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Bridger Steel Project News, Highlights & Helpful Tips

How to Clean a Metal Roof: Metal Roofing Maintenance

[fa icon="calendar"] 01/27/2020 / by Kaylee Beattie

The season of spring cleaning is upon us! Cleaning your metal roof is an important part of maintaining its appearance and keeping it in tip-top shape. We’re here to share with you the best ways to clean a metal roof, and more importantly, how to clean a metal roof safely!

metal roof on a home

How to Clean a Metal Roof Safely

One of the most important factors of cleaning your metal roof is safety. Metal is slippery, especially when cleaning agents and water is combined. In order to clean a metal roof safely and effectively, you’ll need to remember a few important things, including the following:

  • Never, never, never get on top of your roof alone. There should ALWAYS be at least one other person present when getting on top of your metal roof in case of accidents.
  • Use an OSHA approved safety ladder. Ladder safety is key in your ability to safely clean your roof. You may also want to consider purchasing padded stabilizers in order to better protect your metal roof’s paint or finish. The coatings on a metal roof offer a lot of protection, so to prevent scratches and damage from your ladder, stabilizers should have a soft surface to touch.
  • Wear shoes with good traction and no rocks or other debris stuck in the bottoms. If you’re planning on walking around on top of your roof, this is key. Ensuring you have shoes that can support you while on top of the roof is highly recommended. You should also wear any necessary protective clothing and eye wear, especially if you’re handling cleaning agents and solutions.
  • For extra precaution, consider purchasing, wearing, and using fall protection equipment. This can include harnesses and other fall systems.
  • If you plan on using cleaning solutions and agents, always be sure to read the recommendations on the product labels. Some cleaning solutions can be toxic and cause harm to your roof, the ground below, and even you. If you think there’s a chance your cleaning solution could run off the roof, cover the plants below with a tarp or other protective cover.
cleaning debris off a metal roof

Best Ways to Clean a Metal Roof

After ensuring you’re following all the safety precautions, you can then begin to clean your metal roof. One of the first things you’ll want to do is remove any debris as best as possible. This can include sticks, leaves, and other items.

Most dirt and dust can then be removed with water. Using a garden hose is one of the safest options and can help you reach areas of your metal roof without having to climb on top of it. Many homeowners ask, “Can you power wash a metal roof?” and the answer is yes you can, but we don’t recommend it. Mainly because a power washer can dent a metal roof if its used to spray the roof too closely. Power washers are also bulky and heavy, so unless you have the proper extensions needed, it may be difficult to get them up high enough to reach the entire roof.

If you have stubborn stains, you may need to use a light cleaning solution. We recommend mixing a ¼ cup of detergent, which can include car washing soap or mild dish soap, with a gallon of water. Then, you’ll just need to apply to solution to your metal roof with a sponge, microfiber cloth, or soft-bristle brush, and let it sit on the surface for 5-10 minutes. Finally, thoroughly rinse off the solution with plain water. This is one of the most non-invasive and easiest ways to get a metal roof clean!

This option is safe to use on almost all paints and finishes on metal roofs, however we always recommend talking to a product specialist before putting any chemicals or solutions on your roof to ensure you don’t damage or remove the paint/finish. If you have stains on your metal roof, like rust or algae, they may require a deeper clean than the detergent-and-water solution can provide. We highly recommend reaching out to our team before using any other cleaning solutions as they could damage your metal panels permanently.

cleaning a metal roof

Tips to Clean a Metal Roof

A few other factors you may want to keep in mind while cleaning metal roofing includes the following:

  • Choose a dry, overcast day — Avoid cleaning your roof on hot, sunny days as the metal panels will get extremely hot and you could risk hurting yourself. On sunny days, metal panels will also reflect the sun and could produce a glare that could possibly impair your vision. Of course, once you begin cleaning your metal roof it will get wet, however you should avoid cleaning your metal roof on a wet, rainy day to decrease your chances of slipping and falling.
  • Only clean where you can reach — Before you begin hauling up equipment and other cleaning supplies, you should see how far up your roof you’re able to reach areas that need deeper cleaning. Hoses will extend your reach, however if there are areas too far out of your reach and pose danger, it’s best not to try and scrub them by hand.
  • Never use damaging products — Products like wool scrubbers, sand paper, paint thinners, high pressure washers, and wire brushes should NEVER be used on a metal roof. You’ll cause scratches and other damage to your panels with products like that. Avoid them at all costs!
  • When in doubt, hire a professional — If you’re feeling uneasy, you’re not sure how to do it, or just uncomfortable cleaning your metal roof, simply hire a professional roof cleaning service. They’ll get the job done and save you the worry. Hiring a professional service will cost more than doing it yourself, but it will save you time and help keep your roof in the best shape possible.

Deep cleaning isn’t required every year with most metal roofs. Since they have high-performing qualities, they’re very low maintenance. We usually recommend deep cleaning your roof every 2-3 years, depending on your environment, to ensure it looks its best. However, to ensure your roof is able to perform to its best abilities, you should do routine checks multiple times a year. This includes checking for debris, any damages, or other factors that could decrease your metal roof’s life expectancy.

If you have any questions regarding cleaning your metal roof, get in touch with a product specialist today.


Topics: DIY, Metal Roofing, Home Advice

Kaylee Beattie

Written by Kaylee Beattie