One of the most important aspects of home maintenance starts with the roof above your head. South Carolina experiences constant weather fluctuations that, over time, can weaken the integrity of your roof through algae and moss growth, foliage buildup, and moisture exposure.
Due to these factors, it’s vital that one takes proper care of their roof through regular roof cleaning and maintenance. We talked to several of our local roofing experts to find out if it’s a smart idea to get your roof cleaned.
As we drove through our own neighborhood recently, we have been seeing more and more “soft wash” and roof cleaning company trucks around. We wanted to know what the deal was and if their ads and flyers were just sharp marketing or their was some truth behind their message.
If this is all news to you and you’ve never cleaned your roof before, there’s no need to worry. We’ve created this guide to help you understand the importance of roof cleaning so you can stay ahead of the game and keep your home safe, sturdy, and appealing year-round. Tapping into several local roofers, we got to the bottom of the story.
Why Is Roof Cleaning So Important In The Lowcountry?
If you’re a homeowner in the Bluffton area or other parts of South Carolina, you should keep an eye on the state of your roof all year. It should be cleaned about twice a year, but depending on how much inclement weather your area sees or how much foliage builds up, this number could be bumped up to three or even four times a year. The benefits of having a clean roof pay for themselves over the years and are often overlooked so here are a few of the many reasons why it pays to keep your roof in tip-top shape!
“To prevent your roof from rotting or decaying, it’s important that you make cleaning a regular part of your yearly routine.”
Prevent Roof Leaks
The more rain your area sees, the more likely it is that your roof and gutters can build up dirt, grime, leaves, or even mold and algae. Over time, these can damage the integrity of your roof and lead to leaks into your home.
Not only are leaks a pain to deal with, but your home’s energy efficiency will be compromised which leads to higher energy bills. To prevent your roof from rotting or decaying, it’s important that you make cleaning a regular part of your yearly routine.
Kelly Williams from Lowcountry Roof Repairs explained to us that having your roof cleaned once or twice a year is a great way to be proactive in spotting potential roof issues and trouble before it’s too late. “You normally don’t get on top of your roof and have a good look, out of sight out of mind, but that’s exactly when trouble starts to creep up.”
Prevent Mold Growth For Better Health
Preventing mold growth is one of the best benefits of proper roof maintenance. Mold and mildew thrives in places where there’s plenty of rain and moisture. Unfortunately, this makes South Carolina and the coastal region a popular vacation spot for many forms of fungi.
Not only does mold carry the risk of respiratory and other health issues, but it eats away your roof shingles and leaves them vulnerable to even more damage. Rather than risk dealing with mold removal and roof repair, you can avoid it altogether by clearing your roof of any debris and cleaning it properly.
Prevent Costly Roof Repair
Depending on its size, how much cleaning needs to be done, and other factors, roof cleaning services could run you between $200 to $800. This may seem like a lot of money, but it’s incomparable to what you might need to pay for full blown repairs.
Homeowners who neglect their roof can expect to pay double or even triple the price of roof cleaning for complete repairs.
For these reasons, roof cleaning services are a great investment for a healthy, long-lasting, and gorgeous rooftop that provides peace of mind from potential damage.
What’s Does Roof Cleaning Entail?
Coastal storms, heavy winds, and other inclement weather will blow dirt, branches, leaves, and other debris onto your rooftop. Many softwash companies understand how important it is to keep it clear by using only the safest and most effective techniques.
Depending on your situation, they choose from an arsenal of techniques including low-pressure rinsing, sweeping, and air blowing to remove rooftop debris without the risk of damaging your shingles.
Is your roof looking a little green and unappealing? If you see any of these signs, it’s time to get to cleaning. In our experience, moss build-up is common and one of the main reasons why Bluffton homeowners seek us for professional roof cleaning services.
Moss can lead to moisture build-up that leaves your home vulnerable to many potential issues. There are many treatments that can eliminate moss and minimize the chances of its return.
Algae build-up is another common growth that piles up alongside moss. Algae likes to accumulate in downspouts, so it’s not always noticeable in its early stages. But over time, it will spread invasively throughout your shingles and cause problems for your roof’s structural integrity.
Many homeowners don’t realize that algae is causing any problems until it becomes visible. At this point, the damage starts to set in since algae feeds off of the limestone filler inside your shingles. From here, years can be taken off the life of your roof if it isn’t handled swiftly.
In extreme cases, large accumulation of algae can even take away from your home’s energy efficiency. Shingle deterioration causes your roof to not block out UV rays as effectively, so your home can leak air conditioning and heat, which leads to an expensive utility bill. But don’t fret, most experts roof cleaners can properly treat your entire rooftop for algae growth.
Even though algae isn’t always visible, you want to stop it’s growth and make sure it’s prevented or removed before before it becomes a larger issue for your rooftop.
“Extra debris can cause the gutters to sag and pull with the extra weight”
As a homeowner, you may have noticed your gutters become clogged with leaves, dirt, and branches even after just one storm. Here in the Lowcountry, pine needles are probably our biggest culprit of clogged gutters. Since the coastal region in South Carolina experiences strong storms frequently, you might find yourself needing to clear your gutters more than a few times a year.
You can certainly clear the debris yourself, but you might want to hire a professional team to ensure the debris is cleared completely and that no damage is done to your gutters. Like your roof, it’s hard to notice the build up of junk in your gutters unless you make the effort of inspecting them on a regular basis.
We spoke to Jake Morton from Best Gutter Guys, a well known gutter expert right here in Bluffton, and he was extremely insightful helping us to understand that even a mild amount of debris in your gutters can cause an issue. “The biggest problem when gutters are clogged or even a little backed-up, is your are now forcing water in different directions and patterns. Typically this means you have water backing up under your shingles, possible behind your siding and worst of all, along your foundation causing erosion. Besides that, all that debris can cause the gutters to sag and pull with the extra weight.”
Pressure Washing and Chemical Cleaning
Over the years, we have found that pressure cleaning and chemical washes are an effective way to clear debris, algae, and mold. Pressure washing is a great for quickly clearing away debris and built up grime from your rooftop to keep it structurally sound and gorgeous in appearance.
Keep in mind that every roof is different, so make sure whoever you hire does not to use ultra high pressure on sensitive rooftops that could result in damage.
The next step after clearing away leaves and twigs, you move onto chemical washes for cleaning your roof. Also known as a “soft wash,” chemical treatments are used to eliminate algae or mold as well as prevent their future return.
Many people have some concerns about chemical runoff killing your plants or landscapes after cleaning services are finished. Because of this concern, a good company will take great care in using a proper balance of chemicals that kills algae or mold while keeping your plants alive and healthy.
Properly handling this concern is what sets apart the amateurs from the professionals. If your roof cleaner doesn’t have the proper knowledge or tools for the job, using a pressure washer or incorrect chemical mixture could damage your rooftop even more than before it was cleaned.
A key tip about hiring a professional roof cleaner came from Bill Ball with BB Roofing, one of the oldest roofing companies in the area. “Makes sure whoever you hire has the experience to do the job properly. Like many home maintenance contractors, some are not as experienced and caring as others. If not done properly, the wrong chemical or to much water pressure can actually damage your roof and cause more issues. Make sure to check references.”
Roof cleaning is key for keeping your home beautiful and structurally sound for years to come. Homeowners in the Lowcountry know this particularly well and find themselves cleaning their rooftops throughout the year.
There’s no harm in maintaining your roof yourself with the right tools and a little time on the weekends. But in extreme cases, it doesn’t hurt to hire a professional to take care of business for you.
If your roof is steep or you’re unable to clean it yourself for any reason, make sure your call in a professional!
Rooftop maintenance can be a lengthy and frustrating job if you don’t know what to look for. Professional roof cleaning services are worth hiring in these circumstances. Not only does a clean roof look better, it will give you an opportunity to have the roof inspected for hidden damage or unseen issues from the ground.
Remember, hidden issues that can weaken your roof’s structure over time.