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Many home owners are concerned with what type of cleaning solution Cedar Shakes Roof Cleaning Company uses, more so, if it will harm their landscaping, pets, children, etc.

No it won’t!

Other companies that will clean cedar roofs use a solution that has caustic elements to it and
requires walking on the roof and having to use a power washer to remove. This had been the
process used in the past and most have just continued using this type of process today. Not
only is walking on a wood roof and using a pressure washer to clean potentially harmful to the
roof but potentially very dangerous to humans.

Cedar Shakes Roof Cleaning Process

My company is the first roof cleaning service to develop a wood roof cleaning process that requires no walking on wood roofs or using any form of pressure i.e. pressure washer to clean them.

WATCH THIS: Video-Removing Moss from a Cedar Roof.


As for our cleaning solution, which I developed myself and without detailing the formula (we can’t give away the secret sauce), the following is the baseline of it:
1.) It is nontoxic and non-caustic.
2.) It is citrus based. Think of Lemon.
3.) It has an algaecide, mildewcide, and fungicide to help preserve the shakes.
4.) It has a bio surfactant or soap to help the solution cling to the shakes.
5.) It has a steam process oil to help rehydrate the shakes to preserve them.

When retaining our service you get a proven process that will not harm your roof or your
landscaping, property or family in any way. (Contact us for an estimate).

Everything that is needed to clean and maintain your roof is within our cleaning process.
There is no need to add a treatment to your roof as it is already within our cleaning solution!

Staining is okay for improving the look of your roof but has no preservative value. It also has a
short shelf life and can be very expensive if done correctly. We don’t recommend it.

Sealing a wood roof in any form is very bad for that roof. Wood roofs need to breathe, they are
organic in nature and have to expand and contract with the changing weather condition.

Unlike others that will clean a cedar shakes wood roof, we are cedar shakes roof cleaners.
To properly maintain a cedar shakes roof you should have it cleaned every 7 to 10 years
subjectively. They have a very long lifespan if maintained!

Bruce Sullivan of Sullivan Roof Cleaning, here on Frederick Street in Omaha, Nebraska. In this cedar shake roof cleaning and landscaping protection video, Maria is pre-soaking all the vegetation and, of course, we have it covered with plastic also as a precautionary measure so that any of our over-spray from our soft wash, non-pressure cleaning process doesn’t get on any of the landscaping.

Landscaping Protection While Cleaning Roof

That’s Maria’s responsibility. This is what she does. She is constantly wetting stuff down, wetting stuff down. She’ll wash the house and windows down as we go along, but I just wanted to give you an idea of how we maintain a homeowner’s landscaping.We’re very conscious of it, and very aware of it. We take great measures to protect your landscaping as you can see. We also have a runoff system that we’ll show you in another video of how we actually run the solution from the downspouts right off the property. It’s a pretty unique process.

protecting landscaping from roof cleaning Maria is connecting something to the downspout. What’s the purpose of that?

 This is so we can run everything that comes off the roof, our solution and all that, into a place where it’s  not going to harm the landscaping.

So primarily, your job as the grounds person is to protect the landscaping of the homeowner, correct?

Right, and this is just one of the ways we do that.

So, all of the solution, water and runoff is going to come down that downspout and it’s going to run through that tubing. Then it’s going to go off into an area that’s going to be a safe area to deposit anything that comes off the roof and it won’t harm any of the landscaping or any of the connecting property.

Usually we usually try to find a place in the rocks or a place in the landscaping where there’s no plants where it can hurt anything. We try to keep the run-off off of the grass and away from the homeowner’s foundation.

A lot of times people have wooded areas in their backyard, we can run it off into there where it’s not going to bother anything.

Thanks for watching our video explaining how we protect your landscape. Again, this is Maria in the video. She takes care of the landscaping, the grounds person for Sullivan Roof Cleaning and Bruce Sullivan and one of the two people you will see when you have us over to clean your roof!

Learn More About Roof Cleaning! Watch Our Videos:

Sullivan Roof Cleaning is located in Des Moines, Iowa. Contact us for a free estimate or with help finding a roof cleaning service in your area!

Our Proprietary Cleaning Process & Solution
The Process

Most providers of cedar roof cleaning services use a process that requires walking on the roof and use of a power washer. This is an outdated process that continues to be widely practiced. Walking on a wood roof and cleaning it with a pressure washer is both potentially harmful to the roof and quite dangerous.

Sullivan is the first roof cleaning service to develop a wood roof cleaning process that requires neither walking on the roof nor any form of pressure to clean it.

Many homeowners rightly express concern about the cleaning solutions that are used on their roofs. They wonder whether these solutions will harm their children, pets, landscaping, or other aspects of their home. While most cedar roof cleaning services utilize a caustic solution, ours is specially formulated to be gentle on your home and those who share it.

Our Proprietary Cleaning Solution

1.) Is nontoxic and non-caustic
2.) Formulated with a citrus-based component;
3.) Contains algaecide, mildewcide, and fungicide
4.) Utilizes a steam processed oil to rehydrate the shakes.

Our proven process and proprietary solution will fully clean and maintain your roof while posing no risk to your roof, your property, or your family. No further treatment is needed to preserve your cedar shake roof.

To maximize the lifespan of your cedar shake roof, have it professionally maintained every 7-10 years, depending on your local conditions. If it’s time to maintain your roof, call us. We don’t just offer cedar shake roof cleaning; it’s our specialty!

For more information on how to maintain your cedar shake or shingle roof, contact us at [email protected].

In this video, meet Bruce and learn exactly what we do at Sullivan Cedar Shake Roof Cleaning.
Our goal is to help you extend the life of your cedar roof. A cedar shake roof usually lasts up
to 25 years, but with regular maintenance (every 10 years or so), it can last up to 40 years or

Bruce explains how we use a non-pressure cleaning system with a specially designed cleaning
solution to achieve maximum results without damaging your roof or your property. Our process
protects your landscaping and is not harmful to you or your family. We want to be your cedar
shake roof cleaner for the duration of your roof’s life, so the longer we extend the life of your
roof, the longer we will hopefully keep you as a client. Watch the video for more information
from Bruce on what we do, why we do it, and what you can expect from hiring us as your cedar
shake roof cleaner.

Every homeowner wants to hire the right contractor for the job, but how can the homeowner be sure they are hiring someone they can trust? Cedar shakes roof cleaning is no different from any other home improvement project; there are both reputable and shoddy roof cleaners offering their services. Anyone can buy a ladder, a truck, and a washer and call himself a cedar shakes roof cleaner. In order to avoid a scam and hire a professional roof cleaner, follow the rules below.

Say What You�ll Do and Do What You Say

This sounds simple enough, but unfortunately, not every cedar roof cleaner abides by this motto. Don’t just take the contractor’s word for it, take their customers’ word for it. Check their websites for testimonials. Ask for references, and actually contact those references. Look for reviews on the Better Business Bureau, and homeowner repair sites such as Angie’s List and HomeAdvisor. Take the time to find out as much as you can about the roof cleaner’s previous jobs. Be wary of anyone who does not have any testimonials, reviews, or is hesitant to give you more than one reference; there is most likely a reason why.

Better Safe than Sorry

Since cedar shakes roof cleaners spend most of their day up on ladders, they should be insured for the homeowners protection. Don’t just ask IF they are insured, ask to SEE proof of insurance. Don’t take their word for it. All it takes is a call to the insurance company to validate that the roof cleaner is insured. The last thing a homeowners needs is to have a contractor cleaning the roof, fall off the ladder, break his back, and wind up being sued because the roof cleaner’s insurance lapsed.

Knowledge is Power

Cedar shakes and shingles are a unique roofing material that require a specific technique for cleaning and maintenance. The more the homeowner knows about how to properly care for their cedar, the better they are at choosing the right roof cleaner. Do not be afraid to ask the roof cleaner to explain his technique. The cleaning should be only be done from a ladder to avoid accidents and damage. The roof cleaner should never walk on the shakes and shingles. Nothing more than garden hose pressure should be used on cedar shakes and shingles. High pressure cleaners should never be used. Avoid terms like pressure washed and low-pressure, as this can easily damage the cedar shakes and shingles. Ask how they intend to protect the landscaping. The roof cleaner should take the time to protect the landscaping from dirty runoff and any excess water. The cedar shakes roof cleaner should easily and specifically be able to describe their method, and why they use this method.

By following these three rules, the homeowner can be confident that the roof cleaner they are hiring to clean their cedar shakes roof is profession, reputable, honest, and will get the job done without risk to the homeowner. If the homeowner takes the time to find the right roof cleaner for the job, they will be happy with the end results, and know their cedar shakes roof will receive the care and attention it deserves.

Now that you have removed the debris from your roof, you can examine the condition of the cedar shingles. Unless there is excessive damage, or your roof is leaking, you should not need to repair or completely replace your roof. In most cases, there may be some staining and discoloration, dirt, and/or organic growth (algae, moss, mold, mildew, fungi, etc.) that can easily be cleaned. Again, I do not recommend you clean the roof yourself. It is a job best left to a roof cleaning professional. While I may go into some detail in these posts, my intention is for you to be as knowledgeable as possible so you can hire a reputable roof cleaner.

Processes for Cleaning your Cedar Shake Roof:

At Sullivan Cedar Shakes Roof Cleaning, we use a proven cleaning solution that I developed after years of hands on experience and research. While I will not go into detail about our solution, I am happy to discuss what a professional roof cleaner should use, based on my research and manufacturer recommendations.

When you hire a roof cleaner, you will want to make sure he uses a non-pressure process, and cleans with a mild detergent solution containing wood preservative ingredients, as well as algaecide, mildewcide, and fungicide. The cleaning solution should also contain an oil to help rehydrate the shakes. Understand that their cleaning solutions may perform differently under various environmental conditions, so cleaning may be needed more often depending on the chemicals used, the amount of area precipitation, average temperatures, and roof conditions.

There are three base ingredients that can be used: sodium percarbonate, sodium peroxide, and sodium hypochlorite. Two of these base cleaners (sodium percarbonate and sodium peroxide) requires the cleaner to walk on the roof and to use a pressure process, which is not recommended.

A few key notes on hiring a cedar shake roof cleaner:

  • Hire someone that is experienced in the use of the above mentioned cleaning solutions. Have them provide examples of their prior cleanings/experience.
  • Have them explain the cleaning process they will use. Find out if they walk on the roof, or if they use a pressure system.
  • Do they carry liability insurance in the event of a fall or damage to your roof? Always have them provide you a copy with their cleaning quote.
  • There should be no need for return visits. Everything needed to clean, treat, and preserve your cedar shakes roof should be included within their cleaning solution.

All three of the above listed products will clean a cedar roof. However, each has its own form of application and cleaning process, so be sure to do your research to find the best cedar shake roof cleaner for you. In most cases, routine debris maintenance and regular cleaning is enough to properly care for your cedar shake roof, but sometimes it is necessary to apply preservative treatments to the cedar shakes. Part 4 of this blog series addresses these treatments.

Damage Caused by Wood Decaying Fungi

Wood destroying fungus (fungi, plural) or wood decaying fungi, causes more damage to structures than all the fires, floods, and termites combined! Wood decaying fungus requires four fundamentals to survive which are oxygen, favorable temperatures, water and food. Fungus occurs generally when the moisture content of wood exceeds 20 to 30 percent, coupled with optimal temperatures (32 – 90 F), an adequate supply of oxygen and a suitable source of energy and nutrients.

Fungus is a plant that lack chlorophyll. Unable to manufacture its own food, it feeds off of cells in the wood. The fungus secretes enzymes that break down the wood into usable food. Fungi will significantly reduce the strength of the wood, if the condition continues over a period of time.

Two most commons types:

White Rot Fungi:
White rot breaks down all major wood components (cellulose, hemicelluloses and lignin) more or less simultaneously, and commonly causes rotted wood to feel moist, soft and spongy, or stringy and to appear white bleached. Wood affected by white rot normally does not crack across the grain and will only shrink and collapse when severely degraded. The strength of the infested wood decreases gradually until it becomes spongy to the touch and stringy when broken.

Brown Rot Fungi:
Brown rot primarily decays the cellulose and hemicelluloses in wood, leaving a brown residue of lignin, the substance which holds the cells together. Wood affected by brown rot is usually dry and fragile, readily crumbles into cubes because of longitudinal and transverse cracks (tending to crack across the grain). Infected wood may be greatly weakened, even before external evidence of decay can be seen. Brown rot is generally more serious than white rot. Old infestations of brown rot which have dried out will turn to powder when crushed. They are often labeled as “dry rot”. This common term is deceiving, because dry wood will not rot. Actually, wood kept dry will never decay.

Thus, one reason to have a periodic roof cleaning and a treatment with a Borate solution to preserve the wood.

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The following example is for fiberglass asphalt shingles, add 20% to cost for cedar shakes. Given the cost vs. value of roof replacement should give any homeowner further reason to maintain their roof. More so for the cedar shakes/wood roof homeowners.

On average for less than 5% of the roof replacement cost the homeowner can have their cedar shakes/wood roof cleaned which will in return extend the normal life span of the roof anywhere from 5 to 20 years depending on present condition.

No roofing material is eternal, moreover, cedar shakes/wood roofs. Do not have to replace your roof in half-life or less for lack of not properly maintaining your roof.

As the saying goes: ” An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Regional Data Comparison (West North Central)

Roofing Replacement

Remove existing roofing to bare wood sheathing and dispose of properly. Install 30 squares of 235-pound fiberglass asphalt shingles (min. 25-year warranty) with new felt underlayment, galvanized drip edge, and mill-finish aluminum flashing. Assume a 5-square hip roof; custom flashing at two average-sized skylights; and custom cap treatment at vented ridge.

… according to the Remodeling 2011-12 Cost vs. Value Report (www.costvsvalue.com) …

Got Moss on your Roof? Removing Moss from Roof Helps Prolong the Life of your Roof!

Heavy moss can cause water to back up on the roof enough to flow over the top of the shakes. I have seen water do some very strange things to cedar shake roofs. The moss buildup should always be removed. Moss retains soil and moisture that can harm wood over time. Watch this video to learn more.

Having your roof professionally cleaned not only improves the appearance of your home, buy may prolong the life of your roof by years. Contact us today for a free estimate!

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