Roof Cleaning


What is growing on my roof?  That’s a question we hear all the time at Inside Out Window Washing, Inc. The short answer is Gloeocapsa Magma which is a cyanobacteria that closely resembles an algae.  The long answer is that your roof may have an entire bio-mass growing up there!  The Gloeocapsa Magma creates a moist bed where other growth can attach such as lichens, ferns, mildews, and more!  You’ll notice this growth more prevalently on the north side of your roof, but in time it can spread over the whole roof system.

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The biological growth that is living on your roof is holding moisture up against the roofing material.  It’s also giving a “toe-hold” for other organisms to take root.  Besides being an ugly cosmetic blemish, this growth may be diminishing the lifespan of your roof.  Additionally, roofs have a certain reflective quality and the growth up there could be making your electric bills higher than they should be!  If leaves and debris are packing up in the valleys of the roof laying across the shingles, this rotting vegetation can also be holding moisture and exacerbating very detrimental conditions for the longevity of that covering.  However, there are some roofs that are too dangerous for us to clean or have reached the end of their lifespan.  Spending money on a cleaning process just doesn’t make financial sense in some cases, and you Inside Out Window Washing technician will advise you of our opinion in these cases.

Roof to be cleaned per ARMA (Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association), GAF, and ELK standards.  Your roof will be treated with a custom blended sodium hypochlorite (bleach) solution and industry specific surfactants.  Our final step in your roof cleaning process will be to apply a neutralizer (Agent Halt) to your roof.  This final process will help to neutralize the chemical residue from the cleaning process.

You may notice a slight brown hazing after your cleaning.  This is completely normal.  Some dead alae may remain and will naturally be removed by rains and wind.  If after TWO substantial rains you notice remaining staining, we will come back to retreat problem areas on your roof within 30 days of the initial cleaning at no additional cost.

Inside Out Window Washing, Inc. will make every effort to protect your landscape.  You can assist us by moving potted plants out of the immediate area we will be cleaning.  If you have plants that you are concerned about, DO NOT COVER THEM!  Heavy plastics can actually cause more damage to plants than our roof cleaning mixture.  If you have concerns please address them with us and we can cover your greenery with TYVEK or a similar breathable fabric.  You may notice browning a few leaves here and there.  This is normal and does mean that your plant is dead or dying.  Dry, damaged, and weak plants may have a more severe reaction to roof cleaning.  We will make every effort to prevent landscape damage, but we are killing “a plant” that is living on your roof, and trying not to kill the plants living in your yard!

If you have a sprinkler system, we strongly recommend heavily watering the plants the day before your scheduled appointment as well as the next day afterwards.

As we are killing “living organisms” including algae mildew, lichen, ferns, etc. we cannot warranty our work for a definitive period.  Precipitation, humidity,And temperature impact this biomass and are forces out of our control.  On average, most of our customers will not see substantial regrowth or re-staining for 3-4 years.

Lichen are a composite organism that can be found on roofs.  They can range in color from green to light gray.  Lichen will attach to your roof and can ‘root” to the surface.  Manually removing these growths can damage your roof system by removing the granules.  It is best to kill them with our solution to naturally slough off with water and sometimes this will take a few weeks.

Ferns will actually take root on your roof, growing into a thick mat.  Their roots will grow under the shingles and manually removing this growth can cause damage to your roofing.  We highly recommend treating the ferns to kill them and a month later to retreat them instead of trying to rip them up on the first visit.

Much like metal roofs, tile roofs present unique challenges.  Tile can be breakable so extra care must be given when walking on them.  Often times we will spray the tile from the roof line and not place our feet on them at all, however sometimes we must access the roof the provide a thorough cleaning job.  This takes a much more aggressive solution to provide adequate cleaning results and the porous nature of tile creates a much more conducive environment for biological growth.  Typically, within tile we will fully drape your landscaping, unless there are gutters present, to protect it

Metal roofing presents unique challenges.  They are difficult to walk on, and require a specialized cleaning.  Excessive amounts of chemicals and/or heat can cause the metal to oxidize, meaning the factory finish has been compromised.  Metal roofs must be rinsed thoroughly and require multiple treatments, typically done on the same visit.  Cleaning a metal roof without gutters can be exceptionally hard on the landscape, and we can make no guarantees about plant safety in the se instances, but we will follow all industry standards to try and prevent plant damage.

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