If you own a home or business with a Colorbond roof, you know the cleaning process can be tough. Although, it can be a a lot easier to make your roof look fresh and new when utilising the correct tools and methods.
Importance of Colorbond Roof Cleaning
The Sutherland Shire and surrounding Sydney suburbs are subject to every kind of weather imaginable! Like all your household or outdoor items, your Colorbond roof also needs to be cleaned. This means you should come up with a cleaning schedule to to extend its life and keep the metal roof looking its best. When you clean your metal roof periodically, it helps to maintain the integrity of the roof panels and assists in removing any particles on the surface of the roof that could affect the paint or substrate.
There are natural elements that could stick to the surface and damage your clean Colorbond roof. These include airborne dirt, as well as small sticks and leaves. Pollen can also stick to the roof. You may find that spore deposits have settled on the surface of the roof as well. After a few years, you could possibly find water stains or particles from pollution on the roof. With time acid rain and rust stains may settle on a Colorbond roof. Like most household areas, you also have to look out for mould and mildew on the roof and remove it immediately.
Lichen, Mould, and Moss
Harmful chemicals and particulates are always present in the air and differ based on the type of climate you live in. These include acid rain, particles that come from pollution, and everyday natural debris. As these particles slowly settle on your roofing sheets, they could encourage the growth of lichen, mould, and moss.
These harmful chemicals and particulates can cause the metal roof to degrade and erode the paint that is bonded to the steel roofing. A simple way to determine if your metal roof is degrading is to assess the paint for chalking. If you see white residue on the roof, especially after you have had your roof for a few years, there’s a possibility that the roof is chalking.
You can clean your Colorbond roof with common cleaning items like a sponge, washcloth, soft brush, and a non-abrasive cleaning pad. Although there are several tools that can be used to clean your roof, in some cases water alone can clean the roof thoroughly. However, there are also cases when you’ll need a high-power cleaning agent to wash or wipe the panels of the roof.
Methods of Cleaning Colorbond Roof
How do you clean your metal roof? At Metal Deck we believe that maintaining your roof is a constant activity that unfortunately can’t be avoided. However, it’s ideal to have a roof professional from Metal Deck come and inspect your Colorbond roof for you so you can make sure the roofing material looks great and is functioning well.
Depending on the type of metal roof you have will determine how often you have to clean it, and Colorbond roofing is one of the easiest and most convienient to clean. Algae is one of the major causes of dark or black patches on your roof, especially if you haven’t been maintaining your roof cleaning schedule. There are two main ways for you to get rid of algae on your metal roof.
You can efficiently clean your roof with chemicals that are made to clean all types of roofing material. Chlorine and sodium solutions are the most common cleaning agents used for Colorbond roofing sheets.
Pressure washing is used to wash to rid algae off metal and tile roofs. You can easily rent a pressure washer from any equipment shop or store in the Sutherland Shire or Sydney region. Alternatively, you can purchase a pressure washer if you would like to have one at your convenience. However, these methods for algae removal may not be as thorough as hoped. This is why it can be beneficial to hire a professional team to manage the job for you, especially if you’re not accustomed to cleaning your roof.
The correct way to pressure clean your roof is to make your way from the top, moving down to reduce splashing too much water on the metal sheets. It’s also most beneficial to start with a small area and keep the wand about 30cm from the roof. Don’t use high pressure straight away; medium pressure is usually best. Lower the wand of the pressure washer slowly until you notice the mould lifting from the steel roof surface. Inspecting the metal roof during cleaning process can increase the chances that all the mould or algae is removed.
Algae is slippery, therefore it’s important to stand in a dry area when you’re cleaning. As you move down the roof, make sure you stand on the areas that have already been cleaned to avoid injury.
Best Products for Clean Colorbond Roof Procedures
Plain water is usually the most common cleaning agent for roofing. Dust, dirt and other elements that aren’t abrasive will generally wash off a roof easily if you simply hose the roof down. You can use as much water as you need until the metal roof is clean.
Detergents such as laundry detergent, mild dish soap, or car washing soap can also be used to get rid of stains that are a bit more difficult to remove. You could also use industrial or commercial detergents that can be used with hot or cold water to ensure your roof is clean. It’s usually better to mix the detergent into the water and use a washcloth or sponge to administer the solution to the roof. Let the mixture sit for around 10 minutes. You can then rinse the roof thoroughly with water.
Petroleum and Non-Petroleum Solvents
Solvents are also an option to eliminate stubborn non-water elements that could come into contact with your coated Colorbond roof. These elements can include tar, graffiti, grease oil, or paint. You will need to administer a solvent to clean only the parts of your roof that are stained – don’t use solvents to clean the whole roof. Make sure you read the instructions on all cleaning products before you start the cleansing process.
Solvents that are safe to use on your Colorbond roof include rubbing alcohol, mineral spirits, and VM&P Naphtha.
If you do have to use these solvents always wear protective clothing and goggles. Make sure that the area is well ventilated since most of these solvents are toxic if inhaled. Always keep all of these solvents away from open flames or sparks as well, since they usually are flammable.
If used incorrectly solvent based cleaning products are dangerous and can cause unwanted staining and even cause further damage to your roof.
Getting Rid of Mildew, Mould, and Algae
If you are located in a humid climate and have a Colorbond metal roof that is heavily shaded, you may have mould, mildew, or algae developing on the surface. Luckily, this is easy to remove, especially if caught early.
Remember that it’s important to remove fungus and mould from your Colorbond metal roof right away. Fungus can cause the paint to stain, which can be difficult and in some cases is impossible to fix.
To remove fungus you will need laundry detergent and bleach mixed with water. Dip a soft brush or rag in the solution and apply it only to the affected areas of the roof. Scrub the surface lightly until you can’t see any algae, mildew or mould and rinse with water.
Getting Rid of Rust
Depending on the climate you live in, your Colorbond roof could be tainted by metal particles that can then lead to rust stains on the surface. Initially, you might be thinking that your roof is prematurely corroding, but this is usually not the case. Rust stains usually mean that the roof has come in contact with uncoated steel pieces and particles, which usually lead to rust stains after a few years.
If you want to eliminate your roof of rust stains, remove the rust pieces and apply a mild abrasive detergent on a gentle cleaning pad. Scrub the stain gently until it is no longer visible and rinse thoroughly. If the rust stains are severe, remove the rust pieces and dilute a cleaning solution like oxalic, citric or muriatic acid with water. You can also use a mixture of water and vinegar for cleaning. Using a washcloth, clean the affected areas and rinse as soon as the rust stain has disappeared. No matter what solution you use, never keep the solution on the roof for longer than five minutes and never allow the mixture to dry on the roof.
If the rust keeps returning, contact your contractor or a professional roofing company for assistance.
Cleaning Colorbond Roof Tips
One of the best safety precautions to follow is to adhere to the instructions on all cleaning products. Never over-concentrate any detergents or mix them with substances that are not recommended. If the instructions are not followed correctly, you may forfeit your roof warranty and you’ll have to pay out of pocket for any roofing repairs. Cleaning with the wrong concentration of cleaning solution can also lead to more rust and corrosion.
Materials and Cleaning Products to Avoid
The following cleaning solutions you should never be used for cleaning Colorbond roof materials:
Unregulated high-pressure washers
Paint removers or thinners
Use Touch-Up Paint
If you see small imperfections on your roof, you can use touch-up paint for small areas. This type of paint is perfect for a scratch or blemish, for example, if you see damage from a small branch hitting the roof during inclement weather. Before you apply the paint, make sure to follow the directions and thoroughly read the product data sheet from the paint manufacturer.
There are a variety products available on the market, Dulux is one of them. Keep in mind this is only a good solution for small touch-ups. Also remember, when applying new paint over an aged roof there will always be a variance in colour. For a whole roof to be painted, a professional spray on product such as Dulux AcraTex® will be needed.
Be Prepared for Repainting
Sometimes, a Colorbond roof is past the point of a small repair and will need a Roof Restoration. If you missed maintenance cleaning for too long, or if mildew, lichen, and algae have embedded their roots in too far, you may need to re-paint your Colorbond roof.
Metal Deck are based in Kirrawee and have installed and supplied metal roofing materials to the Sutherland Shire and Greater Sydney region for years. You can trust our expertise to help you find the best product that your home or business requires.
If you’ve got any questions don’t hesitate to give us a call!