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Extreme Weather Preparedness: Ensuring Roof Resilience Through Professional Cleaning

Unpredictable weather patterns and frequent extreme weather events make the resilience of our homes more crucial than ever. Our roofs make for the first line of defence against nature's fury and have to withstand heavy rain, blistering winds, or brunts of storms.

Before hurrying to reinforce your windows, here's a kind reminder: professional roof cleaning can efficiently prepare your roof for the next storm. Roof cleaning plays a pivotal role in strengthening our homes against extreme weather. We have an in-detail look in the following lines.

dirty slab roof and copper roof

How does extreme weather impact the roofs?

Extreme weather impacts the roofs especially if the roofs lack proper maintenance and cleaning. In the UK, extreme weather events don't reach the intensity as in other parts of the world. However, they still present risks and challenges for roofs. Here's how extreme weather affects roofs:

  • Heavy rain and flooding

Heavy rain events may overwhelm drainage systems and make water ponds on flat or low-sloped roofs. Long-term exposure to moisture will alter roofing materials and cause leaks, water infiltration, and structural damage. Improper drainage leads to ponding water which weighs the roof and may cause collapse.

  • High winds and storms

High winds and storms can uplift roofing materials like tiles or shingles. The roofing materials may dislodge or suffer damage. Tree branches, loose debris, and airborne objects may affect the roof during high winds and cause cracks, punctures, or dents.

A wind-driven rain can get into the vulnerable areas of the rood and cause water leaks and moisture intrusion.

  • Snowstorms and freezing conditions

Snow accumulation on roofs adds weight to the roof, especially if it's a flat or low-pitched roof. The risk of structural strain or even collapse increases because of snow. When it melts, snow may seep into cracks and gaps in the roof, refreeze and expand as ice and further damage roofing materials.

Ice dams along rood edges can block effective drainage and make water backup under tiles or shingles. As a result, water damage and leaks will take place.

  • Hailstorms

Hailstorms can damage the roofs, especially on roofs made of asphalt shingles. They will cause dents, fractures, and cracks. Large hailstones can puncture or dislodge roofing materials, expose the underlying structure, and cause leaks and water infiltration.

Hail damage isn't immediately obvious and may weaken the roof in time. The damage will be revealed after some time if left unaddressed.

  • Extreme heat and UV exposure

Long-term exposure to extreme heat and UV radiation can speed up the ageing process of roofing materials. The roofing materials will crack, brittle, or degrade. Heat buildup in the attic or roof space leads to high energy bills due to cooling. It can also cause premature deterioration of roofing materials.

How does professional roof cleaning ensure roof resilience

Professional roof cleaning ensures roof resilience on several levels:

Prevents accumulation of debris, water damage and leaks

Leaves, twigs, branches, and airborne particles (dust, dirt, and pollen) will deposit on roofs in time. The debris can trap moisture, lead to mould and mildew growth and create a breeding ground for pests. Professional roof cleaners remove debris, prevent moisture retention and lower the risk of roof deterioration.

Dirt and debris on roofs may clog gutters and drainage systems, especially during heavy rain events. Here's how the buildup makes water backup and leak:

  • Twigs, branches, dirt, and debris deposit in gutters and downspouts and affect the water flow. When the gutters are clogged, rainwater overflows onto the roof. Due to clogged downspouts, water pools around the base of the house and may infiltrate into the basement.
  • Rainwater that collects on the roof can create standing or ponding water on the roof. Ponding water adds weight to the roof and causes structural strain, roof sagging, and collapse. Standing water seeps into cracks, saps, and leads to water infiltration, leaks, and moisture damage.
  • When water doesn’t properly drain off the roof, it gets to vulnerable areas such as flashing, roof valleys, and seams. Water infiltration through the roof can lead to leaks, water stains, and damage to ceilings, walls, insulation, and electrical systems. Long-term exposure to moisture favours mould and mildew growth, corrosion of metal elements, and rot of wooden structures.

The professional roof cleaning will prevent water damage and leaks through several techniques:

Remove debris from the gutter and downspouts

Regular roof cleaning may include clearing gutters and downspouts of debris so that water flows freely and doesn't back up.

By removing leaves, twigs, dirt, and debris, roof cleaners prevent clogs and allow free flow for the rainwater off the roof and away from the house's foundation.

Maintain efficient drainage

With professional roof cleaning, the blockages in gutters and downspouts will be eliminated. Therefore,  the drainage system will be effective and direct rainwater away from the roof and foundation. With efficient water flow off the roof, the risk of standing and ponding water, moisture infiltration, leaks, and water damage to the house will decrease.

Detect and address issues

When cleaning, the professionals will examine gutters, downspouts, and roofing components. They will look for signs of deterioration, damage, or areas of concern. Promptly addressing loose flashing, damaged gutters or deteriorated sealants will maintain the roof's integrity.

Eliminates biological growth and strengthens roof structure and materials

Lichen, moss, algae, and other biological growth are common, especially on roofs in shaded or moist areas. The organisms feed on moisture and organic matter and affect the roof's integrity. They cause staining, discolouration, and deterioration.

Professional roof cleaners use specialized techniques and eco-friendly solutions to eliminate biological growth. The roof will look fresh, like new and its structural integrity will no longer be at risk.

Algae, moss, and lichen growth can alter the roof's integrity and properties. Here's how:

  • Algae colonies create dark streaks or stains on the roofing materials and alter the roof's appearance. They also cause premature deterioration of asphalt shingles and decrease the roof's lifespan.
  • Moss thrives in damp environments and can grow on porous surfaces like wooden shakes or shingles. Mosses have a root-like structure and go deep into the roofing material. They weaken the roof, promote decay and rot and further biological growth.
  • Lichens can degrade roofing materials (asphalt shingles, wooden shakes, concrete tiles). They cause physical damage and promote moisture retention, leading to further decay and deterioration.

Professional roof cleaners remove algae, moss, and lichen growths to prevent structural damage and preserve the integrity of roofing materials with the following methods:

Soft-washing technique

Professional roof cleaners employ soft washing to remove algae, moss, and lichen growth. They use low-pressure water streams and specialized cleaning solutions to carefully remove algae, moss, and lichen growths from roofing materials.

With soft washing, the workers don't use high-pressure water and abrasive scrubbing as they damage delicate roofing surfaces and underlying materials.

Biodegradable cleaning solutions

Professional roof cleaners use biodegradable cleaning solutions that break down and remove moss, algae, and lichen growths without damaging the roof materials. The cleaning solutions are made to kill the underlying organisms and stop regrowth. They will protect for a long time against infestation.

Thorough rinsing and treatment

After they apply the cleaning solutions, professional roof cleaners will thoroughly rinse the roof surface to eliminate all residual debris, dirt, and cleaning agents. The roof will look fresh and like new. If necessary, the roof cleaners will apply preventive treatments or coatings to block re-growth.

Restores drainage systems

Clogged downspouts, gutters, and roof valleys can alter water drainage and cause water backup, ponding, and moisture infiltration. Professional roof cleaning may cover cleaning gutters and drainage systems. The workers remove leaves, debris, and blockages to ensure free water flow.

Roof cleaning restores effective drainage, prevents water damage, and extends the durability of roofing materials.

Enhances wind resistance

Debris accumulation on roofs creates wind uplift and makes roofs vulnerable to damage during high winds. Here's how:

  • Accumulated debris (leaves, branches, and dirt) adds weight to the roof and increases the load on the roof. The risk for uplift forces from the strong winds increases.
  • Debris clogs gutters, downspouts, and roof valleys and blocks the flow of rainwater. The water will pool or pool on the roof surface. Ponding water adds weight and increases the risk of wind uplift.
  • Debris accumulation turns into a rough surface texture on the roof that affects smooth airflow over the roof. Irregularities in the roof surface create turbulent airflow that generates areas of low pressure. Suction forces will lift roofing material and create uplift.
  • Wind-blown debris (branches, objects) will affect the roof's surface and dislodge roofing materials like tiles or shingles. When loosened or damaged, roofing materials are vulnerable to uplift forces during high winds and compromise the roof's structural integrity.

Professional roof cleaners turn to several methods to remove debris accumulation and increase the roof's wind resistance:

Thorough debris removal

Professional roof cleaners use specialized equipment and techniques to remove debris from the roof's surface, gutters, and drainage systems. As they clear away branches, leaves, and debris, roof cleaners reduce the weight of debris on the roof and remove sources of wind uplift.

Clear obstructions

When cleaning the roof, the workers will also clear gutters, downspouts, and roof valleys of debris so that water flow and drainage are free. Roof cleaning prevents water pooling and reduces the risk of uplift pressure beneath roofing materials because it removes blockages.

Secure attachment of roofing materials

While they're up on the roof, professionals can examine roofing materials and detect any signs of damage, dislodgement, or looseness. They will repair or replace damaged or loose roofing materials and secure attachments. This way, the roof will successfully withstand strong winds.

Restore surface

Professional roof cleaners turn to gentle cleaning methods to restore the roof's smooth surface, eliminate irregularities that disrupt airflow and create areas of low pressure. When the roof's surface is smooth, the risk of wind uplift during high winds decreases.

Preserves roof coatings and sealants

Many roofs have coatings, sealants, or waterproofing membranes for durability and weather resistance. The protective layers lose their properties in time because of exposure to moisture, sunlight, and environmental contaminants.

Professional roof cleaning eliminates dirt, grime, and pollutants that speed up the deterioration of coatings and sealants. Therefore, the protective layers will remain efficient for many years.

Prevents moisture damage

Moisture infiltration is one of the most common causes of roof damage and deterioration. Water intrusion, leaks, and moisture buildup will weaken roofing materials and boost rot, decay, and mould growth.  The roof's structural integrity will be compromised.

Professional roof cleaning will detect and address problematic areas, such as cracked flashings, damaged shingles, or deteriorated sealants. With early detection, the moisture-related problems won't aggravate.

Improves energy efficiency

A clean roof efficiently reflects the sunlight, absorbs less heat, and lowers indoor temperatures. By reducing heat gain, professional roof cleaning contributes to energy efficiency. It reduces cooling costs and expands the roofing materials' lifespan as it lowers thermal stress and UV exposure.