November 15, 2023
November 15, 2023
How to Properly Clean Your Roof and Gutters
As the weather begins to cool down here in Florida, it’s the perfect time to begin routine roof maintenance such as cleaning your roof and gutters. If you’ve never done roof maintenance before, you may not be sure where to start. That’s why we’ve created this guide on how to clean your roof and clear your gutters for your use!
Why Is Roof Maintenance and Cleaning Important?
Just like you need to clean the interior of your home to keep it tidy and avoid any damage from pests or mold, your roof requires the occasional spring (or fall in this case) cleaning. Due to weather conditions or if you live in a shaded area, dirt, water, and debris can begin accumulating on your roof. This can cause cosmetic wear, water damage, mildew growth, and can clog your gutters—if left untreated, your roof may develop leaks, form cracks, or even begin to sag.
Roofs are expensive, and you’ll want to take care of your investment. We suggest doing routine maintenance and cleaning of your roof and gutter every one to two years to keep your roof healthy.
How to Clean Your Gutters
When people think about roof maintenance, gutters can often be overlooked, but cleaning your gutters and removing any blockages are necessary maintenance steps to keep leaks from forming in your roof.
Luckily, with the right tools, cleaning your gutters is a fairly easy task to do at home. The fall and winter are the perfect times to clean your gutters so that you don’t have to worry about the hot Florida sun while working outside. You can get started with the following steps:
- First, get dressed for the job. Cleaning your gutters is a dirty task, and you may end up wet and dirty. Wear appropriate shoes to help keep your balance while on a ladder. We recommend wearing gloves to protect your hands from any debris or bugs in the sitting water.
- Find a sturdy ladder that will let you comfortably reach your roof and gutters. You’ll want to make sure that your ladder is on a flat, solid surface for further stabilization, and we always recommend you have a second person out with you to keep the ladder steady and act as a spotter just in case. Cleaning your gutters from your roof can make this task a lot more dangerous, so we recommend sticking to your ladder.
- Use a small scoop to remove leaves and other debris from your gutter. Your local hardware store will have gutter scoops you can buy, but even a toy sand shovel or kitchen spatula will get the job done. If you have a good pair of heavy-duty gloves, you can also just use your hands to remove any blockages.
- When you’ve removed the debris, flush your gutters out using your hose. You can buy gutter cleaning agents to help with this process if you want, but it’s not a necessity. Make sure the water is flowing freely and not getting stopped anywhere else. This will also show if any leaks have formed in your gutters.
- If you see any leaks or sagging metal, you can usually repair these damages on your own with a trip to your local hardware store.
If you’re unsure about your ability to clean your gutters on your own or how to fix any damages you may see, it doesn’t hurt to call in the professionals to get this job done for you. You can also keep leaves and debris from getting in your gutters with gutter guards or trimming any trees directly above your roof.
How to Clean Your Roof
While you can clean your own roof, it’s important to remember that being on top of your roof can be a dangerous job. We always recommend having at least one other person out there with you. If you have any uncertainty about your ability to clean your roof, calling a professional roof cleaner is going to be the best option.
However, if you want to clean your roof, it’s going to depend on what type of roof you have. Each material and style will have its own care instructions.
Shingles are one of the most common roofing materials. Shingle roofs are particularly susceptible to developing cracks and leaks from debris and leaves trapping moisture underneath them. Cleaning them every so often, especially during the fall when there are more falling leaves, will help keep your roof healthy.
- Prepare a sturdy ladder and place it on flat, solid ground. Make sure you have another person outside with you to spot and keep the ladder steady.
- Find a cleaning solution from your local hardware store. You’ll want a stronger or weaker solution depending on the state of your roof. If you want to opt for a more natural approach and avoid dealing with harsh chemicals and bleach, you can use vinegar. Though, use your judgment if it’ll be strong enough to get through moss, mildew, and other stains. (Safety tip: Never combine bleach and vinegar, as it creates a toxic gas.)
- Do not use a pressure washer. This can damage and even remove shingles from your roof. Rather, you’ll want a spray nozzle attached to your garden hose. It’ll get the job done without causing damage.
- Working from top to bottom is going to be the most efficient way to clean your roof. We suggest getting a nozzle that is long enough to reach the top of your roof. This way, you don’t have to physically stand on top of your roof.
- If you still have some problem areas after completing your first spray-through, double back on these areas until they’re clean. If you’re finding these areas still aren’t clean after several passes, consider using a stronger solution.
Metal roofs are becoming more and more popular in Florida for their durability. One of the benefits of a metal roof is that it doesn’t have the same sensitivity to leaves and debris trapping moisture on it. Metal roofs are built to weather the elements. However, you may want to still clean them in order to preserve any paint or special coatings on your roof.
- First, grab a good ladder, and place it on flat, solid ground. Never do roof maintenance alone, so make sure you have someone outside with you to spot.
- Use your garden hose to knock off any leaves or debris that may be sitting on your roof. If some debris is somewhere you can’t reach with the water, do not get on your roof. We also don’t recommend using a power washer as it can cause dents in the roof or chip your paint.
- Once you clear the debris, choose a gentle cleaning solution. This could be car washing soap, detergent, or mild dish soap mixed with water. Vinegar is also an option here if you want to stick to natural cleaning solutions.
- Using a sponge, cloth, or soft-bristled brush, scrub your roof with your cleaning solution. Make sure your cleaning vessel is on a long pole so you can reach the whole roof without having to be on it—such as a mop or soft-bristled broom.
- Rinse your roof with your water hose again to wash away the cleaning solution. Do a double pass on any stains that weren’t washed away the first time; however, we suggest calling in a professional if you can’t get rid of a stain rather than upgrading to harsher cleaning solutions.
Other Roof Types
Whether you have a commercial building or have a unique roof to match the latest trends, some roofs will require specialized cleaning techniques. For example, if you have a flat roof, it may be easier to clean by yourself. This is because it has reduced falling risk and can be swept and power washed in most cases. If you’re unsure how to clean your roof’s materials or design, ask your roofer the best way to perform roof maintenance for your home or building!
When in Doubt, Hire Big D Roofing’s Professionals!
Roof maintenance is a necessary part of home ownership, but it’s not always the easiest task to complete by yourself. Cleaning your roof and gutters can reveal cracks, leaks, missing shingles, and more. When you discover these damages, Big D Roofing is here to help. With over 40 years of experience in roof repairs and installation in Florida, we’re here to make sure your roof remains sturdy and healthy throughout all seasons. If you need a roof repair, get your free estimate with us today!