How Roof Cleaning Can Extend the Life of Your Roof

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Mark Cailler

Subject: Roof Cleaning

I have worked in the construction industry for 40+ years. Several years ago a friend of mine asked me if I wanted to work with him cleaning roof's. My first thought's were how the heck wants to have their roof cleaned? What can possibly done to clean a roof? Power washing is sure out of the question.
I agreed to give him a hand. And I was amazed as I watched the black streaks vanish almost instantly and the moss on the roofs die in a matter of minutes. All of this by simply wetting the roof down with no more pressure than a garden hose.
I was sold on his "new" venture. If any of you have these black streaks, moss, or lichen on your roof. Do yourself a big favor look into this cleaning and save your roof and some BIG money.

Chris Tucker @ Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa

Subject: Roof Cleaning

This was a great article. I would like to add that one way that the algae shortens shingle roof life is this. The algae wraps itself around the shingle granules. As it grows, it pushes against other algae attached to granules, and tends to pry the granules loose from the shingles. Once the granules are removed from the shingles, roof failure is hastened.

AC Lockyer

Subject: Certianly Biased

Being the owner of SoftWash Systems the parent and support company that Chad and Snappy ProWash is associated with, I am certianly biased. Since 1992 I have been cleaning roofs in Florida and the last five years nationwide. Now in excess of 100,000 roofs cleaned with our equipment and chemicals in North America and abroad. I am presumably one of the very few people that has seen and been ontop of thousands of roofs in as many as 30 states and locals abroad. I know what fungus, algae and moss can do to a roof.

The obvious damage of the fungus' filiment root system breaking down the roofing system through decomposition is the most visable. There is also a lesser know damage caused by the darker molds and algae darkening the roof and causinig the roofing system to deteriorate through thermal damage. Simply a darkened (blackened) roof can cook it's self to death because dark colors absorb more heat than lighter colors.

Honestly roofing companys do not advertise these facts because they depend on new construction roofing as well as re-roofs on preexisting homes. Not to say that all roofers are dishonest, certianly not. However we have found our share of instances where roofers were replacing a 15 year old roof that only needed a soft wash roof cleaning to look and function as good as new.

Monica M. Zylinski

Subject: Roof and roofer integrity ...

Mr. Lockyer - great take, however, having worked in the roofing industry for many years, I can tell you that ignorance is the number one reason roofers replace roofing that is plagued with gloeocapsa magma (blue/green algae) and lichens. Not even they are aware of their destructive capabilities, or the remedies available. It pays to be a avid learner!

For those of us in the industry of roof cleaning and exterior maintenance, our mandate is to educate the public about this growing problem. I'd like to thank you for spearheading our industry and for being so generous in sharing your wealth of knowledge.

My company, House Shampoo, Inc., looks forward to growing and going into overdrive as property owners and facility managers become aware of the value of roof cleaning, essentially returning thousands of dollars in savings by stretching the lifespan of their roof. For a lot of us out there, we just love having our homes look new again!!

Peter LeBlanc

Subject: Roof cleaning

Great article with proven facts on the many reasons a roof should be treated properly to ensure the life of a roof.

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I second the original question (still unanswered). Speaking as someone who logged in today to try to find an attorney, I see this category as one that's exactly what I have my Angie's List membership for:

1. It's important that I find a good one
2. I'm not an expert enough to know myself who is a good one
3. The industry is full of advertisements and misinformation
4. I wish I knew what experiences other people have had

I don't care about lawns--I planted mine in clover and don't have to mow it. When I do need to mow I use a rotary Fiskars mower, which is great--or a scythe. That's right--a scythe (the European type, which is smaller, and it's very good exercise). Gas-powered mowers, chemical fertilizers and weed killers--all nasty stuff that gets into everyone's air, soil, and water. I'm sure my neighbor doesn't like my wildflowers, semi-wild pockets of fruit bushes, and unmown areas and yes, dandelions (I have 10 acres) but that's too bad. It's better habitat for wildlife, especially the pollinators on which our food supply depends. I think this obsession with the Great American Lawn is a waste of time and resources. Plant some food instead.

I'm not sure Angie et. al. want you to have a complete answer to this question. By re-subscribing at the Indiana State Fair in 2012, I think I paid $20.00 per year for a multi- year subscription. Maybe even less. At the other extreme--and I hope my memory isn't faulty about this--I think the price, for my area, for ONE year was an outrageous $70.00. And they debited me automatically without warning. I had to opt out of that automatic charge. I like Angie's List, but if some of the companies they monitor behaved the way they do in this respect, they'd be on some sort of Pages of Unhappiness. I'll be interested to see if this comment gets published or censored out of existence.

That's very difficult to answer without seeing the house. As one poster said, the prep is the most important part. On newer homes that don't have a lot of peeling paint, the prep can be very minimal even as low as a couple or a few hundred dollars for the prep labor.

On a 100 year old home with 12 coats of peeling paint on it, then the prep costs can be very high and can easily exceed 50% of the job's labor cost.

A 2100 sq ft two story home could easily cost $1000 just for the labor to prep for the paint job. That number could climb too. Throw in lots of caullking  or window glazing, and you could be talking a couple or a few hundred dollars more for labor.

Painting that home with one coat of paint and a different color on the trim could run roughly $1000 or more just for labor. Add a second coat  and that could cost close to another $1000 for labor.

For paint, you may need 20 gallons of paint. You can pay from $30-$70 for a gallon of good quality exterior paint. The manufacturer of the paint should be specified in any painting contract. Otherwise, the contractor could bid at a Sherwin-Williams $60 per gallon paint and then paint the house with $35 Valspar and pocket the difference. $25 dollars per gallon times 20 gallons? That's a pretty penny too.

That was the long answer to your question. The short answer is $2000 to $4000 and up, depending upon the amount of prep, the number of coats, the amount of trim, and the paint used.