How to Clean a Metal Roof


A metal roof, known for its durability and energy efficiency, requires little maintenance but can accumulate dirt and debris over time, affecting its appearance and longevity. Learning how to clean a metal roof ensures it remains in optimal condition.

Understanding Metal Roofs

Before delving into the cleaning process, it is essential to understand the characteristics of metal roofs. Metal roofing materials can range from aluminum, steel to copper, available in metal-vertical seam and metal-stamped panel styles.

Metal roofs are known for their durability, lasting up to three decades or longer. They are eco-friendly, recyclable, and offer energy savings of up to 30%. However, like any other roof, they are exposed to the elements, which can lead to the accumulation of pollutants and organic particles over time.

See types of roofs as some are better suited for metal than others.

Why Clean a Metal Roof?

While metal roofs repel water and grime, over time, elements like pollutants and organic particles can build up on the surface. This accumulation can cause the roof’s finish to deteriorate, leading to structural and aesthetic issues.

Regular cleaning of the metal roof not only enhances its appearance but also prevents the buildup of damaging substances, thus extending its lifespan.

What Can Grow on a Metal Roof?

Typically, metal roofs can develop stains due to mold, mildew, moss, and algae growth. These growths often occur in shaded roof areas and are prevalent in rainy areas or humid, coastal locales.

Cleaning Materials

Cleaning a metal roof requires the use of specific materials to prevent any damage to the roof. Broadly, you would need:

  1. A water hose: Using a power washer or pressure washer on a metal roof is not recommended as it can cause more harm than good. A plain hose with a sprayer nozzle will work just fine.
  2. Non-abrasive cleaning tools: Items like rags, sponges, and brushes with soft and flexible bristles are ideal. Avoid harsh tools like wire brushes or steel wool as they could damage the sealant or paint.
  3. A gentle detergent: Household items like dish soap, laundry detergent, or car washing soap are gentle enough to clean your metal roof well without causing any damage.
  4. Bleach: This is particularly useful if your metal roof has mildew. Always dilute at 1 part bleach to 5 parts water, and do not mix with ammonia.

Safety Tips

Cleaning a metal roof involves potential risks, and it is crucial to prioritize safety. Here are some safety tips to consider:

  1. Never clean your roof alone. Always have someone else present while you work.
  2. Use a safe ladder and protective equipment.
  3. Only clean what you can reach from your ladder. If possible, avoid walking on your roof.
  4. If you must walk on your roof, wear shoes with a good grip.

How to Clean a Metal Roof from the Ground

Cleaning your metal roof from the ground is a safer option, although it may not allow for a thorough cleaning. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Remove visible debris: Use a broom or roof brush to remove loose debris like branches, twigs, pine needles, and leaves from the surfaces that you can reach.
  2. Hose down the surface: Use a hose to wash off the remaining dust and grime from the metal.
  3. Tackle stubborn stains: Mold, mildew, algae, and moss can create stains on your metal roof. If you can reach the stains by hand, you can wipe them off with a soft cloth.
  4. Remove Oxidation: Some metal roofs develop rust stains over time. If you can reach the stained areas from a ladder or platform, you can scrub them with an abrasive cleaner. However, if you notice corrosion, it is advisable to have a professional inspect your roof.

When to Clean a Metal Roof

The ideal time to clean a metal roof is on a dry, overcast day with mild temperatures. Avoid cleaning your roof on a hot, sunny day or a rainy day as these conditions can create safety hazards and may not yield the best results.

When to Call the Professionals

While DIY cleaning is possible, certain situations may warrant professional help. If the stains are stubborn, the roof is high, or you are unsure about the safety measures, it is advisable to hire a professional cleaning service. They have the training, equipment, and experience to clean your metal roof thoroughly and safely.

Understanding how to clean a metal roof can help maintain its appearance and prolong its lifespan. Regular cleaning, while observing safety measures, will ensure that your metal roof continues to provide protection and aesthetic appeal for your home for years to come.

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