Roof Cleaning Costs: How To Budget for Roof Cleaning
Did you know that excessive dirt, moss, and algae can cause damage to your roof, leading to costly repairs? Roof cleaning costs range between $294 and $592, with a national average of $432. Scheduling this work can minimize costly roof repairs.
- Typical Range: $294 to $593
- National Average: $433
Depending on the type of roof you have, it will last anywhere between 20 years and 100 years. However, the lifetime of a roof can be cut short simply by the buildup of moisture-rich organisms such as algae, mold, moss, and lichen that can penetrate the roofing shingles and slowly erode the sheathing below them. To extend the life of the roof, it is a good idea to keep your roof cleaned, and it’s also a good idea to have it cleaned every 1 to 2 years, which will cost $294 to $593 on average.
If a portion of your roof is heavily shaded and you cannot remove the obstruction, expect to need your roof cleaned at more frequent intervals, as it can be a breeding ground for mold and algae. How frequently the roof is cleaned may affect costs, too; a yearly cleaning can cost less than the price of a cleaning that’s been put off for years. Other factors that drive up costs include how big the roof is, tough stains, the application of preventive treatments, and the number of stories the house has.
Factors in Calculating Roof Cleaning Costs
The national average for roof cleaning is $433. However, this cost may be substantially lower or higher based on many factors. For example, the price you pay for roof cleaning in a big city in California or New York may be drastically different than what you may pay in a small town in Vermont or Arkansas. The national average cost typically consists of a simple cleaning of the entire square footage of the roof. If there are unique circumstances with your roof, such as the pitch being very steep, this will drive up labor costs because cleaners will have to work carefully and slowly to clean it, increasing the amount of time on the project. Also, the more stories the home has, the more roof cleaning will cost.
Cleaning a roof isn’t just about taking a high-power washer and cleaning away the dirt, debris, leaves, and microorganisms on the roof. Different roof types require different roof cleaning products, which can also factor into total costs.
Some roof cleaning companies charge for roof cleaning by the square foot. However, there are some that also charge for labor by the hour. For roughly 2.5 hours, you can expect to pay between $43 and $92.
Since most roof cleaners charge by the square foot to clean a roof, a large roof cleaning can be much pricier than the national average of $433. The rule of thumb is that the larger the roof, the more expensive it will be to clean.
House Height and Number of Stories
A roof cleaner may not only charge you more for a larger roof but may also charge more for a house with more stories. If you have more than one story, you can expect to pay $0.10 per square foot more. The pitch of the roof may also increase the cost to have your roof cleaned.
Roof cleaning costs vary from one geographic location to another. Typically, roof cleaning in metropolitan and urban areas will cost more than in smaller, suburban, or rural areas. However, the assumption shouldn’t be that costs in a large city will always be more than in a small city, as many considerations factor into a roof cleaning.
Roof Material and Slope
The cost of cleaning a roof will vary by roofing material. Different roofing materials typically require different types of cleaning solutions and levels of care, which can increase the total cost of cleaning. For example, if a professional charges by the hour, increased care may mean more time spent cleaning, leading to increased costs.
The slope of your roof may affect costs, too. While steeper slopes tend to keep dirt off better than lower pitched roofs, a steeper slope may require a professional to use additional time and safety equipment to get the job done, resulting in potentially higher costs.
Depending on the method used by the roof cleaner, the cost can range from $0.05 to $0.75 per square foot for soft wash, chemical wash, and other methods. Additional charges may accumulate for services like roof blowing or preventive treatments, which could range from $25 per roll for zinc strips, which prevent moss and algae from growing, up to $250 or more to apply moss treatments or roof coatings.
It’s a good idea to have your roof cleaned at least every 2 years. However, if you live in a coastal region where salt accumulates on your roof regularly or a damp region where moss and other organisms consistently grow, you will need routine cleaning more regularly. This will drive up roof cleaning costs.
If you opt for a regularly scheduled roof cleaning with your preferred professional, a written agreement may get you a discount on individual cleanings.
Additional Costs and Considerations
If your roof isn’t cleaned regularly, then a simple roof cleaning will probably not be ideal. For example, if there are lots of stains from Gloeocapsa magma, a type of airborne algae that causes the roof to darken, then removal may drive up the costs. This formation is usually prevalent on the side of the roof that rarely receives any sunlight,and the problem is exacerbated in areas that receive a lot of rain. Gloeocapsa magma also is prone to growing on homes that have asphalt shingles as they love to feed on the calcium carbonate within the shingles. This, along with other microorganisms, may form on the shaded side of the roof, which will not only require extensive cleaning but will also need preventive treatments to keep this from happening as frequently.
Aside from the cost of extensive cleaning to remove stubborn stains and moss, you may incur additional charges by opting for additional services like gutter cleaning or for minor roof repairs. Having the gutters cleaned can go a long way toward maintaining the roof’s integrity. Not only will cleaning them protect the roof, but it can also prevent other issues. Dirty gutters can have a domino effect, creating unnecessary, costly problems in your home. Cleaning them can prevent pest problems and minimize problems with the foundation that are caused by water pooling around the base of the home as a result of blocked gutters. These pools of water can also result in foundation issues and flooding in the basement or crawl space.
Moss Removal and Prevention
If you need to have moss removed from your home, expect to pay between $0.20 and $0.70 per square foot. A roof cleaning company may suggest applying a special treatment if moss is a consistent problem for your roof. This can typically run between $150 to $250.
What appears to be stains on a roof may actually be algae. It usually appears on a roof as black streaks which, to the untrained eye, looks like dirt but is a living organism. This algae can cause damage to your roof if left untreated. Stains can also have other causes, such as salt buildup. Depending on the type of stain and how long it will take to remove, the cost to clean stains may run an additional $50 to $100. To minimize stains between roof cleanings, you can opt for a stain-blocking solution. A roof cleaner may charge an extra fee for this stain-blocking solution, which costs about $20 to $30 per gallon and covers about 300 square feet.
Cleaning your roof will undoubtedly get mold, moss, and lichen off your roof. However, if your roof is prone to attracting these organisms, you will need a way to prevent it between cleanings. A roof cleaner may charge an additional $975 to apply a roof coating that will help keep these damaging growths off your roof.
Regular roof cleaning is important to keep your warranty intact, but solar panels can complicate the cleaning process and increase costs. Cleaning the roof requires using a cleaning solution to remove moss and mold. Solar panels require a different cleaning solution and will most likely be handled by cleaners specializing in solar panels. Getting solar panels cleaned will tack on an additional $150 to $350. Adding gutter cleaning may also be an additional cost of about $160.
Roof Repairs or Replacement
When you are having your roof cleaned, you will most likely only need to pay for the roof cleaning materials, labor, tools, and preventive treatments. However, if your roof has missing shingles, bad flashing, or rotting decking, then you will need roof repairs or replacement. This can run you from $150 to $400 for minor work all the way to $11,000 for full-scale replacement.
Roof Cleaning Costs: Types of Roof Cleaning Methods
Roof cleaning costs can vary by the cleaning method. The type of roof cleaner and the amount of product used can drive up costs exponentially. How many applications are used can also factor into costs, especially if you have a large roof with very stubborn stains. It is rare for a roof to be cleaned with only water. In most cases, the roof cleaners will use a cleaning agent such as bleach, chemicals, or some eco-friendly wash to help get stains and microorganisms off the roof.
If there are bushes or other plants growing around your home, a cleaning crew will cover them or water them extensively so that the chemicals won’t destroy them. Depending on what type of product is used for cleaning, some crews may also even use a temporary pipe on the gutter to run the dangerous water away from your house and into containers they’ve brought with them. This keeps environmentally unfriendly products from destroying plants or causing harm to your pets and any animals that frequent your yard, such as birds and squirrels.
Soft washing is a method of cleaning a roof using low-pressure water, similar to that of a garden hose, and a cleaning solution to remove dirt, stains, and moss from the roof. This technique can run between $0.30 and $0.75 per square foot. Using a soft wash prevents damage to shingles, particularly asphalt shingles.
If a roof cleaner tells you that they will use a low-pressure washer to clean your roof, you don’t have to panic. This type of pressure washer is gentle like a soft wash, but it’s strong enough to remove debris and moss from stronger roofing material. You can expect to pay between $0.30 to $0.70 per square foot on this type of roof cleaning.
If a roof cleaner plans to pressure-wash your roof, this could void your roof warranty, particularly on asphalt, shake, slate, or tile. A metal roof can take a pressure washer, but the roof cleaner should still use a gentle pressure-wash. This method can run you between $0.20 and $0.70 per square foot.
If a roof is full of loose debris, a roof cleaner may use a roof blower to remove it before cleaning the roof with chemicals. Should a roof cleaner need to blow your roof before cleaning it, expect to pay between $0.05 and $0.10 per square foot. The roof blower will remove leaves, twigs, and pine straws from your roof.
Zinc Oxide Application
If moss is a big problem for the roof, a roof cleaner may install zinc strips to keep moss and other growths from building up on the roof. Zinc strips interact with rainwater and release zinc carbonate, which keeps moss from growing on the roof. These strips come in rolls that cost about $0.05 to $0.15 per square foot and may be included in the final price.
When it comes to removing moss, mold, algae and the like, a roof cleaner will use a chemical wash to do so. This is typically a low-pressure wash, but it is very effective because the chemicals remove the mold and moss. Don’t be alarmed if you still see moss on the roof once the roof has been treated. It takes a few days for the organisms to start dying after treatment. The cost of this type of roof cleaning is between $0.20 and $0.30 per square foot.
Signs You Need a Roof Cleaning
Obvious signs that your roof needs cleaning are black streaks all over it. This buildup can be caused by mold or Gloeocapsa magma. Another surefire sign is the excess buildup of lichen, algae, or moss, which will leave an assortment of green and white microorganisms on your roof, particularly on parts of the roof that barely get any sunlight.
Another sign that the roof needs cleaning is if pigeons or other birds seem to flock to your house to expel their feces. The acid in bird poop can wreak havoc on roof shingles. Leaves can also be a major culprit in causing roof damage if they remain on the roof for an extended period and are damp. Moss, algae, bird poop, leaves, and black stains can all cause damages that can lead to premature roof replacement. When you see signs like these, it’s a good idea to get your roof cleaned immediately.
Sometimes you may not need to see issues before you decide to get your roof cleaned. For example, if you know it’s been a while since your last service, you may need to request a cleaning. If you plan to sell your home soon, it would be a good idea to clean your roof to improve curb appeal. If you have an established relationship with them, some roof cleaning professionals may proactively contact you to let you know it’s time to get your roof cleaned. Here are some ways to know that it’s time to clean your roof.
Visible Dirt and Grime
It is easy to neglect getting your roof cleaned because you may assume that rain and winds probably do a good enough job at cleaning the roof. However, this assumption can lead to unnecessary roof repairs. There are things that could be damaging your roof that only a trained professional can see. Blue-green algae, or Gloeocapsa magma, is often mistaken for mold or dirt but is actually a black-colored organism that makes your roof look unkempt and can cause damage to your shingles. A roof cleaner typically removes this using algae-removing chemicals or a bleach solution.
Visible Plant Growth
If there is algae present on your roof, then you probably have lichen and moss on it, too. These growths are living organisms that thrive on damp roofs. They aren’t just an eyesore, either. Algae, lichen, and moss seem like harmless growths on the roof, but they are slowly but surely causing damage to your roof. Their roots burrow into your shingles, causing them to dislodge. They may even start to cause wood rot if they burrow deep enough to allow water to start getting into the decking, and this will eventually lead to roof leaks.
Time Elapsed Since the Last Cleaning
How long has it been since you had your roof cleaned? If you can’t recall, you certainly should consider having it done right away. Every season brings the possibility of dirt and growths developing on your roof. Fall weather can really be detrimental to your roof by causing damp leaves and pine straw to clump to your roof, making it ripe for moss and algae to grow. A roof cleaning crew will typically use a blower to remove leaves from a low-pitched roof, and they may employ other methods for steeper roofs.
Shade and Overhanging Tree Branches
Shade can be a double-edge sword. On one hand, it is a great way to keep your roof from getting too hot, especially during the summer. This can be helpful when it comes to energy savings. On the other hand, shade combined with moisture can be a breeding ground for mold, lichen, and algae. Overhanging tree branches can also be destructive. As the wind blows, the tree limbs can brush back and forth along roof shingles, which can be detrimental to roofing material, particularly asphalt shingles.
Benefits of Regular Roof Cleaning
Cleaning your roof isn’t only beneficial for aesthetic reasons, although it can help improve your home’s curb appeal. There are many different reasons why you should keep the roof clean, which can prevent costly problems in other areas of your home and extend the life of your roof. Perhaps the most important reason to clean your roof is to prevent roof damage.
A buildup of moisture-prone organisms and leaves can cause problems with your shingles that may lead to leaks. Also, rodents may be hanging out on your roof, particularly in your gutters, which can cause blockages from the nests they may build in them. Not regularly cleaning your roofs can lead to an infestation and eventually pest problems within your home that you will need to pay to remove.
Another issue that may arise from buildup in your gutters is water not channeling through to the downspouts. Water spilling down your house can cause problems with siding and the foundation, which adds unnecessary costly expenses to maintaining your home. Keeping your roof and gutters cleaned regularly can help prevent expensive problems in the long run. It can also make you aware of minor roof problems before they become major issues, which can cost thousands of dollars.
Prevents Roof Damage
One of the most important reasons to get your roof cleaned regularly is to prevent roof damage. Cleaning your roof can cost a few hundred dollars, but minor roof repairs, depending on the type of roof, can range from $366 to $1,570. If damages from an unclean roof are extensive because the decking and the flashing are severely rotted or corroded, you can expect to pay between $5,576 and $11,491 to replace your roof.
Prevents Damage to Home’s Interior
Roof damage isn’t something that only affects the exterior of your home; it can quickly become an interior problem. If moisture is present on your roof, this can lead to leaks and mold growth that can be hazardous to breathe. Not only will you have to pay to have the roof repaired, but you will also have to pay to have the ceiling replaced, which can cost an average of $1,687. This price can increase, depending on the material needed to fix it. If the roof requires mold remediation, it could cost an average of $2,216.
Prevents Pest Infestations
Microorganisms may be a big problem with roofs, but pests can be, too. This could range from dangerous hornets to seemingly harmless birds’ nests. Keeping your roof cleaned regularly keeps these critters from forming habitats on your roof and in your gutters. If pests are attracted to your roof, then it is likely that when it gets cold, they may look for warmth inside your home. This can cause another costly problem.
Extends the Life of Your Roof
Keeping your roof clean can ensure that your warranty remains valid. If there is a problem that arises prematurely, a roof contractor will first try to determine if you have maintained the roof properly. If failure to clean your roof led to the problem at hand, then it may void your warranty.
Those dark-colored streaks on your roof are unsightly and can ruin your curb appeal. This is especially distracting if you are trying to sell your home. No matter how gorgeous your home may be inside and out, a buyer will keep wondering whether there are major roof problems that lie beneath those stains.
Savings on Roof Repair
If you are regularly cleaning your roof, a professional roof cleaner may be able to detect roof problems. While they may not have the expertise that roof contractors have, they may be able to readily spot problems with decking or flashing. They also may be able to see standing water, particularly on low-pitched roofs. Catching these problems early can keep them from becoming major issues that can cost you thousands of dollars.
Savings on Homeowners Insurance
Keeping the roof clean will help you keep your home insurance in force. If you happen to have a roof leak as a result of hail or wind, one of the first things insurance adjusters will check is the quality of your roof. They know that algae and mold are big culprits for damaging roofs. If you haven’t done your due diligence with cleaning these damaging items off your roof, this may cause problems with your claim.
Protects Property Value
Black streaks and moss on your roof are not only an eyesore, but they can also bring down the value of your property. This is because these growths indicate that there may be serious issues with your roof that can be costly. If you see such issues with your roof, it’s a good idea to get it cleaned, especially if you plan to sell.
Roof Cleaning Costs: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
Cleaning the roof yourself is an option that you may consider to keep your costs low. It is a good idea as a DIYer to clean your roof if you know how to do so. For instance, if you work as a roof cleaner, then chances are, you will know how to clean your own roof. However, if you aren’t in the roof cleaning business or some other roof-related business, it’s better to leave this to a well-vetted professional roof cleaning company.
It may be tempting to clean your own roof to save money, but you may want to leave roof cleaning to the experts for safety reasons and to ensure that they use the best cleaning methods for your roof. A roof can be dangerously slippery when you are cleaning it, and a licensed and insured cleaning crew will know not only the best way to clean the roof but will also use appropriate harnesses and other safety equipment to prevent falls.
One good reason to hire someone who is a high-quality roof cleaner is that they will specialize in knowing what products will work best to clean the roof. Another good reason to hire a professional is that it minimizes the chances of injuring yourself. A wet roof can be a very slippery environment, especially coupled with the chemicals used to clean the roof.
Still another equally great reason to have a professional clean your roof is to prevent using the wrong cleaning equipment. It may be tempting to use a pressure washer to clean the roof because it seems like a quick and easy way to eliminate dirt and other problems. However, if you happen to use a pressure washer, you may void your roof warranty. Most roofing material is not designed to handle the high pressure of pressure washers. With asphalt shingles, this is especially problematic because you can inadvertently knock off shingles and damage the granules on the shingles.
Another issue that may arise with DIY roof projects is an oversight. For example, you may be so concerned with cleaning your shingles that you forget to clean your gutters properly. Leaving your gutters uncleaned may cause buildup and end up voiding your gutter warranty. When deciding whether to do it yourself or hire someone, make sure you weigh all your options.
How to Save Money on Roof Cleaning Costs
Although roof cleaning is not as expensive as repairing or replacing a roof, it can still be quite costly. On average, you can expect to pay around $433, but extenuating circumstances may drive this cost up substantially. Luckily, you only need to clean your roof every so often, though if you have moss and algae problems, this could increase the frequency of cleaning. However, preventive treatments can minimize these problems.
Added costs can drive up roof cleaning expenses by hundreds of more dollars. That’s why it is a good idea to try to discover ways to reduce costs by looking for discounts or negotiating with the contractor. Some roof cleaning companies offer discounts right on their site. You can also look for third-party offers to see if they can be applied to help reduce costs. Finally, after receiving an estimate for work, you can try to negotiate with the roof cleaning contractor to get the prices of your work down.
- Check the roof cleaning company’s site for deals that they may be offering on their services.
- See if third-party sites like Groupon or LivingSocial can help you with cost savings.
- Try to negotiate a lower price if you agree to buy several service cleanings, or see if you can supply the cleaning product in exchange for a better rate.
- Get your roof cleaned in the off-season when professionals may not be as busy. The most popular time of year to clean roofs is in the spring, and businesses will likely see a dip in the late fall and winter.
- If the company you’re interested in hiring offers window, gutter, or other cleaning services, see if they’ll offer a discount for multiple services. This can help save money if you were already planning on having another area of the exterior cleaned soon.
- Consider that regular roof cleaning can save you thousands in the long run when you can avoid costly roof repairs and damage.
- Ask your neighbors if they’re interested in getting their roofs cleaned, and ask if the company will offer a discount to do multiple homes in the neighborhood or if you can get a referral discount.
Questions to Ask About Roof Cleaning Costs
Overall, cleaning your roof can be pricey but not nearly as costly as replacing or repairing the roof. Cleaning the roof will almost certainly extend the life of the roof material. Although it is a good idea to have regular roof cleanings, it’s wise to make sure that you use a quality company with good reviews. This way, it is less likely that the professionals hired to do the job will damage your roof using the wrong materials, making what should have been a simple roof fix even worse than before they cleaned your roof. A roof cleaning crew must be adequately insured, or you could end up having to pay for any injuries they sustain while working on your property.
When it comes to getting the right roof cleaner, you should try to choose a well-vetted one. Major review sites will provide insight into what other customers think about the company. Checking with the Better Business Bureau will also help you learn more about whether the company is reputable. Finally, asking the right questions, mainly when you are working with contractors, will allow you to rest assured that you are choosing the best company for the job.
If moss is a big problem for the roof, a roof cleaner may install zinc strips to keep moss and other growths from building up on the roof. Asking about other upcharges that may be included will give you a better idea of how much more the roof cleaning will cost. Here are some questions you can ask a roof cleaner to find out what you can expect to pay for roof cleaning.
- Are you licensed and insured?
- Do you have references or before-and-after pictures of prior work?
- Do you offer free estimates?
- Does the time of year that I have my roof cleaned affect the cost?
- Is there an additional charge for you to capture and haul away the dangerous chemicals you use to clean my roof?
- Will there be more costs involved if I have solar panels installed on my roof?
- What type of cleaning do you recommend for my roof?
- Are there any specific treatments you recommend for my roof/the geographic location?
- Will you let me know if there are any damaged areas that I need to get repaired?
- Do you offer other exterior cleaning services like gutter and window cleaning? Will you provide a discount if I have more than one service scheduled?
- Can you perform any minor repairs?
- How often do you recommend a roof cleaning in this area?
If you’re looking for a roof cleaning service after determining that your roof needs cleaning, you may have some more questions. A few of them are answered below.
Q. Is it safe to power-wash my roof?
Power-washing or pressure-washing a roof seems like a good idea because it can quickly get rid of dirt and debris. Unfortunately, it can damage shingles or the granules on the shingles, too. It may also void your roof warranty. It’s a good idea to choose another option to clean your roof if power-washing can be avoided.
Q. How often do I need to clean my roof?
It is recommended that you have your roof cleaned every 1 to 2 years. However, if you live in a home where moss, salt, lichen, and other growths accumulate on it frequently, you may have to increase the frequency of roof cleanings.
Q. How long does it take to clean a roof?
The time it takes to clean the roof will primarily depend on how large the roof area is, the type of dirt or stains present, the type of product used to clean it, and how steep the roof is. This can take 2 to 5 hours on average but may increase or decrease based on your set of circumstances.