How to Clean a Metal Roof (3 Steps)

Whether you’ve just noticed discoloration on your roof or you’re trying to keep up with your homeowner’s association requirements for the year, the prospect of cleaning a metal roof can seem daunting to the uninitiated.

While a stone-coated metal roof from Erie Home requires virtually no maintenance, it is possible to clean other types of  metal roofs, such as standing seam metal roofs. If you’re accustomed to maintaining roofs made from wood, concrete, or asphalt, you may find the metal roof cleaning process fairly simple.

Metal roof maintenance is notoriously simple, and a well-maintained metal roof can last for as long as 50 years or more. Common issues other roofing materials face, such as moss growth, generally don’t affect metal roofs, so you won’t need to clean yours as often.

We’ll cover the main steps you should follow to restore your metal roof to its former glory below. Plus, we’ll go over a few things you should consider before you take on a roof cleaning project like this in order to guarantee the best results.

In this article:

3 Steps for Cleaning Your Metal Roof

If you had your stone-coated metal roof shingles professionally installed by Erie Home, the good news is that they require very little maintenance over their 50-year lifespan.

In fact, with our transferable lifetime warranty, we’ve got you covered against any manufacturing or installation defects including discoloration, rust, high winds and hail.

If, on the other hand, your home already had a metal roof when you bought it (for example, a standing seam metal roof), then you may need to give it a clean from time to time.

Fortunately, cleaning your roof is a straightforward process, but if you’d like to avoid this chore in the future, give us a call at 1-800-862-6400 to learn more.

1. Prepare for the Project

Preparation can make or break your roof-cleaning results. To start off on the right foot, you should ensure you have all the tools and materials you’ll need to get the job done safely.

Generally, a long hose and a ladder are a great starting point for a job like this. Professionals tend to use a pressure washing system, but very low pressure is applied—just enough to carry detergents across the entire surface of the roof before rinsing.

Depending on the effectiveness of the cleaning agents you choose and the severity of your soiled roof situation, it may be necessary to bust out a bucket and brush. Just take care not to use too harsh of a brush on your roof. Too much brushing can damage protective coatings.

2. Choose the Right Cleaning Agents

Your choice of cleaning agent can greatly impact the longevity of your metal roof. Certain harsh chemicals, including bleach, can be used at low concentrations (think less than 5 percent when mixed with water) to clean up your roof quickly.

If you only need to clean your roof lightly, then a mild, household detergent can do the trick. Dish detergent and car-washing mixes are acceptable, and some even attest to laundry detergent being good in a pinch.

However, certain coatings and metals may react poorly to the wrong mixture of chemical cleaners. Be sure to consult the manufacturer of your roofing metal for more specific advice on the variety of roofing you are dealing with.

3. Follow Cleaning Procedures Closely

If you’ve purchased a metal roofing cleaner of some sort, then it pays to follow the instructions it provides to ensure you don’t damage your roof or hurt yourself.

Most cleaning agents require you to wait a few minutes after application to allow them to penetrate accumulated contaminants and lift them off your roof. Don’t rinse these agents off too soon or you’ll need to reapply them.

If you think you’ll need to actually climb onto your roof, then it’s essential that you take time to use safety gear as well. A harness and suspension system could be appropriate to keep from slipping and falling while the roof is wet, especially if you’re cleaning a standing seam metal roof with a smoother surface that has little grip.

Before You Start

Don’t jump up on your roof just yet! We have a couple of tips for you to take into account:

Get Your Timing Right

Timing is everything. Setting up a reasonable roof-cleaning schedule can dramatically reduce the cost of maintenance.

A two-year schedule is often a good starting point, but more frequent cleaning could be necessary in certain environments where pollen, leaves, or other types of debris frequently reach your roof.

It also depends on the type of metal roof you have. Some metal roofs, such as standing seam metal roofs, may require more frequent cleaning to rid the surface of dirt and debris that can contribute to rust and corrosion. If you have a stone-coated steel metal roof from Erie Home, however, it won’t be necessary to clean your roof as often, as our metal roofs require very little maintenance. 

It also helps to look at the weather forecast on the day you intend to clean. Rain can complicate the process, but too much heat and sun can do the same. For example, applying cleaning agents directly onto a hot roof can lead to even more stains. 

Hire a Professional

If in doubt, sit it out. You can always find a professional to restore your roof the right way. This may be more expensive, but if you can’t clean your roof properly yourself, you’ll end up paying for experienced cleaners to come over anyway.

If you aren’t certain that your roof-cleaning operation will go off without a hitch, then it could help to call in the cavalry instead to preserve your investment.

When it comes to residential roofing concerns, Erie Home has been trusted by over 400,000 customers and is rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau. Our free inspection can quickly spot areas of concern, and our team of professionals can typically install your new metal roof in less than a day.

Contact us today to book your inspection or for more information on top-tier metal roofing and installation throughout the U.S.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should metal roofs be cleaned?

Generally, metal roofs don’t need to be cleaned often, as they’re not as susceptible to issues such as moss growth that can impact asphalt and other types of roofing. If you have a metal roof that requires cleaning (such as a standing seam roof), you can clean it about every two years. However, if your roof is visibly dirty or has accumulated debris, it’s a good idea to clean it more frequently.  

What tool is used to clean metal roofs?

Pressure washers are commonly used to clean metal roofs at low pressure settings, in addition to gentle scrub brushes for areas that require more attention. 

What is the best thing to clean a metal roof with?

Most experts recommend a mixture of mild detergent and water applied with soft pressure. However, the best cleaning agent and technique to use will depend on the exact type of roofing metal and protective coating you are working on.

You should also consider the degree to which your roof requires cleaning. Strong stains and mildew may demand more aggressive chemicals like diluted bleach to be used instead of mere detergent.

What detergent to use to clean a metal roof?

Most household detergents should be sufficient for light roof cleaning. Dish detergent is generally fine, as is laundry detergent or car-washing liquid.

Can you use Clorox on a metal roof?

Yes, you can definitely use bleach on certain kinds of metal roofs. However, it should always be diluted. Ideally, you should avoid using any more than 5 percent bleach mixed with water on your metal roof to avoid degrading the finish.

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