Cleaning Cedar Shingles, The Products And Methods

by John Redihan

Cleaning cedar shingles is simple if you follow these tips and buy the right product to clean with. Cedar shingles must be cleaned to get the full life span out of the shingle. Cleaning the wrong way can shorten the life of your shingles and lead to early replacement.

Reasons to clean your cedar shingles; A new wood roof for an average size home could run close to $25,000, to side a medium size home with cedar shingles is easily $15,000, that alone should be enough reason to clean your shingles. Natural wood products are food for mold, mildew, algae, moss and lichen, when these types of fungus are attached to your shingles they are feeding on them, causing them to curl, crack and dislodge. Fungus also holds water and their roots could lead to leaks. To the eye, you want to keep your home looking new and clean, a clean exterior will add to the home’s value.

The equipment to clean your cedar shingles, you probably already have in the garage. People automatically think that they need a pressure washer but you do not, high pressure actually pushes and spreads the mold and fungus spores deeply in to the wood and it will come back worse than before. High pressure also cuts away a layer of the shingles wood and loosens the shingles. Garden hose pressure will safely wash the fungus from your shingles and not cause any structural damage. Other than a hose, you will need a medium bristle scrub brush, a “garden style” pump sprayer and a ladder, I recommend attaching outrigger stabilizing bars for safety to avoid the ladder from slipping.

The correct procedure; whether it is a cedar shingle roof or siding that you are cleaning, the first step is to moisten the area with regular water from your hose, not a soaking just enough to moisten the shingles. Then from your highest point start applying the shingle cleaning product with your pump sprayer. Only coat an area big enough to clean before it dry’s, get your scrub brush and work the product in to the wood. Once you have scrubbed the area that was coated rinse thoroughly with your hose and then move to the next section. You will see all the mold, dirt and algae run off the shingle. Your roof or siding will continue to clean with the next few rain storms.

Finding the right cedar shingle cleaning product; Believe it or not this is the toughest part of the job. I strongly believe that if there is an environmentally safe cleaning product available then we should choose that one. Hazardous cleaning products such as bleach, TSP or chlorine based products will clean your shingles but there are more disadvantages to these products the advantages. First of all, they kill surrounding flowers, grass and shrubs. Secondly they severely dry out the wood shingles. Another reason is that they do not clean evenly, you will end up with some real light; almost white areas and some not so light. It will not look natural when you are finished. The smell from these products linger for weeks, if they drip on any painted surfaces, it will leave a stain. There are many reasons not to use toxic products. What you want to use is a product that is the opposite, environmentally safe, won’t harm the plants, cleans evenly, and is non-staining with no strong fumes.

Find the right product, clean regularly without pressure and your cedar shingles will last forever.

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