Like most parts of the home, the roof has invaders as well. Take the common asphalt roof or wood shingle roof. As with all that is organic, there will be some organism that thrives of the material and consumes it. Molds, algae, bacteria, moss and other organism consume our roofing materials. Even cement and ceramic tiles are vulnerable to invasion and all roofs are subject to dirt and grime. Most roofing materials are reflective of the sun’s rays. But bacteria, mold, mildew and other organisms cause dark stains to absorb the sun’s rays and add heat to the attic areas, making your AC work harder, consuming more power and raising your power bills. Even just plain dirt, grime and pollutants can alter the reflective qualities of your roof. Big Moose Pressure Cleaning outlines some reasons to clean up the roof.
• Curb Appeal. A clean roof and building make your home look better. It gives the impression of tender loving care of the structure.
• Roof Longevity – How much of the utility of the roofing material is compromised through moss, stains and other organisms. As much as 50% of the service life of your roof can be negated by these cellular organisms. A clean roof lasts longer and can save the property owner literally thousands of dollars.
• Energy Savings – As mentioned those unsightly dark spots are heat magnets. Drawing in the sun light causing uneven expansion of the roof placing stress and strain on the structure. As the sunlight strikes the roof it is converted to heat. Dark spots absorb heat rather than reflect the heat into the air. This causes higher internal heating raising cooling costs to fight the additional heat absorption. Heat causes decomposition of roofing materials aging the roof. Most chemical and life processes are accelerated by heat.
• Roof Warranty – Many shingle manufacturers require maintenance by the home owner to sustain and maintain the warranty.
How Soft Wash Roof Cleaning Chemicals Have Changed
Typical base chemicals used are sodium hydroxide, sodium hypochlorite and sodium percarbonate. These are used with detergents and other additives to remove living organisms like bacteria, molds, mildew and algae. Sodium Hydroxide was one of chemicals used in the early days of the soft wash industry. It is alkaline and other names are lye or caustic soda. If used in high concentration and left of the roof it can loosen the bonds in asphalt shingles. Sodium hydroxide will break down petroleum-based products like asphalt. The good thing is that petroleum based roofing products are falling out favor and seen less often in new construction. Sodium hydroxide still cleans but the solutions need to be mixed in their proper proportions and the exposure limited. Application should be followed by thorough rinsing. Sodium hydroxide however is an excellent concrete, tile and slate cleaner. Any residue after drying will be reactivated during any increase in moisture. Sodium Hypochlorite is the principle active ingredient in household bleach. On evaporation the product become a salt that can affect plant growth. Like bleach that caused deterioration of fibers in clothing, the sodium hypochlorite can damage asphalt roofing. However, if used in proper proportions followed with thorough rinsing it can be an effective product. Most sodium hypochlorite contains up to 12% sodium hydroxide used as a stabilizer for roof and building cleaning. Sodium Percarbonate is an oxygen-based cleaning solution. It is activated when mixed with water and is neutral when the chemical reaction complete negating the need for rinsing. This chemical also considered as ‘green’ and is the up and arising product in the soft wash industry.