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In today’s roof cleaning industry we find more and more cleaning services adding roof cleaning to their services provided. In the last couple years many want to take on the service of cedar roof cleaning. Unlike other roof materials e.g. ashault, tile, slate and metal, cedar is a roofing material all to itself. Just in its nature of being organic and a soft wood much caution is warranted when considering having it maintained or cleaned.

Sullivan Roof Cleaning | Before and after photo | Swisher Iowa

First off, you cannot use the same cleaning solution used to clean asphalt, tile, slate or metal. The solution has to be specially formulated to not harm the cedar but at the same time clean it properly. Cedar has other infestations like white and brown rot fungi growth that you won’t see in other roofing materials. These fungi which are the real white looking shakes and the brown to black color shakes will deteriorate a cedar roof faster than any other infestation.

Wood Destroying Fungus On Cedar Roofs

Wood destroying fungus (fungi, plural) 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.

How To Clean and Remove Algae, Moss, Mold and Mildew, Lichen From Your Cedar Roof

Thus it takes a special formulated solution to remove such, combined with the removal of algae, moss, mold and mildew, and lichen. So for someone to use lets say bleach, soap and some potpourri for a good smell effect will only do more harm to the cedar shakes and will not properly clean them.

To properly clean a cedar shakes roof there has to be something to kill the bacteria, algaecide, mildacide and fungicide mixed in a proper ratio for the infestations within the cedar shakes. There is no one product on the market today that will do that. They have to be mixed up special.

What Home Owners Should Know About Their Cedar Roofs

What many cedar shakes homeowners don’t know is that cedar roofs don’t decay, but they do weather. It has natural preservatives that resist moisture, decay and insect damage. Although in warm, humid climates and on heavily shaded roofs, algae, moss, mold, mildew, lichen and fungi’s will grow, because these organisms retain moisture the cedar will decay in time if not maintained.

Also to help the cedar shakes extend their lifespan there has to be a water based oil within the solution to replenish the natural oils that leach out over time. Cedar shakes have to breathe. Thus is has to be water based. They contract and expand that is why there are spaces between. Staining other than looks does little for the health of the shakes. Sealing should never be applied, again they have to breathe. Just a regular cleaning will serve just fine and allow the shakes to live out their full lifespan which can be anywhere from 40 to 60 years and maybe even longer.

You cannot properly clean a cedar shakes roof anytime of the year. The ambient air temperature has to be consistently 50 degrees or above for the shakes to properly thaw and release the infestations from their dormant state. To do other wise is a waste of time and money. You could possibly brighten them but you will not clean them.

In order for a cedar shakes the roof to last its full lifespan it has to be maintained or cleaning, in most cases about every 6 to 8 years, depending on climate, tree cover and shade coverage. Cedar is organic and is wood, it has to be maintained. It is not different from your teeth. Why do you have them cleaned? So they will last their life time. They are organic also.

Also, for you cedar shake homeowners. Cedar shakes are cost saving to your home. Cedar is a natural insulator against the environment; competitors can’t come close to the thermal efficiency of wood. In fact, cedar has twice the thermal resistivity (R-value) of asphalt, 5 times that of slate, 8 times that of concrete, and hundreds of times that of metal and aluminum.

I hope this will be informative for you cedar shakes homeowners. When hiring a cedar shakes roof cleaner check them out. What process do they use. You should never use high pressure or a power washer to clean a cedar roof, that is just common sense. What experience do they have. Ask for references. Have them provide examples of their work. Do they have customer reviews that can be verified. Are they insured?

Ask For A Cedar Shakes Roof Cleaner

There is a big difference between a person that can clean a cedar shakes roof and a person who is a cedar shakes roof cleaner. That difference could be thousands of dollars in damage or replacement cost. On the other hand if they are a cedar shakes roof cleaner you can save thousands of dollars in premature roof replacement by simply maintaining your roof.