How To Clean a Slate Roof

How To Clean a Slate Roof

If you dream of being the talk of the neighborhood, you can’t go wrong with a slate roof. These roofs aren’t just beautiful; they’re also super-durable. If you take good care of yours, it can last for a whopping 50 to 100 years.

Slate roofs don’t require much upkeep, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to clean yours if it’s looking a bit worse for wear. Here, you’ll find tips for cleaning a slate roof like a pro.

Inspecting Your Slate Roof

Just as doctors wouldn’t perform surgery before examining a patient, neither should you clean your roof without inspecting it first. It’s a good idea schedule roof inspections at least once a year, but you may need to inspect the roof more often if you live somewhere with severe weather.

It’s best to avoid climbing directly onto your slate roof. Slate can absorb water, which means it’s rather slippery when wet. The last thing you need is a broken arm (or worse) and a hefty hospital bill!

When climbing your ladder to check out the roof, look for signs of missing or cracked slate shingles. While you’re up there, check for clogged or damaged gutters and downspouts.

If you notice big problems, cleaning a slate roof yourself isn’t the best idea. Doing so may only damage the roof further.

Cleaning Your Slate Roof

It’s common for slate roofs to accumulate plant growth, dust, and dirt over time. An ultra-light pressure washer is the best way to remove this debris. If you’d rather not shell out the cash for one, a regular garden hose will work just as well.

However, use a light hand when pressure washing the roof. Never spray water from below the roof tiles at an upward angle. Water can easily become trapped under the tiles and wreck the roof’s integrity.

If you’d rather not risk this, you may want to consider removing debris with regular white vinegar and a stiff-bristled brush. Vinegar is safe for slate and works surprisingly well at removing built-up gunk.

If you find piles of leaves on the roof that you can’t easily reach, use a long-handled garden rake to remove them.

You may stumble across slate flakes in your roof’s valleys and gutters. To remove them, simply put on a pair of rubber gloves to pick the flakes up, then drop them in the trash.

You may notice some weird coloring called a patina when checking out your roof. This patina may look unsightly, but it doesn’t hurt the roof, so removing it is unnecessary.

If you absolutely can’t stand the look of it, you can remove the patina using the methods outlined above.

Why To Consider Hiring the Pros

If you’ve never cleaned slate before, it’s too easy to make mistakes that can seriously damage your roof. Some pressure washers are too powerful and can rip slate tiles to shreds.

Roof cleaning pros have access to light power washers that are gentle enough to avoid damaging your roof. Don’t let the word “light” fool you, though! These pressure washers are perfectly capable of wiping out a ton of built-up dirt and grime.

Roof cleaners also use safe cleaning agents that will not damage your roof. Many homeowners try to clean their roofs with ammonia, bleach, and other harsh chemicals, which can weaken the tile and damage the roof’s copper parts.

Ask yourself which is worse: spending a couple hundred bucks for roof cleaning professionals or paying a few grand for a new roof. We thought so.

Contact Sundown Exteriors for Slate Roof Installation and Repair

Now that you’ve learned about cleaning a slate roof, reach out to Sundown Exteriors for roof installation and repair today. We have years of experience serving homeowners in Pontiac and Lincoln, IL, and we guarantee full satisfaction for every roof installation and repair we perform.

To speak with our roofing pros, call (309) 275-6801.