Tile Roof Cleaning Tips for Winter Roof Safety
Roofs are our home’s first line of defense against elements like heat, sun, rain, snow, hail, and debris. Because of this essential role, your roof should always be kept in prime condition. Metal, synthetic, and concrete tile roofs are expected to last for about 50 years, while clay tiles will last for up to 100 years. However exposure to harsh weather elements along with regular wear and tear affects the longevity of these roofs. To preserve the life of your roof, use these tile roof cleaning tips to routinely inspect and clean your roof.
A typical residential roof is crafted to withstand pressure up to 20lbs per square foot. As airy and light a single snowflake may be, snow and ice quickly compacts increasing in weight and potentially causing roof failure. A single cubic foot of dry snow weighs from 6 to 8 lbs, while a cubic foot of packed snow will easily weigh up to 20 lbs. When you add a sheet of ice before a new snowfall, things will get heavy very quickly.
When this ice and snow begin to melt, it turns into water that runs down your roof. When temperatures cause this snow and ice to melt at a faster rate, your roof is not always able to effectively divert the water and it finds ways into your home. When temperatures fluctuate, snow and ice collect and freeze in your gutters, causing a myriad of problems, including extra weight and overflow, damaged siding, pull-away from the roof, or even rotting of your wood decking.
In order to best protect your most important investment – your home – it’s important to invest in tile roof cleaning. This involves:
- Keeping the moss off of roof tiles and wood decking to prevent deterioration and stains
- Replacing worn or chipped tiles on a regular basis
- Repairing leaks as soon as you discover them
How do roof tiles perform in cold weather conditions?
The durability and density of concrete tiles or slate roofs are a natural choice in high freeze thaw cycling and cold areas. Tiles are not susceptible to moisture freezing, hold high resistance to harsh UV light, as well as other weather conditions. Specific application procedures may be applied to manage blankets of snow and prevent the snow from sliding off the roof in large sheets or turning into a block of ice.
When ventilated and installed correctly, tile has a natural occurring air pocket between the tile itself and the roof sheathing. This air pocket works to minimize damming as well as tile contraction and expansion due to changes in temperature. With regular tile roof cleaning and maintenance, your tile roof will easily last throughout the life of your home.
The benefits of regular tile roof cleaning
While tile roofs don’t necessarily need as much maintenance as traditional shingles, regular tile roof cleaning is one way to ensure the best condition all year round. The benefits of regular tile roof cleaning include:
- Aesthetic Value – Over time mildew, stains, and moss accumulate upsetting the overall elegant appearance of your home. Regularly scheduled or performed cleaning will keep your home looking clean, attractive, and new.
- Extends Roof Longevity – After you clean your tiles, you have the option to re-seal, prime, and paint. This will prevent moss and dirt from seeping into the tiles.
- Reveal Damages Early–Small damages to your tile roof will quickly lead to more serious problems such as draft, leak, mold spores, and mildew. These more serious problems cost much more to repair. Regular tile roof cleaning can uncover minor issues early on before they become more serious.
How to clean tile roofs
As long as you have the appropriate materials and tools, tile roof cleaning is easy. Here are the basic steps:
- Initial Power Wash – Working from the ridge down to the gutter, use a pressure washer to spray off visible debris and dirt including twigs, leaks, and dead insects. Let your roof dry completely before moving on to the next step.
- Chemical Treatment – Before spraying your cleaning solution, set your pressure washer to a lower psi. This will allow your chemical to seep into the pores of your tiles. Let this sit for a few minutes or completely dry.
- Rinse Off – Use a strong pressure aimed at stubborn moss build up and stains to remove dirt and visual un-pleasantries. Depending on the extent of the aesthetic damage and chemical used, this may be the most strenuous step.
- Clean Gutters – Once the roof has been rinsed completely, clear your gutters of debris and dirt. Check for any signs of damage.
- Buffing and Inspection– While you buff your roof for a pristine finish, check for any signs of damage that need to be handled before the onset of winter.
- Repairs– Repair any damaged, cracked, chipped, or broken tiles.
- Reseal and Repaint – After you ensure that you have a damage-free and clean roof, prime and apply sealant to protect it from the upcoming winter elements. You may also take this opportunity to repaint your roof for a brighter finish.
Tile roof cleaning is a hazardous task that should be handled with care. If you are uncomfortable with climbing a ladder or performing tasks at steep heights you should call a professional. If you do decide to tackle your winter cleaning and preparation yourself, keep in mind these safety tips:
- Wear shoes with ample traction– Wet, soapy, and mossy tiles are extremely slippery. Shoes with positive traction will help you maintain your balance and hold while climbing on your roof.
- Target your steps at the lower portion of the tile– If you have to step on the tiles, the lower half is better supported underneath.
- Distribute your weight– It’s recommended that you use a walkway in order to lessen pressure on the tiles and distribute your weight more evenly. Consider cushioning the underside with foam.
- Maximize ladder use– If you manage cleaning the roof and gutter while standing on a secure ladder, do so.
- Dress appropriately– Cover-up and dress for maximum comfort. You may be standing in direct heat or cold for some time. Avoid clothing that might hinder your movement.
If you need help preparing your tile roof for winter, don’t be afraid to reach out for professional assistance from a reputable and licensed roofing contractor.