Cleaning Your Roof to Increase It’s Lifespan

Increase the Lifespan of a Roof While Improving Energy Efficiency

There were many times while growing up that we have all heard “Go clean your room!” or “You cannot even find the floor in your room!” These sentiments have been echoed many times by countless Moms and Dads throughout the annals of history. The principles that our mother and father instilled in us as kids to clean and organize our room grounds us and helps us as adults to be better organized in how we manage and maintain our own homes.

By applying the same principles that you learned as a child you can have a lasting positive effect on the performance of your home and its various building components and systems. One of the most important and often overlooked components of homes that require maintenance is the roof system and the drainage system associated with your roof. This includes the roof system itself as well as how the home controls that rain and snow water run-off including gutters, scuppers and roof drains. Maintaining your roof and roof drainage system has many benefits including improved aesthetics, increased lifespan of a roof and performance along with potentially improving the energy efficiency of the home.

Improved Life Expectancy and Performance

Roof systems are a functional part of your home’s exterior skin. In order for the interior of the home to function correctly, the exterior of the home must be able to perform as expected and protect the interior and the contents. As with your physical body, without a strong exterior the interior is unable to function and breakdowns will soon occur.

How long does a shingle roof last? Cleaning your roof system and the drainage system for your roof will result in improved performance of your roof system which will extend the life expectancy of the roof assembly. It is recommended, depending upon where your home is located, that you clean your drainage system a minimum of two times per year. This includes removing tree debris and other organic matter from the gutters as well as from flat roof areas at the points of drainage such as roof drains and scuppers.

Most roof systems are not designed to retain water and moisture on the roof system. Clogged drains, scuppers and gutters on a roof system can increase ponding water. This increase in ponding water can contribute to a faster breakdown of the roof assembly. In addition, the increase in standing water, ice and snow increases the weight on the structure leading to potential issues related to the structure including potential collapse.

Improved Aesthetics

As with your room growing up, a disorganized and unclean roof and drainage system can lead to an ugly situation. Blocked drains, scuppers and gutters can cause an overflow of water. This overflow can lead to staining on the side of the home. Siding stains are very difficult if not impossible to remove depending upon the type of material.

Cleaning your roof system and drainage system on a regular basis will help alleviate the potential for water overflow at these key areas. By limiting the exposure to water overflow you will help prevent the staining on the exterior surfaces of your residence and ultimately retain the look and appearance of the home.

Improved Energy Efficiency

Many new products and roof systems are designed to improve the energy efficiency of the home. For example, many products have a high reflectivity rating which helps the roof to reflect a percentage of the sun’s solar radiation that strikes the roof surface. By reflecting the sun’s solar radiation the roof is able to prevent the home from absorbing the heat associated with the sun’s rays which reduces the heat build-up in the home’s attic space. As a roof system becomes dirty and covered with tree debris the roof’s ability to reflect the heat from the sun is compromised.

By cleaning your roof system free of any build-up of organic debris or other types of debris you allow the roof to properly drain. This allows the roof system to retain its reflective properties and improve the overall energy efficiency of the home. Cleaning your roof is a great way to reduce energy consumption in the home and reduce your home’s cooling costs.

How Do I Clean My Roof?

Proper methods for cleaning your roof system and removing debris and organic build-up are important. Improper methods for cleaning the roof and removing debris build-up can damage your roof system and can void your roof warranty from your contractor and roofing manufacturer. It is important to check with the roof installer and the roofing manufacturer to determine their requirements and guidelines for properly maintaining your roof system.

Methods for cleaning roof systems and drainage systems may include pressure washing or broom cleaning. As you select the method for cleaning your roof or drainage systems check the type of equipment or tools that you are planning on using. Certain types of tools (e.g. metal tipped shovels) can do damage to a roof surface and lead to premature failure of the roof assembly. It is best to check with the manufacturer to ensure that your tools and equipment will not do damage to your roof.


Many people are injured each year while cleaning their gutters or roof systems. Prior to beginning your maintenance program, ensure that your method for gaining access to your roof and gutters is safe and that you use proper ladder safety techniques. If you are uncertain of how to safely perform the function or if you are afraid of heights it is recommended that you contact a professional roofing contractor to complete the maintenance and cleaning of your home’s roof system and drainage system.

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