How To Clean Asphalt Shingles?

Asphalt shingles are a popular roofing material due to their affordability and durability. While they require relatively little maintenance, they can still become dirty over time and may need to be cleaned to keep them looking their best. Here’s a detailed guide on how to clean asphalt shingles:

Why Clean Asphalt Shingles?

Over time, asphalt shingles can become discolored and stained due to dirt, debris, and algae buildup. This can not only make your roof look unsightly, but it can also impact the performance of your shingles. 

Dirt and debris can prevent water from properly draining off the roof, leading to leaks and water damage. Algae can also damage the shingles, causing them to deteriorate and break down more quickly.

Materials Needed

Before you start cleaning your asphalt shingles, you’ll need to gather a few materials:

  • Garden hose
  • Cleaning solution (there are several commercial products available, or you can make your own with water, bleach, and laundry detergent)
  • Soft-bristled brush or broom
  • Safety equipment (gloves, safety glasses, and a safety harness if you’ll be working on a steep roof)

Steps to Clean Asphalt Shingles

  1. Prepare the area around your home. Move any outdoor furniture or other items away from the house to prevent them from getting wet during cleaning. It would be best if you also cover any plants or landscaping that might be affected by the cleaning solution.
  2. Wet the roof. Use a garden hose to wet the roof thoroughly. This will help loosen any dirt or debris accumulated on the shingles.
  3. Apply the cleaning solution. Mix your cleaning solution according to the instructions on the package, or create your solution by mixing water, bleach, and laundry detergent. Apply the solution to the roof using a pump sprayer or a garden hose with a nozzle attachment.
  4. Let the solution sit. The manufacturer recommends that the cleaning solution sits on the roof for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Scrub the roof. Use a soft-bristled brush or broom to scrub the shingles gently. Avoid using a pressure washer, as high pressure can damage the shingles.
  6. Rinse the roof. Use a garden hose to rinse the roof thoroughly, starting at the highest point and working your way down. Be sure to rinse away the cleaning solution and any remaining dirt or debris.
  7. Repeat if necessary. If the shingles are still dirty or stained, you may need to repeat the cleaning process.

Safety Precautions

When cleaning asphalt shingles, it’s essential to take proper safety precautions. Wear gloves and safety glasses to protect your hands and eyes from the cleaning solution. If you’ll be working on a steep roof, using a safety harness to prevent falls is also essential.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I clean my asphalt shingles?

Clean your asphalt shingles whenever they appear dirty or stained. Depending on your location and the climate, this may be once a year or every few years.

Can I use a pressure washer to clean my asphalt shingles?

While a pressure washer may effectively remove dirt and debris, it can also damage your shingles. The high pressure can dislodge or break the shingles, leading to leaks and other damage. Using a soft-bristled brush or broom is best for cleaning your shingles.

Can I use bleach to clean my asphalt shingles?

Bleach can be an effective cleaning agent for asphalt shingles, but it should be used cautiously. Too much bleach can damage the shingles, so following the manufacturer’s instructions or using a commercial cleaning solution formulated for asphalt shingles is essential.

How do I prevent algae growth on my asphalt shingles?

To prevent algae growth on your asphalt shingles, here are some tips you can follow:

  • Keep your roof clean: Regularly cleaning can help prevent algae growth. Debris and dirt can trap moisture on your shingles, creating the perfect environment for algae to thrive.
  • Improve ventilation: Proper ventilation prevents algae growth on your roof. A well-ventilated roof allows moisture to escape, preventing algae from taking hold.
  • Trim overhanging trees: Trees that overhang your roof can create shade, encouraging algae growth. Trimming back these trees can allow more sunlight to reach your roof, which can help keep it dry and prevent algae growth.
  • Install algae-resistant shingles: Algae-resistant shingles are designed to resist algae growth. These shingles contain copper or zinc granules that inhibit the growth of algae.
  • Use algae-resistant cleaning products: Many are designed to kill algae and prevent its regrowth. Look for ” algae-resistant ” products and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

Following these tips can help prevent algae growth on your asphalt shingles and keep your roof looking clean and healthy.

Can I walk on my asphalt shingles when cleaning them?

Walking on your asphalt shingles when cleaning them is possible, but taking proper safety precautions is essential. Wear shoes with rubber soles to prevent slipping, and use a safety harness if you’ll be working on a steep roof. You should also avoid walking on the shingles unnecessarily, as this can cause damage.

Can I clean my asphalt shingles in cold weather?

While cleaning asphalt shingles in cold weather is possible, it’s generally best to wait for warmer temperatures. Cold weather can make the shingles more brittle, increasing the risk of damage. If you must clean your shingles in cold weather, use a gentle touch and avoid using hot water or harsh chemicals.

Will cleaning my asphalt shingles damage my landscaping?

Cleaning solutions can harm plants and landscaping, so taking proper precautions is essential. Cover any plants or landscaping that might be affected by the cleaning solution, and rinse them thoroughly with water after cleaning your roof.

Can I hire a professional to clean my asphalt shingles?

You can hire a professional roofing contractor to clean your asphalt shingles. A professional will have the experience and equipment necessary to safely and effectively clean your roof and may be able to identify and address any issues that could impact the performance of your shingles.

Final Thoughts

Cleaning your asphalt shingles can help improve your roof’s appearance and extend your shingles’ life. With simple tools and basic safety precautions, you can easily clean your asphalt shingles and keep your roof looking its best for years.