Roof Cleaning Products – a better way

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“Can I ask you about your roof cleaning products?”

As the weather in the north turns colder, and handymen find outdoor jobs more challenging, the predictable winter phone calls start.  Many roof cleaning product manufactures, distributors and retailers begin to answer inquires from the experienced roof cleaners and hard working power washers, gutter cleaners and general contractors interested in a better way of cleaning roof shingles.

Historic Roof Cleaning Solutions

It’s easy to understand why  professional roof cleaners are always looking for a better solution to asphalt shingle cleaning.  The standard  for cleaning shingles had always been Chlorine bleach, or bleach with an additive like Jomax or TSP (tri-sodium-phosphate) in the northern states, and in more southern states the appearance of swimming pool chlorine or some variation also became common.

The problems with using bleach or chlorine as a shingle cleaner is two fold – both on the roof and ground level.  The trouble starts with the risk of drying out the asphalt in the shingles leading to micro-fissures with the potential to leak water into attics, resulting in Black Mold troubles.   Move to the ground, and the issue is the run-off of Bleach has a history of killing vegetation near the downspouts, or worse, on homes without gutters the formulation of bleach and whatever, drips directly on to the plants below the shingle’s edge.  The plants take a beating, and in the worst cases, when using TSP the phosphates leach into ground water or ponds causing out of control Algae growth.  Funny how a product intended to kill algae is actually responsible for it’s growth.

Better Ways to Clean Shingles

Whether a veteran roof cleaner, or a budding entrepreneur it’s easy to see that picking up and outdoor bleach at Lowe’s or HomeDepot may not be the smartest idea when it comes to getting results that will delight the home owner (although it may be convenient to buy the replacement plants at the same time!).   So a better way has to be out there..  Over the years, roof cleaning has had it’s share of trends and fads.   We can think back to the early approach of costly shingle cleaning chemicals that tried everything from Heavy Metals to dangerous acids.   Terms ranged from Reviving a roof, to raiding the roof, to Soft Wash and even the idea of shampooing the shingles, but however it is phrased the key to a cleaner roof shingle is two-fold: Stop the Growth – Remove the prior residue.

Stop the Growth

With the latest roof cleaners strong base cleaners accomplish the arresting of the algae, mold, mildew and lichen growth.  Cessation of plant material growth prevents further cosmetic degradation of the roof surface.  Frankly in many cases this is the most important technical aspect of the roof cleaners mission.   However, cosmetics and aesthetics are the primary reason homeowners engage a roof cleaning business, so let’s not forget to remove the residue.

Remove the Residue

Most homeowners want the roof to look brand new, and every experienced shingle cleaning business knows that a new roof is the job of a roofer, not a shingle cleaner.  Making the shingles look better is  most any business can accomplish.   The reality of Roof Cleaning , frankly ANY cleaning is the 3 components to cleaning : Temperature, Chemical and Mechanical.   We know temperature is out, and Chemicals are used to stop the growth so for the removing the residue it comes down mechanical , or rinse pressure.   To Remove the dead algae and mold, it takes a Soft Wash (Low pressure , high volume) Rinse to move all the cellular residue into the gutters and off the roof.

What to do now?

The struggle for so many callers is bleach attempts to both stop the growth and remove the residue, but the optical games of change the chromatography of the residue and the corollary ground damage causes bleach and Chlorine to be a poor choice.   But trying to Kicking the Bleach Habit makes it a hard choice to go with a Tailor Designed Roof Cleaner like Roof Cleaner QSE or Shingle Cleaner OX.

In the end about 50% of callers try alternatives to Chlorine Bleach, and half of them stick with the Eco-Friendly Roof Cleaners .

So do the research, and try an alternative… Your customers will thank you, although the local garden center will miss your business