How to Clean a Metal Roof (Best Methods to Use)

March 2, 2023

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Property owners often wonder how to clean a metal roof properly and thoroughly. They might also wonder if they should use different methods on a metal roof than for other materials. Lastly, some property owners assume that power washing damages a roof or shortens its lifespan.

These are all fair considerations for anyone with a metal roof overhead! After all, what’s the point of a clean roof if it now leaks? With this in mind, check out some tips and tricks for how to clean a metal roof. Also, never hesitate to discuss your property’s roof with a pressure washing contractor near you as needed.

power washer cleaning a roof

How to Clean a Metal Roof, Step by Step

Before you start cleaning any roof, be sure you take all needed safety precautions. Never use a ladder unless you’re sure it’s stable and have someone to assist. Wear safety goggles, gloves, and shoes with good tread as well. Also, invest in telescopic hose handles and roof cleaning brushes so you can reach far corners with ease!

Start with a thorough rinse

Before using detergents or scrub brushes, start with a thorough rinse along the roof’s surface. Rinsing removes storm debris, sand, and other surface grit. Neglecting this step can mean scrubbing these onto the roof’s surface!

Additionally, rinsing with a garden hose loosens dirt and mud. This makes it far easier to scrub the roof without damage. Also, you might note clogged gutters that need addressing before you continue with your roof washing job.

Apply a detergent mixture

To clean a metal roof, mix a quarter cup of car washing detergent to a gallon of water. Dunk your scrub brush into this mixture repeatedly and brush it onto the roof. Start with the highest point you can reach and work your way down.

Let this mixture sit for a good ten minutes before rinsing it. This lets the detergent break down thick dirt and other debris. Then, after rinsing, note if you need to repeat this process and especially on tough stains.

Avoid chemicals

If you need to address an especially filthy roof, avoid chemicals, wire brushes, and solvents. These harsh products all risk damaging that metal! Additionally, some chemicals and solvents won’t dissolve dirt and grime as expected. In turn, you’re simply wasting time and money while risking a damaged roof.

how to clean a metal roof

Is It OK to Pressure Wash a Metal Roof?

Many homeowners especially find themselves asking, is it okay to pressure wash a metal roof? The answer is both yes and no! Pressure washing risks damage when done incorrectly. However, professional power washing by an experienced contractor is an excellent investment. Check out some reasons why you should avoid DIY roof washing on your property:

  • Using too much pressure can dent even the toughest metal roof! You might also loosen bolts and other connectors or damage flashing around the chimney and elsewhere.
  • Some detergents might contain chemicals that risk damaging a metal roof. These can mean eventual rust or other corrosion, or they might discolor the roof’s surface.
  • Not rinsing detergents properly can leave behind a sticky film. This film can attract dirt, making your roof look dirtier than before you started washing it.
  • It’s not unusual for inexperienced power washers to create messy splatter during roof cleaning. In turn, you might end up with a clean roof but messy, dirty exterior walls and windows. That splatter can also splash back onto you during cleaning!
  • Above all, remember that being on a ladder when not experienced with its use and juggling cumbersome power washing equipment risk injury. Falling even a few feet off a ladder can mean broken bones and painful abrasions. Getting in the way of power washing equipment can also mean deep cuts and bruises.

Consequently, property owners should avoid attempting roof washing on their own. Power washing a roof yourself can mean costly damage and ineffective clean.

On the other hand, consider investing in the services of a trained power washing professional. He or she ensures quality cleaning of your property from top to bottom. Also, relying on a pro allows you to stay safe on the ground!

How Do Professionals Clean Metal Roofs?

Most professionals use a soft wash system to clean roofs. Soft wash pressure washing starts with specialty cleaners, usually made with sodium hypochlorite. This mixture dissolves thick dirt, mud, mold, and other debris.

Professional pressure washing contractors usually let the mixture sit on a roof for several minutes or even up to an hour. This allows it to break down those tough stains and even caked-on debris. Then, he or she can use a low-pressure rinse to remove the cleaner and dirt. This lower pressure means less risk of damage as well as splattering.

Additionally, soft wash cleaning is less likely to dislodge connectors or dent flashing and other materials. It’s safe for skylights, roof vents, glass, and other materials. In turn, it offers a safe yet thorough clean for roofs as well as outside walls, gutters, windows, and more.

How Often Should You Clean a Metal Roof?

The short answer is that you should clean a metal roof as often as needed! For some properties, this might be every few years. However, some properties might need more frequent roof cleaning, for example:

  • Production facilities, warehouses, and other businesses might produce high levels of soot and dust. This debris then settles onto the roof. In turn, your property might need annual or even monthly roof washing!
  • Strong storms often mean thick debris on nearby roofs. Consequently, plan on frequent roof cleaning if your area experiences heavy rains or other inclement weather.
  • Don’t forget that pollen, dust, and other irritants also settle onto rooftops! Regular cleaning can then mean easier breathing for everyone with sensitivities.
  • Lastly, never hesitate to schedule roof cleaning whenever you think it necessary. This might include before the holidays or a business open house. You might also consider roof and other exterior washing before opening your patio or deck for the season. This ensures a welcoming environment for everyone.

Southington Power Washers is happy to help explain how to clean a metal roof. Hopefully, you found this blog helpful! If so, don’t hesitate to visit our other articles for even more tips on keeping your property clean. Also, call our Southington pressure washing contractors when you’re ready for a FREE price estimate. We offer expert services and guaranteed satisfaction. To find out more, contact us today.

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