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How Often Should You Clean Your Roof?

February 10th, 2023 | 5 min. read

How Often Should You Clean Your Roof?

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Your roof is a huge part of your home. So, even if it’s subconsciously, you’ll notice when it starts to get dirty.

This leads to you thinking your roof needs to be cleaned. But does it even need to be cleaned? And if so, how often should you get your roof cleaned?  

For over 30 years, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has helped homeowners understand how to maintain their roof to keep it running smoothly throughout its life. Because of this, I’ll break down what you need to know about cleaning your roof.

This article answers the following questions:

  • How do I know if I need to clean my roof?
  • How often should you clean your roof?
  • Should you clean your roof yourself?

How do I know if I need to clean my roof?

It’s inevitable for your roof to get dirty as it ages. But just because you see some dirt doesn’t necessarily mean that your roof needs cleaning. 

black algae streaks and moss growing on roof(Left: black algae streaks on roof; Right: moss growing on roof)

So, before getting to how often you should clean your roof, you need to know how to determine if cleaning your roof is even necessary. Here are some key signs that you should clean your roof: 

  • Piles of leaves or debris stuck on your roof and in your gutters
  • Moss on your roof
  • Algae (black streaks) has formed on your shingles
  • Your roof is covered in dirt or animal droppings 

While all of these are aesthetic issues, some can also cause damage to your roof if left to sit for too long. For example, bird droppings are highly acidic and eat away most types of roofing materials, especially tar-based materials.

leaves and debris sitting in a roof valley

Leaving sitting debris on your roof, especially in roof valleys, will also cause damage to your roofing materials. This debris (leaves and sticks) creates a “dam” that doesn’t allow water to drain down to gutters and instead gets underneath your roofing material. 

It’s also a problem when debris becomes saturated and sits in a closed roof valley for prolonged periods of time. The longer it sits, the more saturated the debris becomes, which damages your roof and shortens its lifespan.

How often should you clean your roof? 

Now that you know the signs that your roof needs cleaning, let’s break down how often you should clean it. I recommend getting your roof cleaned at least once every year. 

Getting it cleaned every two years is also acceptable, but getting it done annually is what I recommend to homeowners. Just know that your roof won’t necessarily need cleaning every year because of moss or algae, mainly because it takes time to form.  

The main reason it’s recommended is to keep your roof clear of debris to avoid the problems we talked about in the last section. Fortunately, yearly roof inspections by a local roofing contractor usually include clearing debris from your roof and gutters.

While this is important, an annual inspection is also the best way to stay in front of future problems. I understand you’re probably not thinking about your roof throughout the year. 

That’s why I recommend signing up for a maintenance program that gets you on the calendar for regularly scheduled annual roof inspections and cleaning. This takes the pressure of remembering off your shoulders so you can continue to have the peace of mind a high-quality roof gives you. 

Should you clean your roof yourself?

With the rise of self-tutorials and DIY videos online, some homeowners wonder if it’s possible to clean their roof themselves. While it is possible to clean your roof yourself, you need to do it right to avoid damaging it. 

For example, the first instinct to get rid of dirt, bird droppings, algae, and moss is to use a pressure washer. While it makes sense for most external home cleaning, you should never pressure wash a roof. 

This will damage your asphalt shingles and blow the protective granules off the shingles away. You also need to consider your safety, how you handle heights, and comfort level on a ladder.

asphalt shingle granules on the ground(Asphalt shingle granules on the ground)

If you aren’t 100% confident that you can clean your roof safely, don’t even attempt it. For safety reasons and preventing damage, it’s a good idea to contact a professional. 

This isn’t to say you can’t clean your roof and do it right. However, you can count on a local roofing contractor to clean your roof safely and correctly to protect the longevity of your roof. 

Make sure to hire a great roofing contractor for your roof cleaning 

Now you know if you should clean your roof, how often it should be cleaned, and if you can clean it yourself. As I said, it’s up to you if you want to clean your own roof. 

But if you’re like most homeowners, you’ll probably reach out to a professional. Unfortunately, even a roofing contractor can mess up a roof cleaning and do damage. 

That’s why it’s important to hire a reputable roofing contractor with experience cleaning roofs. But it’s hard to tell the difference between a great roofing contractor and a less-than-reputable one.

That’s why I wrote another article with the tips needed to hire a great roofing contractor for any roofing project, including roof cleaning. 

Since 1990, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has provided high-quality roofing services to thousands of homeowners in Nashville and surrounding Middle Tennessee areas. Whether we’re cleaning your roof or replacing it, you can count on the attention to detail and workmanship we’re known for. 

Check out 7 Tips to Find a Great Roofing Contractor to find a great roofer for roof cleaning, roof repairs, and any other roofing project.roofing contractor questions checklist

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