Roof Cleaning And Black Stain Removal Services By Commercial Restorations
Our roof cleaning services include cleaning asphalt shingle, wood shake, slate and tile roofs. Roof cleaning is becoming more important to the property management industry as as Black stains begin to appear on roofing systems. These black stains can increase utility fees, cause damage to shingles, increase temperatures in attic areas, ruin curb appeal of the property and many other problems. These black stains are caused by a Bacterial based Algae called Gloeocaspa Magma, that continues to move further up into the Northern areas of the United States. Gloeocapsa magma is a species of cyanobacteria. Cyanobacteria are an ancient line of photosynthesizing bacteria, which photolyze water, generating oxygen gas.
The Black Stains from Gloeocaspa Magma are unsightly and therefore affects the curb appeal of any property. The dark stains place an added load on air conditioning systems as well. As this bacteria feasts on the components of shingles, ultimately it invites moss and lichen and algae to infest the structure of the roof material and cause premature failure of the roof. It has been estimated that as much as 50% of all roof replacements have been done because of the appearance of the roof and not actually because of its functionality.
Professional Roof Cleaning Services
Commercial Restorations has provided roof cleaning services, exterior building cleaning and other pressure washing services for over 26 years. But over the last five years we have seen a huge increase of contractors that are starting to perform roof cleaning. Unfortunately, most of them are UN-trained, and inexperienced, which is a dangerous situation when they are working on rooftops 40′ in the air, or using high pressure cleaning methods that cause significant damages to the roofing systems!
Before hiring a roof cleaning company make sure they understand the basics of roof installation, and that they have taken some type of Industry Training for roof cleaning to learn how to clean roofs. It is also equally important that your roof cleaner know the other structures on the roof and their function to avoid causing leaks around them.
If your roof cleaner can identify the common fixtures on a roof the next step is to identify what they will be cleaning from the surface. As I already mentioned, the most common reason for cleaning asphalt shingle roofs is to remove Gloeocapsa Magma. This particular type of algae is air-born and will collect on any type of roof. In most cases the owner of the property won’t notice the algae growth until it begins to take over large sections of the roof. This algae usually forms dark brown or black stains on the roofing and it thrives in mostly warm humid areas.
Removing Gloeocaspa Magma from roofing isn’t easy, it requires special roof cleaning solutions to ensure that the roof isn’t damaged during the process. Some manufacturers suggest using a mixture of TSP and Bleach to remove the Bacteria and mold. Other manufacturers suggest using a sodium hydroxide based cleaner instead.
Regardless of which cleaner your roof cleaning company uses, it’s important that someone checks with the manufacturer of the roof to meet their guidelines. Some manufacturers will void the warranty on the shingles for one method but not the other. However, ALL roofing manufacturers agree that the use of high pressure should NEVER be used when cleaning roofs. Some specifications set the safe pressure range at 50 PSI but the best rule of thumb to use is; Use the least amount of pressure and the mildest pressure washing chemicals possible to achieve the desired result!
Cleaning Asphalt Shingle Roofs
Here is an example of an asphalt or composition shingle roof covered with the typical black streaks. Notice how the streaks start at a specific point and spread downward from that point?
Next to it is a close-up of “architectural” composition (asphalt) roofing (the most common type of shingle on upscale properties). Four out of five communities use asphalt shingles for their roofing system. As you can see, shooting 500 PSI water at these shingles could cause serious problems. Now imagine what a standard pressure washer that produces 3,000 PSI could do to them!
Asphalt shingles are strong and resist damage when walked on. They have a useful life of 10 to 30 years, but are rated by manufacturers to last from 15 to 30 years if they are properly maintained. A roof with shingles that are loose or broken ought to be replaced, but a roof that looks bad with algae stains (but is otherwise structurally sound) can simply be cleaned at a fraction of replacement cost.
If your properties need roof cleaning, exterior building cleaning, graffiti removal or other pressure washing services, call Commercial Restorations at 301-216-2555 for a proposal.
In closing, I have listed some of the main points from a Technical Bulletin about roof cleaning from ARMA, The Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association regarding cleaning asphalt shingle roofs.
“For many years, roof discoloration caused by algae has been observed throughout the United States and Canada. This is commonly referred to as “fungus growth.” The discoloration usually has a brown to black appearance, and may be mistaken for soot, dirt, moss, or tree droppings.
The primary species of algae being observed is Gloeocapsa Magma. This type of algae is contained in and transported through the air, and tends to collect and grow upon roofing structures. Natural pigments produced by the algae may cause a white or light colored roof to gradually turn dark brown or black. The algae discolorations should not be confused with moss or tree droppings, which typically produce only localized discolorations.
This type of roof discoloration has been most widespread in the Gulf States and along the Northwest and Eastern Seaboards. It is not, however, confined to only these regions. Algae growth occurs to varying degrees in all regions of the country, especially those subjected to warm, humid conditions. It should be noted that almost all types of roofing systems are susceptible to algae discoloration. It is, of course, most readily visible upon white or pastel roofs, while it is not so visible upon darker shades of roofing.
Algae discolorations are difficult to remove from roofing surfaces, but may be lightened by applying a solution of chlorine bleach, trisodium phosphate, and water. Solutions for these ingredients may vary between shingle manufacturers and depend on the amount of discoloration.
Be sure to apply it carefully to avoid damage to other parts of the building and its surrounding landscape. Avoid scrubbing the surface, as this friction may loosen and remove granules. If possible, always work from a ladder and/or walkboards to avoid direct contact with the roof surface. Observe all possible safety precautions when working on or near the roof. Be warned that applying this solution the roof surface will become slippery and potentially hazardous to walk on during treatment.
Caution! High pressure washing systems for algae removal should not be used.”
If your properties need roof cleaning, exterior building cleaning, graffiti removal or other pressure washing services, call Commercial Restorations at 301-216-2555 for professional roof cleaning services!