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April 17, 2024

Does Roof Cleaning Really Work?

Yes, roof cleaning really works because it removes debris, algae, and moss. As a result, roof cleaning prevents possible roof damage and extends the lifespan of the roof. A clean roof preserves its appearance and integrity for a long time.

Does roof cleaning work?

Yes, roof cleaning works even if there isn’t a plethora of studies to prove it. Before we talk about the importance of roof cleaning, we should highlight first the role of a roof in protecting a building.

does roof cleaning work body

What is the role of the roof?

The role of the roof is fundamental for a building’s integrity and durability. Here’s why:

  • It’s a barrier against rain

The roof is the main barrier against rainwater infiltration into the building. Roofing materials and an efficient drainage system stop water from seeping into the building. When the roof is well maintained, the risk of mould growth, water damage, and structural deterioration is low.

  • It insulates from snow

The roof plays an essential role in insulating the building against the weight of snow accumulation. A solid roof structure, with adequate insulation materials evenly spreads the weight of snow and reduces stress on the building’s framework. The indoor temperatures are comfortable when the roof has proper insulation.

  • It protects from sunlight

The roof protects against the damaging effects of sunlight, UV radiation and heat. High-quality roofing materials protect against UVs and reduce heat absorption into the building. The comfort and energy efficiency increase as the need for cooling in the summer reduces.

  • It preserves the interior spaces

By shielding the building from the elements, the roof preserves the integrity of interior spaces. It protects people inside and the buildings from weather-related hazards. An efficient roof creates a comfortable environment for living or working.

  • It provides structural support and stability

Along with weather protection, the roof provides structural support and stability to the whole building. It evenly distributes the weight of roof materials, snow, and other loads across the building’s framework.

Common issues with roofs

Climate, roofing materials, and maintenance practices determine the issues a roof may develop in time. The most common issues are:

  • Debris accumulation

Branches, leaves, dirt, and other debris may deposit on the roof, especially where there are overhanging trees or during heavy winds. The debris can clog gutters and downspouts and cause water to pool on the roof. The risk of leaks or water damage increases.

  • Algae, moss, and lichen growth

In humid and shaded areas, roofs may develop algae, moss, and lichen growth. The organic growths alter the roof’s appearance and retain moisture which deteriorates the roof in time. Moss and lichen can lift shingles and cause water infiltration.

  • Degradation of roofing materials

Due to exposure to sunlight, temperature fluctuations, and weathering, roofing materials will deteriorate. Asphalt shingles may crack, whereas wooden shingles may rot or warp. Metal roofs may corrode and flat roofs may leak.

  • Leaks and water damage

Damaged shingles, degraded flashing, and poor installation cause roof leaks. Water intrusion through the roof will damage walls, ceilings, insulation, and structural components. If not addressed, roof leaks cause water damage and mould growth.

  • Ice dams

During periods of freezing and thawing, ice dams can form along the eaves. They stop melting snow from draining from the roof and cause water backup and roof leaks. Adequate ventilation, insulation, and roof maintenance prevent ice dam formation.

  • Flashing and sealant failure

Flashing (around chimney vents, skylights and roof penetration) is critical against water intrusion. In time, flashing may become loose, deteriorate, and let water seep into the roof. Sealants at seal joints and seams may also degrade in time and allow water infiltration.

  • Poor ventilation and insulation

Poor roof ventilation and insulation favour moisture buildup in the attic which causes mould growth, wood rot, and degradation of roofing materials.

Methods of Roof Cleaning

Several methods can be used to clean the roof:

Pressure washing

Pressure washing uses high-pressure water streams to dislodge and remove difficult stains, dirt, moss, algae, and debris from the roof surface. It is an adequate cleaning method for concrete tiles, metal, and some types of asphalt shingles.

If not correctly handled, pressure washing may damage delicate surfaces and some roofing materials.

Soft washing

Soft washing is a gentle alternative to pressure washing. It uses low-pressure water and specialized cleaning solutions to clean the roof. It’s an effective method for fragile roofing materials such as cedar shakes, clay tiles, and some sorts of asphalt shingles.

The cleaning solutions break down organic growths and stains. The cleaning method is effective and doesn’t damage the roof.

Manual scraping

Brooms, brushes, and scrapers are used to manually remove debris, leaves, and branches. Manual cleaning is typically used with other cleaning methods. It’s used to pre-treat intensely soiled areas or areas difficult to access for pressure or soft washing. Manual cleaning is time and effort-consuming, but it ensures accurate cleaning and doesn’t damage the roof.

Chemical treatments

Specialized cleaning solutions or biocides are used with chemical treatments. They kill algae, moss, lichen, and other organic growths. The treatments are applied before or after pressure or soft washing. Chemical treatments improve efficiency and stop the regrowth of organic contaminants.

Preventive maintenance

Preventive maintenance measures reduce the accumulation of debris growths on the roof surface and reduce the need for deep cleaning. Trimming overhanging tree branches, installing gutter guards, and maintaining effective roof ventilation are preventive measures.


Before choosing the roof cleaning method, it’s crucial to consider the roofing material, the condition of the roof, and the level of dirtiness and contamination. Any particular cleaning limitations or requirements should also be considered.

What are the benefits of roof cleaning

The benefits of roof cleaning go beyond expanding its lifespan. Here are the main benefits of roof cleaning:

  • Prevents roof degradation

Regular roof cleaning removes debris, organic growth, and environmental pollutants that deteriorate the roof. As it eliminates the factors that degrade the roof (moisture retention and microbial growth), regular roof cleaning maintains the roof’s integrity.

  • Expands roof’s durability

When the roof is well-maintained, it will last longer than a neglected roof. With regular removal of debris, the risk for the buildup of organic growth decreases. Regular cleaning reduces the effects of wear and tear, weathering, and environmental exposure. Such a proactive approach expands the roof’s lifespan.

  • Improves energy efficiency

A clean roof will efficiently reflect sunlight and absorb less heat than an algae-covered roof. By decreasing heat absorption, roof cleaning keeps the inside cool during hot weather and reduces the need for air conditioning. The energy costs are reduced significantly.

  • Prevents water damage

Clogged gutters, deposited debris, and organic growth affect water drainage from the roof and cause water pooling, leaks, and water damage inside. Regular roof cleaning helps with water flow off the roof and reduces the risk of water infiltration and related problems like rotting wood, and mould growth. With a watertight roofing system, roof cleaning protects people from water-related hazards.

  • Enhances curb appeal

A nice cleaned roof improves the curb appeal of a property. Unsightly stains, streaks, moss, algae, and debris alter a roof’s appearance. Roof cleaning eliminates them all and gives the roof back its original colour, texture, and appearance. A clean roof makes the whole property appealing and welcoming.

Efficiency of roof cleaning

Even if there is no plethora of formal studies focused on the efficiency of roof cleaning, some research exists. It indirectly indicates the efficiency of roof cleaning for maintaining the roof’s integrity. Here are some points to consider:

  • Comparative studies

Some studies have compared the performance of roofs that benefit from regular cleaning with those that do not. They offer insights into the impact of cleaning and maintenance on a roof’s lifespan, structural integrity, and energy efficiency.

  • Long-term observational studies

Long-term observational studies track the condition of roofs over long periods and provide data on the effects of regular cleaning. They assess the efficiency of roof cleaning in preventing leaks, degradation, and premature failure.

  • Environmental impact studies

Studies on the environmental impact of roof cleaning practices, such as the use of cleaning agents and water consumption, may indirectly evaluate the efficiency of various cleaning methods. By assessing factors such as cleaning efficacy, resource efficiency, and environmental sustainability, such studies reveal the best procedures for roof maintenance.

  • Testing roofing materials

Research on testing the performance of roofing materials under various maintenance scenarios, including cleaning, can offer information about the efficiency of roof cleaning in preserving material properties, such as colour retention, reflectivity, and structural integrity. The studies help people understand the long-term benefits of regular cleaning for various roofing materials.

  • Expert opinions and surveys

Surveys and expert opinions from roofing professionals, industry associations, and building maintenance experts offer information about the perceived efficiency of roof cleaning practices. Such sources provide industry perspectives on the efficiency of roof cleaning in maintaining roof performance and lifespan.

Expert opinions and industry recommendations

Several expert opinions and industry recommendations from the UK support the importance of roof cleaning and maintenance. Here are the most significant:

  • British Standards Institution (BSI)

The BSI offers guidelines and standards for many industries, such as construction and building maintenance. BSI standards highlight the importance of regular maintenance to ensure the performance, safety, and durability of buildings. It implies that roof cleaning should be part of regular maintenance.

  • Roofing Industry Associations

Organizations such as the National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC) and the Confederation of Roofing Contractors (CRC) offer guidance and recommendations for roof maintenance practices. Their resources may not specifically address roof cleaning, but they do highlight the importance of maintenance to avoid issues such as water ingress, deterioration, and structural damage. They all reflect the efficiency of regular roof cleaning as a preventive measure.

  • Expert roofing contractors

Reputed roofing contractors in the UK often talk about regular roof maintenance, including cleaning, as crucial for expanding roofs’ lifespan. Their opinions may be anecdotal, but their experience in the field lends credibility to the efficiency of roof cleaning in preserving roof integrity and performance.

  • Roofing material manufacturers

Manufacturers of roofing materials in the UK offer recommendations for maintaining their products., their maintenance instructions often refer to regular cleaning to remove debris, algae, and moss. They suggest its importance in preserving the appearance and functionality of roofing materials.

  • Property maintenance experts and surveys

Surveys and reports conducted by property maintenance experts or organizations may highlight the importance of roof maintenance and cleaning. Such sources provide valuable insights into the industry’s best procedures and reflect the efficiency of regular roof cleaning.

Potential risks with roof cleaning

Potential risks and downsides associated with roof cleaning make safety paramount when cleaning. Here are the risks related to cleaning the roof:

  • Damage to roofing materials

Incorrect cleaning procedures (using abrasive tools, and excessive pressure) may damage the roofing materials. High-pressure washing may dislodge or break tiles, shingles, and roofing components. Leaks, loss of granules, and premature degradation of the roof will likely happen.

Harsh scraping and abrasive cleaning methods may wear down the surface of the roof. They may compromise the roof’s integrity and shorten its lifespan.

  • Water intrusion

Improper sealing or handling of roof penetrations (vents, skylights, and chimneys) during cleaning procedures may cause water intrusion. Damage to the seals, flashing, and roofing membranes will make pathways for water to enter the roof system. Leaks, moisture buildup, and water damage inside will occur.

  • Chemical damage

The use of harsh or corrosive chemicals for roof cleaning may damage the roofing materials, vegetation, and environment. Bleach, chlorine, and ammonia-based cleaners will degrade roofing surfaces, strip protective coatings, and harm water bodies and nearby landscaping. The runoff from chemical agents will pollute groundwater and harm aquatic ecosystems.

  • Risks to personal safety

Roof cleaning requires working at heights, which is dangerous for property owners and contractors. Falls, slips, and injuries from equipment may occur. The professionals take on safety precautions such as using fall protection gear and securing ladders. Wet and slippery surfaces also increase the risk of accidents.

  • Environmental impact

The runoff from roof cleaning activities (water, cleaning solutions, and debris) impacts the environment when not adequately managed. Chemical runoff may contaminate soil, waterways, and aquatic habitats, and harm animals and plants. Correct containment and disposal of wastewater are paramount.

  • Voiding warranties

Some roofing warranties may include specific requirements or restrictions about roof cleaning methods and products. Should one not adhere to the guidelines, they risk voiding the warranty coverage. The property owners will have to cover costs for roof repair or replacements.


Hire responsible and experienced professionals for roof cleaning. They will employ safe and adequate roof cleaning methods, use eco-friendly cleaning solutions, and follow manufacturer recommendations. Professionals also follow strict safety protocols so that roof cleaning is a stress-free experience from beginning to end.

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Gerri Davies
Gerri Davies
Absolutely overjoyed with the results and would highly recommend. Gutters were filthy and clogged up and they’re all sorted now thank you. Efficient and really conscientious in his work and he even checked in with my neighbor for any residual. Good job well done thank you
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Jane Howard
Pete and his partner did a fantastic job on a filthy conservatory in truly horrible weather conditions. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend!
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Very good service. Would recommend.
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The team very friendly and helpful when cleaning my conservatory windows. They were pretty filthy but now look spotless and have been treated so green algae won’t appear so quickly. Well priced and wouldn’t hesitate to use again.
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Jerry Shaffer
Northampton Window Cleaners did a Great job cleaning my windows. They are very responsive, hardworking, and professional.

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