You invested in your home when you installed metal roofing, so you want to ensure it looks its best. Cleaning a metal roof extends its life, so you’ll have a sturdy roof over your head for years. It also helps remove natural elements that get stuck in place and can cause damage over a long period, like pollen, leaves, mold, and mildew.
A metal roof is low maintenance, but many homeowners want to know how to clean a metal roof to ensure it looks its best.
Step 1: Gather Metal Roof Cleaning Tools
Using a garden hose alone won’t give your metal roof the deep cleaning it needs, so gather supplies like washcloths, sponges, or soft bristle brushes. Avoid harsh supplies like a power washer, wire brushes, or steel wool.
You’ll need a garden hose to wet the metal roof and rinse it after you use detergent. Sometimes, you can use plain water to remove dirt and dust from the roof. If other debris is stuck on the metal roof, consider diluting car washing soap or mild dish soap. Add 1/4 cup of detergent per gallon of water to get the cleaning power you need without damaging the metal.
Solvents can remove more stubborn debris like oil, grease, and tar. You don’t want to use these on your entire roof, but you can use them to remove specific stains.
If you need to remove mildew or mold, create a mixture of 1/3 cup of laundry detergent and one quart of bleach, then mix it into three quarts of water. The detergent breaks up the mold and mildew, while the bleach kills it off and prevents regrowth. Use this only on trouble areas, not to get your entire metal roof clean.
Step 2: Remove Rust
It’s alarming to see rust on metal roofs because it seems to signal corrosion, but metal particles can leave rust stains without implying more serious damage. You want to remove these stains to prevent future issues and keep your metal roof looking its best.
Sweep away all the particles leaving rust stains. Use a non-abrasive pad and gently scrub the rust areas. Rinse this section with water before you move on to clean the entire roof.
If you have stubborn stains, use one part of vinegar diluted in five parts of water. Soak a rag in the solution and use a circular motion on the rust stain. Once you remove the rust, rinse the area with water so it won’t keep reacting with your metal roof.
You might try both options and still have rust stains on your metal roof. The problem is more severe in that case, so you should call Roof Troopers for a solution.
Step 3: Test a Small Patch
Metal roofs react to cleaning agents differently, so you want to ensure you’re using the right product. Find an area of the roof that isn’t visible, like in the backyard or on the underside of the overhang. Apply your cleaning solution to a rag and wipe it onto the roof, gently applying pressure as if you were removing debris.
Rinse the cleanser away and wait a few minutes to see how the roof reacts. You can use that solution to clean your roof if there is no damage. If the paint blisters or the metal looks discolored, try a more gentle cleaning solution or use water.
Step 4: Clean the Roof
If your test patch handles your chosen cleanser, you can use it to clean your roof. Remember that solvents are best for spot-treating specific areas, and bleach will kill mildew. You should only use water or diluted detergent on your entire metal roof.
Always rinse the roof with clean water to ensure you remove all detergent or solvent.
You don’t need to perform this type of deep cleaning on your metal roof every year—rinsing off leaves and dirt with a hose is usually enough. You can conduct this cleaning process every two or three years. However, you should always keep an eye on your roof, even if you’re not cleaning it.
An annual roof inspection can help you catch damage you might miss on your own. This step is especially crucial if you want to continue cleaning your metal roof instead of hiring professionals. Inspections catch issues before they become major problems.
Step 5: Follow Safety Precautions
These tips help you follow safety precautions when you clean a metal roof.
Pick an overcast day to clean your metal roof. If you try to do it on a sunny day, you’ll get overheated very quickly and risk burning yourself on the metal. The sun can also create a glare on the metal that prevents you from seeing the damage.
You shouldn’t clean your roof alone—always have someone nearby so they can help you if necessary. Even if you have an OSHA-approved ladder, you want someone spotting you. Wearing shoes with good traction will also help you stay safe while you’re on the roof.
A hose will extend your reach, as will a sponge on a pole, but you don’t need to overextend yourself while you’re on the ladder. If you’re trying to scrub areas by hand, ensure you can reach them without stretching too far and throwing off your balance.
If you’re using solvents or chemicals to clean the roof, wear proper protection. You’ll want rubber gloves, goggles, and a mask to prevent the chemicals from getting into your lungs.
Contact Roof Troopers for Your Next Cleaning
Now you know the necessary steps, but metal roof cleaning isn’t for everyone. Many people prefer to hire a professional instead of risking their safety and the durability of their roof by doing it themselves. If you want someone to properly maintain your metal roof, contact Roof Troopers.
Our professional roof cleaning service features employees that have decades of roofing experience. We’re family-owned and operated and value our customers. We want to ensure your metal roof lasts for years, so contact us for help cleaning, replacing, or repairing your roof.