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The Why and How of Cleaning your Commercial Roof

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Great performance and preventative maintenance often go hand in hand. For your furnace to perform efficiently, the filter must be changed periodically. A car can stop running if the oil is never changed. The same principle applies to your commercial roof system. Maintaining a clean roof should be part of a well-formed preventative maintenance checklist.

According to GAF, one of the nation’s leading roofing material manufacturers, there are several reasons routine cleaning should be included in normal roofing system maintenance, including:

  • Keeping the surface white so it can provide maximum reflectivity and its associated energy conservation benefits
  • Preventing the accumulation of dirt and debris, which can act as nutrient sources for algae and other plant growth
  • Preventing the accumulation of food sources for birds and other pests
  • Preventing the accumulation of chemical contaminants on the roof surface that may harm the membrane and reduce its performance life

When cleaning TPO and PVC membranes, you should follow these tips:

  1. Protect any low curbs, base flashings, or other points where water could enter from the use of a pressure washer.
  2. Protect plants, shrubbery, and exterior facades from run-off of cleaning solution.
  3. Use a low-pressure power washer (2,000 psi or lower) to clean and rinse off the top layer of dust and dirt.
  4. Use a soft-bristled, long-handled brush or floor broom with a cleaning solution consisting of a mild, non-abrasive household detergent and water to clean the surface of the roof membrane, taking care to not damage the top surface of the membrane.
  5. Rinse the cleaning solution off the roof completely with the low-pressure power washer.
  6. Inspect the membrane and ensure no damage has occurred.

A best practice in roof cleaning is to always consult a roofing professional before cleaning the roof on your own. A professional will ensure that the roof is cleaned to manufacturer specifications and can immediately recognize any potential damage concerns. If you have a maintenance program in place that removes debris, you may not need to clean the roof at all. If this is the case, plain water should be enough to clean when necessary.

For more tips on commercial roof maintenance, please check out our other blog topics:

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