It didn't take me long in the industry to work out that pressure cleaning is a terrible way to clean a roof! Dislodged or broken tiles, blown pointing, washed off factory oxide or aftermarket paint, and organic debris and paint all over your and your neighbor's properties do not constitute a great service, and if your roof didn't leak, need repair, or repainting before pressure cleaning, it probably will after. The only time a roof should be considered viable for pressure cleaning is when you actually intend on a proper restoration.
Because of this, I have looked at both domestic and international markets to develop more effective, and safer ways to be able to effectively clean a roof and control the organic growth that causes problems, and subsequently have developed soft washing roof treatment solutions for cleaning concrete tiled, terracotta tiled and colour bond roofs, quickly and effectively
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BLACK ROOF? Check out this short video to see how you can transform your black concrete tile roof to look brand new in just a few hours WITHOUT high-pressure cleaning or repainting it.
The black algae on your roof are destroying the factory oxide coating on the tile and the longer you leave it worse it will get. Algae infestations left unchecked will ultimately destroy your roof's coating forcing you to repaint it.
Terracotta roofs are highly susceptible to both black algae and lichen growths and these come in all colors and varieties and can grow very thick. This image shows a roof that is moderately affected with both lichen and black algae. When the biocide solution is applied to your roof, it will either be done from a ladder at the gutter or from a few vantage points on the roof that will minimise roof walking, but still provide the angles needed to provide adequate coverage.
As can be seen in this photo, the tiles are heavily infested with lichen which has been killed and has turned white. However, all the black algae have been killed and are no longer visible at all. this gives an immediate improvement to the visual appearance of the roof from a distance.
This is a picture of how the previous tiles came up after some decent rain and you see the roof is clear of the majority of lichen and other organic growths. The tiles are displaying as new with their rich red ochre colour. Most terracotta roofs will not experience a 100% clearance after one treatment and this will depend greatly on the starting condition of the roof. Some roofs may require one or two follow-up treatments if almost complete clearance is desired. These potential treatments will be included in your quote. I will discuss with you the expected results of the first treatment when quoting.
Once sufficient rain has been experienced after the first or second treatments, a second or third treatment will be applied. I have yet to have a roof that is not 98% cleared after the third treatment, and most roofs are cleared after the second treatment.
With this method of cleaning, there is far less potential for damaged tiles than exists with standard pressure cleaning services. Most single-story roofs can be cleaned without ever having to walk on the tiles (provided there is good ladder access around the perimeter) and with double-story roofs, the amount of footfall required is about 10% of that of pressure cleaning which requires the technician to walk over every single part of the roof, greatly increasing the risk of damage to tiles. The reason the footfall is much less is that the technician simply finds good vantage points to spray from and doesn't have to walk all over the roof.
When pressure cleaning a roof there is a very high risk of sufficient amounts of water entering the roof cavity. Roof tiles are not designed to prevent water from entering the roof at high pressures or at the angles required to clean the tiles properly. Softwashing completely mitigates this risk.
The pointing around the ridges tiles on most roofs is quite delicate. Pressure cleaning WILL without question damage this pointing which may result in leaks and the need for repointing. Softwashing completely mitigates this risk.
Pressure cleaning relies on high pressure to abrade the surface of whatever it is cleaning to provide a superficial appearance of cleanliness. If the concrete tiles have their factory-applied oxide coating this will be removed to varying degrees by a pressure cleaner. If the tiles are old and the coating quite thin pressure cleaning can even strip the tile back to bare concrete. If the tiles have been repainted (especially cheaply) the high pressure will strip the paint. Softwashing completely mitigates these risks.
Soft washing will generate little or no mess around the perimeter of the house, the garden or the neighbours home and garden (which sometimes results in very annoyed neighbours). High-pressure cleaning blasts both the debris (leaves, mud, algae, lichen, moss etc) for quite a long distance around the home, and for concrete roofs it also blasts the coloured oxide off which can cover both your and your neighbours home and garden (and vehicles, furniture etc). This risk is completely removed with soft washing
Pressure cleaning only removes most of the living organics substances infesting the roof. It also relies solely on abrasives techniques to reach algae and growths which are subsurface, and because of this it always leaves some growths alive within the surface. As soon as the cleaning is finished, the algae begin growing again immediately.
Softwashing kills and removes these substances including both the live growths and any spores they might produce. Furthermore, on unglazed terracotta and concrete tiles which are both porous, soft washing penetrates the surface and works at both the surface and subsurface layers. This ultimately results in a longer-lasting clean.
This is only the case with terracotta roofs that may require multiple treatments. Both concrete and terracotta tiled and colourbond roofs will appear very different and much cleaner immediately after the first treatments, but terracotta tiled roofs will normally require at least one but sometimes two follow-up treatments after the first treatment.
However, sufficient weather (namely some good rain) will be required before the second treatment is applied. If you are preparing your house for sale and do not have the luxury of waiting, this process can be accelerated, and you will need to discuss this with me when I quote.
I normally take full payment of the cost quoted after the first treatment for terracotta roofs. Despite the requirement for at least one follow-up visit being most likely. If you are not comfortable with this you must advise me beforehand.
If gutters empty into water tanks, measures will have to be taken to ensure this flow is diverted on the day of the clean and for the periods between and after treatments. Water should not be diverted back to the tanks until the roof has seen sufficient rain following the final treatment.
If gutters or downpipes empty into garden beds or lawns, (or any place that could affect the health of plants) you will need to notify me of this prior to cleaning, so steps can be taken to protect plants and lawns from runoff.
Gutters should be free-flowing and valleys cleared of any excess leaf build-up. I generally do not provide a gutter cleaning service so this preferably should be done before cleaning. Blocked gutter and downpipes might result in overflow into garden beds, lawns, or even into the roof cavity. Also, valleys that are clogged and overflowing onto roof tiles, will prevent the soft washing solution from penetrating down to the tiles.
The safest and most recommendable method for cleaning gutters is dry gutter vacuuming, as wet cleaning can result in water damage in the roof cavity. This is especially the case in older homes when the gutter or valley flashing doesn't extend past the 'purlin' or first roofing batten. Shooting water into the valleys and gutters at a pressure high enough to dislodge it can result in significant amounts of water and debris entering the roof cavity This is more common than not on the valleys of older roofs. This is why as a general rule I do not offer gutter cleaning as I only offer 'wet' services.
A concrete tile roof should look like new once the treatment is completed. I generally give the street-facing roof panels a light rinse for maximum visual affect and the non-street facing which will still have the dead light brown algae, (which is barely visible from the ground) will just weather off from the rain. The decision of whether to rinse for concrete tiled roofs will depend on the age and condition of the oxide coating. If the runoff is relatively clear rinsing is fine, but if the runoff is taking on the colour of the roof it is best not to rinse and let the weather work its magic.
Terracotta roofs (depending on how much lichen build-up is on them) will visually be much lighter and the original colour of the roof will be far more eveident after the first treatement. The white dead lichen will mostly wash off after the first rain event.
If the terracotta roof is only slightly to moderately affected by lichen you can expect a clearance rate of about 80-90% after the first rain event. If the roof is very heavily affected with lichen that is also very old, you should expect a clearance rate of about 60-70%.
For terracotta roofs, second or third treatments will be provided and the cost of these are included as part of your cleaning quote unless otherwise agreed.
This depends on your roof and on the weather. For concrete tiled roofs largely affected by green and black algae (Cyanobacteria/Gloeocapsa magma etc), the effect will be immediate and very noticeable. For terracotta tiled roofs that suffer from lichen as well as black algae, it will clear when there is some decent rain. It definitely is quicker than options like Wet and Forget and such like which can take up to two years to clear a roof.
Possibly, but much less so than when pressure cleaning which requires an operator to walk all over your roof. If your home is single story and every roof panel can be accessed safely using a ladder (i.e. not to close to the property borders or other structures) it may be possible to clean the entire roof without stepping foot on it. Otherwise I will access from a few vantage points on the roof that will minimise roof walking, but still provide the angles needed to provide adequate coverage.
Your fur babies (and children) should be kept inside the house during cleaning and all windows and doors should be kept closed. Your pets bowls and bedding should also be taken inside. Try to keep your pets inside for up to 24 hours after the clean. Prior to leaving your property I will thoroughly soak and rinse down all exterior areas of your home to ensure any residual overspray is washed away and suitably diluted.
I haven't had a call about a dead plant yet, but if the roof treatment is done irresponsibly, yes it can! I have developed rigorous pretreatment and post-treatment processes that absolutely minimise or totally mitigate the risk of this happening. I protect smaller soft-leaved plants, and hardier plants with waxy leaves by soaking prior to and after the soft washing chemical is applied to the roof. You should water all plants heavily in the days prior to the clean.
WINTER without question is the best time to clean your roof. Plants with new spring growth or shoots and leaves where the cuticle has not yet formed will almost certainly be tip pruned by the cleaning chemical, even when the utmost care is taken. If you are an avid gardener and have a particularly nice garden you should not do a roof clean in spring or summer. Late autumn to winter is definitely the best time to clean the roof. However with that said, I have cleaned plenty of roofs in spring and summer without damage or with temporary leaf damage only.
No it doesn't, but if your gutters are relatively clear and free-draining the soft wash runoff from the roof and the rinsing away of this will have a cleaning and clearing effect on the gutter. it is recommendable you have your gutters cleaned first if they require it.