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Everything You Need To Know About Cleaning A Wooden Roof

Wooden shingles have a breathtaking rustic beauty unlike any other roofing material. Cedar and other woods turn your roof into a work of art. You want to preserve that splendor the best you can with regular wooden roof maintenance. Cleaning your shingles extends their lifespan and keeps them looking gorgeous for a longer time. This guide will answer common questions about cleaning cedar shingles.

When Should I Clean My Roof?

The frequency of your roof cleanings mainly depends on the amount of debris accumulation you have. Wooden shingles — especially cedar shingles — need to stay dry. When moss, mold, algae and leaves build up on your shingles, they prevent water from evaporating. Excess moisture results in earlier decay and a shorter lifespan. Examine your shingles for discoloration or noticeable debris. If you see something on your roof that does not belong, it may be time to clean it. Get rid of sources of debris such as branches to reduce how frequently you need to clean.

What Cleaning Solution Works Best for Wooden Roofs?

Removing dirt and debris from your wooden roof requires a careful hand and gentle cleaning solution. The USDA Forest Products Laboratory recommends a mixture of bleach and water. You may use chlorine bleach with 5 percent sodium/calcium hypochlorite or oxygen bleach with sodium percarbonate. Commercial oxygen bleach tends to work the most effectively.Begin with the least concentrated solution possible. Strong chemicals can damage your shingles' wood fibers. To clean more efficiently without damaging your roof, apply the mixture using a sponge, soft bristle brush or sprayer. Wait for 15 minutes before rinsing the solution off. During the rinse, aim the water down the roof to prevent it from getting under your shingles.

Can I Use a Pressure Washer to Clean My Roof?

Pressure washing feels incredibly satisfying. However, it can also result in irreparable damage to your wooden roof. In most cases, we recommend using the bleach solution described above for cleaning wooden roofs. If you don't have professional experience using a pressure washer, you can do more harm than good. Redwood and cedar shingles are especially vulnerable to damage from incorrect pressure-washing techniques. Depending on your state, you may not even have the proper license to pressure wash a roof at all.

When Is It Time to Replace Instead of Clean?

Cleaning freshens up your wooden roof, but it can't solve every issue. You may need to replace part or all of your shingles if you notice:

  • Warping or curling

  • Splitting

  • Missing shingles

  • Significant leaking

  • Cracking

  • Discoloration that doesn't disappear after cleaning

  • Exposed roofing felt

In some situations, you can request a repair instead of a total replacement. The design and layout of a wooden shingle roof make it simple to replace individual shingles. However, your new shingles may not match the rest of the roof's appearance. This inconsistency can negatively impact your home's appearance. If you need to replace a large number of shingles, you should consider a replacement instead.

Contact Custom Shingles to request a wooden roof replacement and learn more about cedar roof maintenance. We will elevate your home to a beauty beyond belief.