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How to Clean and Maintain Your Metal Roof

Since last week’s blog post covered the benefits of switching to a metal roof, this week we will dive into the importance of maintaining your metal roof! 

Acquire all the materials ahead of time, so that you can be prepared for each step involved in the roof cleaning. You will need to obtain a ladder, a safety belt and harness with rope, cleaning materials, a putty knife, a power washer, and possibly paint.

The first step is to ensure that you can safely complete the roof cleaning. It would be in your best interest to wear a safety belt, and attach yourself to a solid support (like the chimney). You will need to wear shoes with good traction so that you don’t want to accidentally fall off when the roof gets slippery!

Next, assess the condition of your roof. Old roofs may have excess paint or corrosion, which will require extra steps in preparation, cleaning, and restoration. It’s important to know the extent of the cleaning at hand, otherwise you will cause yourself more work in the future.

To prepare your roof for cleaning, remove debris by sweeping with a broom. Twigs and leaves will often congregate in valleys so pay special attention to those areas. Next, scrape away any excess or peeling paint and/or corrosion with a flat-bladed plastic putty knife. Only remove paint if it is completely necessary. You will have to prime and paint this area later once the roof is clean if you scrape it off.

Now prepare a solution of Trisodium Phosphate (TSP) and water, with ½ cup TSP per gallon of water. TSP can be found at the majority of paint stores. Using a soft brush, apply the solution to any mold or mildewed areas. Scrub until it becomes clean. This step may be time consuming, but it will guarantee a thorough cleaning. Once finished, rinse with water to remove any leftover residue.

It’s time to bring out the power washer! Only use water. If the roof is particularly dirty, a mild detergent can be added to the sprayer. Spray the entire roof, starting at the top, and work your way down so dirt and debris gets carried down the roof. If you’re afraid of slipping, try to keep your feet over the nails to ensure a solid grip with the roof. Try to maintain a consistent distance between the power washer and roof, and only work one section at a time. When finished do a light spray with water to rinse off any leftover residue. This is a particularly necessary step if a detergent was added.

If you removed corrosion or damaged paint when preparing your roof for cleaning, it is now time to prime and paint those areas now. Use a standard metal primer, and make sure to match the color of your paint to your roof accordingly.

Cleaning your metal roof is a trying task, but it is necessary to keep it in prime condition. It is essential to make sure you remove the buildup of mold or mildew since it can potentially cause damage. Keeping your roof in tip top condition will allow the paint to remain in good shape and improve the look and value of your house.

Liandi, Nichole. “How to Clean Metal Roofs.” Web. 28 July 2011.

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