If you’ve noticed debris collecting on your roof, should you bother removing it? After all, how much damage can a few sticks, leaves, and bits of moss really do? At Paradigm Roofing, we’re dedicated to helping you maintain a structurally sound, long-lasting roof, and we know that a clean roof offers far more longevity and protection than a dirty one. If you’ve been contemplating how to go about cleaning your roof, or if you’ve wondered whether debris removal is something you should even attempt, we’ve put together this brief guide to get you started. Here is how to remove debris from your roof:
The DIY Route: How to Remove Debris From Your Roof
If you’re opting for the do-it-yourself debris removal route, check out these helpful tips our team at Paradigm Roofing has put together a few to streamline your process. Here’s how to get the job done safely and effectively:
Step 1: Select a Clear Day
Never clean your roof on a day when you suspect there may be precipitation! Traversing a wet roof is extremely dangerous, so keep an eye on the weather and opt for a clear, cool, slightly overcast day to prevent heat exhaustion while cleaning.
Step 2: Safety First
Safety is always the first priority when working on a roof, so be sure to wear slip-resistant footwear to reduce your risk of falling. Moreover, when you’re planning to scale a roof, it’s always a good idea to have a partner to keep an eye on your safety. If you have someone who can help you, ask if that person would be willing to hold your ladder and keep an eye out for hazards while you’re cleaning.
Step 3: Break Out the Leaf Blower
If you have a leaf blower (or if you can rent one), you’ll speed up your debris-removal process considerably. A leaf blower is typically the best tool for the job because you can quickly and easily remove leaves, sticks, and other objects from almost anywhere on the surface of the roof—even if you cannot safely reach a particular zone.
Simply aim the blower at existing debris and direct the flow of air so that it pushes buildup off the roof and onto the ground. Try your best to avoid aiming the air stream directly up the slope of your roof, as it can damage or loosen the shingles. If you have a chimney, skylight, or any other roof protrusion, try to avoid aiming the blower at those structures as well.
Step 4: Examine the Roof for Stains or Growths
After you’ve removed all the loose debris from your roof, it’s time to tackle any tough spots. Take a look around the structure and if you notice areas of black staining, moss growth, algae development, or lichen growth, you’ll need to conduct a more intense cleaning process. Ideally, you should hire a professional to perform this job, but if you’re ready to tackle the work yourself, here’s how to remove more stubborn growths:
- Algae growths. Use a spray bottle to apply a 50-50 solution of water and laundry detergent. Allow the solution to sit on the roof for 15 to 20 minutes, and rinse it away with a stream of low-pressure water.
- Black stains. Apply a 4-1 water-bleach solution with a bit of added detergent to roof stains. Allow the solution to sit on the stains for 15 to 20 minutes, and rinse it away with a stream of water from your garden hose. If you have persistent stains, consider having a roofing company install strips of copper or zinc, which are toxic to the bacterium that form black roof stains. You may also want to consider having algae-resistant, copper-infused shingles installed when you have your next roof replacement.
- Moss growth. Use the same cleaning procedure as you’d use for removing black stains from your roof.
Step 5: Clean the Gutters
Using a leaf blower to remove debris from your roof will no doubt push objects into your gutters, so the final step in the debris-removal process is gutter cleaning. To clear buildup from within the gutters, grab a bucket and a pair of thick, protective gloves. Use a ladder to access each gutter, and little by little, grab handfuls of debris and toss it into your bucket. When you’ve removed all leaves, sticks, and other organic matter, thoroughly rinse each gutter with a low-pressure stream of water.
Why Should You Remove Debris From Your Roof?
If you don’t need to scale your roof to clean off debris, why would you? After all, it seems a tedious job, and to the untrained eye, the average roof appears to be doing just fine—pine needles, sticks, leaves, and all, right? True, your roof is designed to withstand debris buildup, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t suffer damaging consequences if you allow organic matter to collect unchecked.
While it’s not necessary to maintain a completely debris-free roof, it certainly is important to examine the structure periodically and clear away significant buildup. If you allow debris to accumulate with no intervention, here’s what can happen:
- Gutter leaks. Your gutters can fill with organic debris, which will block water from flowing through freely. As water accumulates, it can spill over the edges of the gutters, leaking onto your home’s siding and degrading it slowly.
- Poor energy efficiency. Your energy bills may increase as your roof slowly becomes less energy efficient. When you leave excess debris on the structure, that debris can cause your roof to absorb additional heat, which drives up your annual cooling costs. A clean roof, however, is designed to reflect the sun’s rays, which prevents excess solar heat from entering your home and helps keep energy bills as low as possible.
- Roof deterioration. Depending on the type of organic matter your roof accumulates, that debris can slowly cause roof deterioration. Algae growth—which appears as black stains on your roof—can cause shingle damage as bacteria feed on the limestone and asphalt within your shingles. Lichen can penetrate your shingles’ oil base, and moss can hold damaging moisture against the structure, which can result in roof rot and water leaks.
Bottom line? If you don’t clean your roof when you notice debris buildup, you’re asking for trouble. Whether you prefer the DIY route or professional debris removal, maintaining a clean roof will help you avoid premature deterioration and roof repair or replacement.
Need Roof Repair? Contact Paradigm Roofing Today
If you’re in the market for roof repair, maintenance, or replacement, our team at Paradigm Roofing has you (and your roof) covered. For over 30 years, we’ve been serving McKinney, Dallas, and Fort Worth homeowners, and we’d love to make you our next fully satisfied client. We specialize in high-quality roof repair and installation, siding installation, ventilation installation, and insulation updates, and as a member of the Roofing Contractors Association of Texas, we hold our crew to the highest industry standards. Whether you’re looking to repair your existing structure or you’re in the middle of new home construction, we’re the team to call when you want reliable, honest contractors who get the job done right — the first time.
To learn more about how we can help you maintain or update your home, give our team a call at 972-528-0574 or leave us a message on our contact page. We’re available 24/7 for service requests, so feel free to reach out anytime!