Angie's List: Roof cleaning

Its spring and you've probably cleaned your closets, your flower beds and your garage. But you may want to consider the roof over your head.

These days, more and more homeowners are hiring folks to scrub their shingles. It's a new pitch for improving your home's curb appeal. But is it over most people's heads?

First impressions are everything, and that's no different for our homes.

"Roof cleaning can be a great way to improve the curb appeal of your house. If you see algae or moss streaking on your roof removing that can make your house look a lot better. But keep in mind, if your roof is old or in need of repair that's the first thing you should be doing before you step to cleaning it,” explains founder of Angie’s List Angie Hicks.

So what exactly is that up on your roof that looks so nasty?

"Most people see that black algae streaking and what that black algae streaking is actually the dead cells that are on top of the live cells. It's called geo capsule magnels is the name of the algae that is on there. We totally remove that and kill all of those cells so they are no longer present. Also, the mold, moss and liken we are also able to kill and remove that too,” says Roof Cleaning Contractor Michael Spiczenski.

You may be tempted to do the job yourself.

"At face value roof cleaning can feel like a do-it-yourself project, but it's not. Let's face it, you're going to be on the roof, on a ladder, using water and detergent which can make the roof very slippery. You should leave this project to a professional,” says Angie.

Roof cleaning costs can range from $350-$1,200. The price depends on various factors including the size, shape, pitch, an infestation of the roof.

"Roof cleaning is a lot more affordable then what people think. Generally speaking I'm usually asked what is the cost of roof cleaning and I tell people it's anywhere between 3-5% of overall replacement costs,” says Spiczenski.

But should you be concerned that cleaning your rood can, in the long run, do more harm than good?

"When talking to potential companies about cleaning your roof things you want to be careful of are anyone that considers pressure washing or abrasive detergents in order to clean the roof because they could potentially damage your roof or void your warranty,” describes Angie.

"We use a solution that we put on the roof it's called a soft wash, we spray it from the gutter line and we have a air compressor on our truck which run the pumps that we utilize they are called off low pumps we are able to shoot 50 feet from the ladder on the roof itself,” explains Spiczenski.

The contractor should explain in detail the equipment and the cleansers they use.

Will the products damage your roof material, lawn or plants? Are their products environmentally safe?

Also, any type of roof work is dangerous, and roof cleaning is no exception. Ask the contractor for proof of insurance/workers' compensation before hiring.

And ask for references. A reputable company will provide references of past clients and a portfolio of before and after work.

Content:
First impressions are everything, and that's no different for our homes. Having great curb appeal will add value to your home, whether it is on the market or you plan to stay forever.

There are many ways to increase your home's curb appeal - for instance, landscaping and painting - and more companies are offering roof cleaning.

Angie's List, the nation's leading provider of consumer reviews , asked highly rated roof cleaners about what types of infestations can take place on a roof.

Algae and moss growth
• Asphalt shingle roofs that are in constant shade tend to attract algae growth which feeds off of microscopic particles in the limestone used in the shingles.
• This growth can be seen as a black or dark green staining on the roof.

Whether the presence of the algae is detrimental to the roof's lifespan is a debatable question.
Roof cleaning isn't necessarily harmful if done professionally, and many homeowners value the aesthetics of a clean roof. But it pays to do your research and ask the right questions before you determine if roof cleaning is right for you.

Angie's List Tips: Hiring a roof cleaner
• Cleaning method process: The contractor should explain in detail the equipment and the cleansers they use. Will the products damage your roof material, lawn or plants? Are their products environmentally safe? Steer clear of any company that insists on using high pressure washing or abrasive cleaners - both which can damage your roof and possibly void your roof's warranty.
• Ask about insurance: Any type of roof work is dangerous, and roof cleaning is no exception. Ask the contractor for proof of insurance/workers' compensation before hiring.
• Inquire about costs: Roof cleaning costs can range from $350-$1,200. The price depends on various factors including the size, shape, pitch, an infestation of the roof.
• Is there a warranty? Ask the company about a warranty/guarantee? What steps will the company take if the algae/moss streaking reappears after a certain amount of time?
• Ask for references: A reputable company will provide references of past clients and a portfolio of before/after work.
• Don't ignore repairs: If your roof is in need of repairs or replacement - it doesn't make sense to invest in a cleaning. If you're not sure, have a home inspector check out your roof before you do anything. Have your roof professionally inspected every two to three years.


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