If your tile roof is covered in algae and dirt, you can improve its appearance by having it cleaned. Tile roofs last for decades, so there is no need to replace it just because it looks bad if your roof still has several years of life left in it. Cleaning a tile roof yourself can be tricky. It might be worth the expense to hire a professional to do the job. Here are a few things you should know before you attempt to clean your roof.
Tiles Might Crack When You Walk On Them
While roofing tiles are very durable and can stand up to strong winds and storms, they can be damaged easily when you walk on them. That's because of the way they are designed with the curved hump in the middle of a tile. The material in that area is not supported, so if you step on it, it can crack. If you plan to walk on the roof yourself, be sure you walk on the lower part of the tiles because the lower portion rests against the roof, and it is also supported by the upper portion of the tile underneath it. Professionals may use plywood or ladders on the roof so they don't have to step directly on the tiles.
Pressure Washers Can Cause Damage
The easiest DIY way to clean your tile roof is to use a pressure washer and blast off the dirt and algae. However, if the pressure is too high, you can damage the finish on the tiles. If your roof is still under warranty, find out first if the warranty covers damage caused by pressure washing. If not, you should probably avoid using a pressure washer, and if you do decide to use one, set it on a low pressure setting. The high pressure jet is good at removing dirt and stains, but it can also remove the protective coating on the tiles. After your roof has been pressure washed several times, the tiles may even start to lose some color. You can avoid these problems by manually scrubbing your roof with chemicals that remove algae and stains, even though that method of cleaning the roof is much more labor intensive.
Tile Roofs Are Dangerous When Wet
One reason it's better to hire a professional is because of the safety issues involved with washing a tile roof. Wet tile is slick. You have to be very organized when you clean the roof so that you are always stepping on dry tile. Since you can only step on the lower portion of the tiles, it is very easy to misstep and stumble. You want to use precautions when working with wet tile so you stay safe. Use a harness that catches you if you slip, and be sure to wear shoes with good traction. It's also a good idea to work with a buddy who can offer help if you slip and get into trouble.
Whether you decide to clean your roof yourself or hire a contractor to do it, a thorough cleaning will make your roof look like new. You may need to have the roof cleaned every few years, especially if your roof is in the shade most of the day or if there is a lot of airborne pollution in your area that makes your roof look grimy.