While metal roofs generally require very little maintenance, cleaning your metal roof will help keep it looking and working great, year after year. If your metal roof is painted or has a special coating, it’s especially important to keep it clear of debris and residue. The coating is there to protect the metal from breaking down. Even though it’s been formulated to stand up to the elements, regular cleaning will help it do its job to protect your roof.

You should plan to clean your metal roof at least once per year, or when you notice a buildup of debris, stains, mildew, moss, or mold.

Why You Should Clean Your Metal Roof

Keeping your metal roof clean is a great way to extend its life, maintain its appearance, and protect your home. Over time, UV rays and contact with oxygen in the air will naturally cause the paint to break down. If you’ve noticed a white, dusty residue on your roof’s surface this is known as chalking — a common sign that oxidation has started to wear the surface of the paint. It doesn’t mean your roof is compromised, but it is a sign that you need to clean your roof. 

Excessive chalking is not typically covered in warranties, mostly because it’s easy to prevent. Regular maintenance like cleaning and spot touch-ups will help minimize the effects of oxidation and protect your investment in your metal roof.

Cleaning your metal roof is easy to do, and it’s a simple way to prevent rust stains and the growth of moss, mildew, or mold. When cleaning, you’ll want to remove any dirt, leaves, pollen, tree sap, and acid or substances deposited from rain.

What You Need to Clean Your Metal Roof 

To clean your metal roof, all you need is a washcloth, sponge, soft-bristled brush, or cleaning pad. It’s important to only use non-abrasive materials. Scratches to the paint may cause it to degrade faster as oxidation can reach further into the surface.

In most cases, you can just use water with your cleaning tool to remove debris. If there is some buildup of sap, grease, or other substances, you can add a mild detergent to the water to help break it up. Laundry detergent, detergent for car-washing, or dish soap are gentle enough to use on metal roofs. Bleach, rubbing alcohol, or mineral spirits can be used to spot-clean tough stains if they appear, but shouldn’t be used to clean the entire surface.

How to Clean a Metal Roof

Cleaning your metal roof is simple. Follow these steps annually to protect your roof against rust, mildew and other contaminants.

  • Rinse what you can with water.
  • Add detergent (¼ cup per gallon) to water.
  • Apply the solution with a sponge or cloth.
  • Rinse well after 5-10 minutes.
  • Spot-clean mildew, mold, or rust with appropriate safe cleaners.

Do’s and Don’ts of Cleaning a Metal Roof

Don’t use a high-pressure washer.

Don’t use sandpaper, steel wool, or other abrasive materials to clean — even on mold, mildew, or rust stains.

Don’t let toxic run-off reach the ground if you’re using chemicals for stains.

Do use a small amount of bleach with an appropriate detergent to remove mold or mildew stains.

Do consult an expert if there is a stain you’re unsure how to remove.

Do wear protective clothing if you clean your roof yourself, including glasses, gloves, and shoes with good traction.

Do use safe practices when cleaning your roof including fall protection, a ladder compliant with OSHA standards, and a buddy.

Finally, don’t hesitate to ask for help if you need it. You don’t have to clean your metal roof by yourself. If you don’t have the time, don’t have safe equipment to use, or don’t want to deal with the hassle of the chore, hire a professional. Protect your metal roof by caring for it year after year, and it will last you a lifetime.

Is your metal roof looking a little worse for wear? Let the team at Werner Roofing know. We’re happy to help get your metal roof looking brand new again, and we’re also here to answer any questions you might have about cleaning your metal roof. Give us a call at (616) 844-5382 or contact us on the web today!

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