A Manager’s Guide to Roof Cleaning

Lora Davis

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Anyone that has been a property manager for a while is likely to have dealt with issues to do with roof cleaning; this is a pretty costly affair and especially if you have to clean up after a pressure roof cleaning contractor. There are roof cleaning contractors that are not exactly careful and they will therefore leave some damage behind so that the cost of repair increases the initial figures you may have budgeted for the pressure wash. However, if you know what to expect with the roof cleaning process, you may be able to work ahead of time to prevent a lot of damage from taking place thereby limiting the cost and headaches and that is what property management is all about.

There are many types of fungi that can settle on a roof that are both destructive to the roof and repulsive to look at. Moss, lichen, black algae, green mold/algae make up the bulk of matter and removal has become a necessity. Roof cleaning becomes essential for a variety of reasons; to prevent destruction and early replacement, to control increased energy costs and to correct the devaluing of the property. It is common knowledge that asphalt shingle, cedar shake and tile roofs are the most commonly affected roofs but each is affected differently.

Other than destructive damage the fungus can cause, the home owner can expect an increase in energy bills. Fungus is generally dark colored and dark colors absorb sunlight which increases the heat in attics, crawl spaces and second or top floors causing the air conditioners to work overtime to cool those spaces, resulting in higher than normal energy bills. The worst thing about roof cleaning is that there are contractors who use cleaning products that are not eco-friendly such that any plants or foliage will usually become casualties of the pressure cleaning process.

With the above mentioned negative effects of roof fungus, it becomes bad news to property managers because an effected roof makes the home an “eye-sore", it makes a pretty house look ugly. Roof mold and fungi also makes an expensive development look run down or unmaintained; it not only decreases the value of the affected home but the value of the neighbor’s homes as well, these homes are treated like lepers and as more homes catch the infection a leper colony is formed. It's at this point the property management team usually steps in and demands that no pressure roof cleaning is done.

Two solutions come to mind; the first is to choose no pressure roof cleaning but to be on the safe side you must be specific that you are interested in an eco roof wash. Once the particular home has had its roof cleaned thoroughly using roof cleaning chemicals that will not harm the foliage or alter the look of the home, the second step is called “preventative maintenance". This means coating the roofs periodically with a solution that will not allow fungus to mature, no roof cleaning is necessary and the following rains wash off the fungus that was removed.


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