacific Northwest, but your roof doesn’t. Rain, fog, ice, and even shade from large trees can create the perfect environment for moss and fungi to grow.

Moss, mildew, algae, and lichen grow into your shingles and wear away the material. They can even lift shingles. This creates space for water to pool and eventually leak into your home.

People in Portland and Vancouver often ask us: “How often should I clean my roof?”

It’s a good question, but unfortunately, there’s no easy answer. How often you should clean your roof really depends on several factors that affect the condition of your roof. I’ll go over those today so you can decide whether your roof needs cleaning. First, we’ll talk about how to safely and effectively clean a roof.

Let’s dive in!

How Pacific NW Roofs Should be Cleaned

First things first: Any roof expert will recommend that you don’t climb up on the roof yourself. We’ve seen too many serious injuries to people who were being cautious but simply didn’t have the expertise to navigate the roof safely.

It’s especially dangerous in the Northwest too — moss, fungi, and moisture make your roof extra slippery.

At Northwest Roof Maintenance we know how to get the job done right so that your roof will need to be cleaned much less often than if you tried to clean it yourself. Here’s how:

  1. Our roof cleaning treatments are meant to last. For example, when we get rid of moss on your roof, we also apply a follow-up treatment to your entire roof to prevent future moss growth.
  2. We always offer a free full preliminary roof inspection. This allows us to identify even the smallest leaks, cracks, and other issues that may be damaging your roof. We’ll fix any problems we find so your roof will stay strong and clean for longer.

roof damage

Now let’s figure out how often you should have someone clean your roof.

Factors that Affect Your Roof’s Condition

There are two major causes of dirty and moss-covered roofs:

  1. Excessive moisture that promotes moss, fungi, and bacteria growth
  2. Structural damage that allows water to seep under your shingles or tiles where the sun can’t reach (When there’s damage, we usually recommend our repair services before we clean your roof.)

Here are a few of the most common causes of these issues:

1. Heavy Rainfall

heavy rainfallWater that accumulates on your roof from rain creates the perfect moist environment for bacteria, moss, and fungi to thrive. After extra rainy winters, you might notice a lot more moss and fungus growth on your roof than usual.

The amount of rain that falls on your roof has a big effect on when (and how often) you should get it cleaned.

If you’re not sure whether your roof needs to be cleaned or not, you can always contact us for a free inspection and estimate.

2. Excessive Shade

Many Portland and Vancouver homes are nestled under the cover of large trees. Trees are beautiful — they help keep your home cool in the summer and increase the value of your property. Unfortunately, they can also make it hard for moisture to evaporate off your roof.

If your roof is in a shaded area, you’ll probably need a roof inspection and cleanings more often.

3. Falling Leaves and Other Debris

If you often notice leaves or other debris from trees accumulating on your roof, you may want to think about more frequent roof cleanings. Here’s why:

When leaves cover your roof, they also trap moisture, which makes it easier for moss, fungi, and bacteria to grow, which can roof damage from snowalso cause the development of leaks. As we know, excess moisture equals bad news for roofs in the Pacific Northwest!

4. Other Factors

There are many other reasons you may need either more frequent roof cleanings or extra roof maintenance than normal.

Here are a few:

  • A snowy winter, when snow was on top of your roof for a long period of time
  • An intense wind or hail storm that may have caused damage to your roof shingles, tiles, or shakes
  • Damage to your roof from a fallen tree or branch
  • Any time you notice leaking, missing shingles or other signs of damage

Roof Cleaning Frequently Asked Questions

How do you get rid of moss?

Our moss removal procedure involves a few different steps.

  1. We use a combination of compressed air and soft brushing to loosen moss and blow it out from between your shingles, tiles, or shakes without damaging them.
  2. On cedar shake and cement tile roofs, we may also use high pressure water in extreme cases if necessary. We will NEVER use high pressure water on a composition shingle roof as this can be damaging.
  3. To finish, we’ll apply a preventative treatment over the entire roof to stop new moss growth.

What’s the best time of year for a roof cleaning?

It really depends on you and your roof. We often recommend gearing up for winter by getting your roof cleaned at the start of fall. This can really help protect your roof because our moss treatments actually prevent future moss growth! Barring extreme weather, however, you can get your roof cleaned at any time of the year.

The bottom line is, the best time to get your roof cleaned is when your roof needs it!

How do I know when my roof needs to be cleaned?

One of the best things you can do for your roof doesn’t involve much work at all: simply pay attention to it! Keep an eye on your roof. If you notice moss growth, missing or damaged shingles, warped areas, or any other signs of damage, you’ll know it’s time for maintenance.

What Types of Roofs Can You Clean?

At Northwest Roof Maintenance, we clean most types of roofs, including composition roofs, tile roofs, and cedar shake roofs.

Different types of roofs require different types of care. For example, to prevent future moss growth, we use a zinc-based treatment for composition and tile roofs and a copper-based treatment for cedar shakes.

Roof Maintenance Vancouver WA Northwest Roof Maintenance

Is Your Roof Due for a Cleaning?

If you think your roof needs to be cleaned, or if you’re not sure, Northwest Roof Maintenance can help! Our friendly and professional consultants will take a look at your roof and recommend only the services we know will benefit you and your roof. We never suggest unnecessary repairs or maintenance.

Contact us online or give us a call today at 503-740-4808 (Portland) or 360-558-3274 (Vancouver).

Photo credits: Carolyn, jill, jellidonut… whatever

Take the pressure of off your composition roof!

May 27, 2016

cropped-Custom-Roof-Repair

In America the most common type of roofing material is composition. With three main composition roof types – 3-tab, architectural, and presidential – composition roofs offer a variety of options in price, quality, and looks for the homeowner. In being the most common roofing material, it makes sense that many roof maintenance questions we receive have to do with how to properly maintain a composition roof. One of the most common questions we are asked, and what I want to address in the post, is “should I pressure wash my composition roof?”

 

In short, no, you should never pressure wash your composition roof.

 

Now I’ll give you some detail. Composition shingles are made of a fiberglass reinforcing mat in the center, with asphalt and fiberglass granules coating it. Any sort of exposure to the elements can cause wear and tear to this material. Wind can loosen granules from the shingles and loosen shingles from the roof. Rain can wash away granules, causing thinning of the roofing material. Extreme sun can melt and wear the asphalt and fiberglass materials. This is why roofs only last so long, because they are inevitably exposed to things every single day that wear them out. It’s the purpose of a roof, to take that wear so that the decking material underneath, the attic, and the interior of our homes don’t have to take that wear.

Low_Pressure_Roof_Washing

This being said, it begs the question of “if my roof is already exposed to the elements, why would pressure washing be any worse?” Well, it’s like a child, just because you can’t keep them from being exposed to every
germ it doesn’t mean you will intentionally take them to visit the infectious disease ward at the hospital. Rather you wouldn’t expose your child to unnecessary illness. Just because your roof is exposed to the elements doesn’t mean you should intentionally cause additional wear and tear to the roof. Pressure washing inflicts a higher volume of water to the roof at a proximity that guarantees it is harder impact than normal rain water. This high impact of water can loosen and wear out granules, it can force little pieces of moss up under shingles keeping them from working properly and allowing rainwater to penetrate underneath and leak into the home. It can also loosen the shingles themselves making them more vulnerable to wind. All of this can shorten the life of the roof significantly.

 

Not only can it shorten the life of your roof, but when you do find yourself needing repair or replacement, you will find that having pressure washed your roof makes many warranties void and is an out for many insurance companies. Where as a hand brush off, while still not “natural” wear and tear, if done right, does not put unneeded stress on the shingles. It also loosens the moss without loosening the granules. It removes the surface moss, not the dirt.

 

So, if this is true, why do some companies still offer pressure washing of composition roofs? That is a good question. The most common answer I found was “If the homeowner wants it and will pay for it, why wouldn’t we offer it.” Unfortunately this careless, even selfish, attitude is a common one found out there. Other reasons for pressure washing compositions roofs varied. Some companies approached it from a “it will look cleaner” angle, operating under the idea that a pressure wash will remove more grime and dirt from the roof leaving it looking better than just a brush off. There is some validity to this, a brush off isn’t going to remove every layer of built up dirt on the roof, but it’s also not going to remove layers of shingle granules. So the choice is yours, a “cleaner” roof or a roof that does it’s job and lasts long enough to be worth your investment?


removing-moss-on-roofs

The last issue I want to address is why clean your roof at all, if brush offs won’t make it squeaky clean and a pressure wash will damage the roof, why even bother spending money on cleaning the roof? I mean you can learn to like the look of moss right? Well, you might learn to like the look, but I can tell you that your roof won’t like it! Moss can be extremely damaging to the roof if left unaddressed. For more detail check out our blog about spring cleaning your roof. To summarize for you though, moss can deteriorate shingles and cause leaks. It’s not something to be ignored. Removing the moss from your roof is a key part to keeping it effective. The great thing is that once you get the moss cleaned off, if you stay on top of less invasive upkeep, like treatment as soon as there are traces of moss, you can maintain your roof in a way that’s truly best for your roof!