A Property Managers Guide to Roof Cleaning
If you have been in the property management field for more than a few years the odds are pretty good that you have dealt with roof cleaning issues. Roof cleaning can be very costly, cleaning up after the roof cleaners can also be very costly. Repairing the damage that roof cleaner’s create never gets figured into the initial estimate because you are not expecting damage but it happens more often than not but if you are aware of the potential destruction ahead of time you can prevent it from occurring, limiting the cost and headaches and that is what property management is all about.
There are many funguses that can settle on a roof that are both destructive to the roof and repulsive to look at. Moss, lichen, black algae (black mold), green mold/algae make up the bulk of matter and removal has become a necessity. Roofs need to be cleaned for a variety of reasons; to prevent destruction and early replacement, to control increased energy costs and to correct the devaluing of the property.
Asphalt shingle, cedar shake and tile roofs are the most commonly affected roofs, each is affected differently.
Asphalt roofs are destroyed more rapidly than the others, fungus can grow under shingles lifting them until they crack and fall off. The fungus tendrils or “roots” also dig through the reflective granules causing them to dislodge and fall off, this action results in the thinning of shingles taking years off the expected life of the shingle as they then curl and cup.
Cedar roofs need to remain dry to last, when a cedar roof is covered with fungus, the fungus traps moisture in the wood which causes rotting, which invites wood feeding insects and that rapidly deteriorates the integrity of the wood.
Tile roofs are most commonly found in the south and although fungus can’t destroy tile like it does asphalt or wood, tiles are destroyed by having the weight roof cleaners walking on the roof, tile are fragile especially after baking in the sun for years, the damage isn’t apparent at first but as the cracks wash out with rain water they will become dislodged and fall off.
Other than destructive damage the fungus can cause, the home owner can expect an increase in energy bills. Fungus is generally dark colored and dark colors absorb sunlight which increases the heat in attics, crawl spaces and second or top floors causing the air conditioners to work overtime to cool those spaces, resulting in higher than normal energy bills.
To top it off the majority of the roof cleaning products on the market require plants, bushes and any foliage around the home to be either covered or be constantly wet down because the toxicity in the cleaning solution will kill them and as careful as the roof cleaners may be there are always casualties within the foliage.
With the above mentioned negative effects of roof fungus the worst to a property manager is the fact that a home or dwelling with an infected roof is an “eye-sore”, it makes a pretty house look ugly, it makes an expensive development look run down or unmaintained, it not only decreases the value of the infected home but the value of the neighbors home as well, these homes are treated like lepers and as more homes catch the infection a leper colony is formed.
It’s at this point the property management team usually steps in and demand notices are sent out demanding that the roofs be cleaned. Now you have irritated home owners being forced to spend money, potentially damage their home and a host of problems on the horizon.
Two solutions come to mind; the first is if you have to have a roof cleaned then specify that the roof cleaners use a solution that will not harm the foliage or alter the look of the home and the second solution is called “preventative maintenance” by this I mean coating the roofs periodically with a solution that will not allow fungus to mature, no cleaning is necessary and the following rains wash off the fungus that was removed. Proper roof maintenance is by far the most cost effective way to keep the roofs clean. Monies can be budgeted for periodic roof treatments instead of shocking a home owners association with a massive budget breaking roof cleaning estimate. Maintenance sprayings can be done from the gutters edge, this way avoiding workers need to be walking the roofs. Proper maintenance schedule will mean roofs never getting dirty again, never degrading the appearance of the community.
98% of the roof cleaning contractors are of “old school” knowledge and cleaning methods this includes the use of chlorine bleach as the cleaning chemical of choice, that alone is the cause of the foliage damage along with terrible fumes and odors and staining of painted surfaces. Bleach was not formulated to clean deep in the pores and crevices of roofing material, bleach is a topical cleaner. Cleaning a roof with bleach is the equivalent of running a lawnmower through and field of dandelions to wipe out the weed problem, it looks good initially but the problem grows right back.
At Wash Safe we take roof cleaning seriously, we formulated and eco-safe roof cleaner called “Roof Wash” that will not harm plants (there is no need to even cover them), it has no chemical odors or fumes (in fact it has a clean citrus scent), it will not harm the roof in any way and keeps roofs clean twice as long as bleach because it was designed to clean deep in every pore and crevice this way the complete spore and fungus rooting system is being removed.
The next time your management firm is faced with a roof cleaning project specify that the roof cleaning contractors use Wash Safe’s Roof Wash and have them design a maintenance schedule for periodic roof coatings and your roof cleaning problems will be history. Preventative maintenance and cleaning with eco-safe Roof Wash, by Wash Safe is the key to a clean, worry free future.
This article was written by John Redihan President of Wash Safe Industries.