Roof Cleaning: Here Are The Methods & Expected Costs

Kenneth Wilson

Cleaning your roof is not only important from an aesthetic point of view; it’s actually an integral part of roof maintenance. Allowing dirt, moss, or algae to accumulate on your roof over time will affect its structure and durability and may lead to unavoidable repair costs.

We provide you with an overview of the suitability of each cleaning method before listing the associated costs of roof cleaning and various other factors that may affect how much you need to pay to clean your roof.

Most Common Roof Cleaning Methods


There are several ways that you can clean your roof, and it largely depends on the condition of your roof and what you need the cleaning job to achieve. (Related: How To Clean Solar Panels: A Step-By-Step Guide) For most homes, a soft-pressure wash should do the trick, but for others, a comprehensive moss removal and treatment job might be necessary.

Here are some of the most common roof cleaning methods before we explain the various costs associated.

Soft-Pressure Wash


A soft pressure wash is perhaps the most common roof cleaning method. It involves the use of low-pressure hoses, brushes, and cleansers. It’s a similar approach you would take to cleaning your car, just on a bigger scale.

If you’re just hoping to remove some dirt and debris from your roof, then a soft pressure wash is ideal. Most contractors use a simple soap and water solution and rely on elbow grease when they’re up on the roof.

However, if your roof has accumulated moss, algae, or other stubborn dirt that can’t be removed by a soft wash alone, you will have to opt for one of the methods listed below.

High-Pressure Wash


Although many roof cleaning companies advise against power washing a roof, it’s a viable option if your roof is particularly dirty. But the reason that it’s not advisable is that it can damage the roofing material, particularly if it’s made of shingles.

Consider the fact that high-pressure washers fire water at your roof at a rate of 1,300 – 2,800 pounds per square inch, which is considerably more than the 40 – 80 psi of a garden hose!

You might find that power washing your roof causes more harm than good and should only be an option if you’re sure that you won’t cause damage to the surface of the roof. It’s best to ask a specialist roof cleaning company for their advice before power washing your roof for this reason.

Stain Removal Cleaning


If your roof has been stained by the elements – think sand, salt, or algae – you will need to invest in additional cleaning materials and equipment to get the job done. You might need to use algaecides or other industrial cleaners to remove the stains, which requires more time and effort.

Due to the tough nature of stains, it’s always advisable to seek the help of a professional cleaning service if you’re hoping to remove stains from your roof. Not only will they select the correct treatments, but they will be willing to put in the extra graft necessary to get the job done properly.

As we explain a little later on, you will need to budget for the additional costs associated with stain removal roof cleaning.

Moss Removal Cleaning


The accumulation of moss on your roof is a big problem. It can trap heat in the summer and cause your cooling costs to soar, and it can damage the structural integrity of your roof if left untreated for too long.

Moss is also unsightly and doesn’t do anything for the overall aesthetics of your home. It will also eventually block your gutters, which in turn will cause you further repair and maintenance bills in the future.

In fairness, removing moss isn’t overly complicated and can usually be done by hand, but it’s likely to increase the cost of labor of your roof cleaning job.

Moss and Algae Treatment Cleaning


While there’s an overlap with this and the previous roof cleaning method, moss and algae treatment cleaning refers to the use of particular substances or chemicals that treat your roof and prevent them from growing back in the future.

When you’ve gone to the effort of removing moss from your roof, it’s a good idea to invest in a treatment, so you don’t have to worry about it reappearing within weeks or months.

Although this will increase the cost of roof cleaning in the short term, it will save you money in the long run and is well worth your consideration.

Roof Cleaning: Expected Costs


The cost of cleaning your roof will depend on the method that you opt for. According to Home Advisor, you can typically expect to pay anywhere between $295 - $594 to get your roof professionally cleaned. You can calculate the cost by considering the fact that it costs anywhere between $0.20 and $0.60 per square ft to clean a residential roof.

As for the specific roof cleaning methods that we introduced above, the table below highlights the typical costs associated with each method:

Roof Cleaning Method

Price Range

Soft pressure wash

$340 - $400

High pressure wash

$400 - $450

Stain removal cleaning

$440 - $500

Moss removal cleaning

$440 - $500

Moss & algae treatment cost

$500+

These prices provide you with an ideal indication of how to prepare a budget for roof cleaning, but they’re by no means exhaustive. After all, there are several factors that affect the cost of roof cleaning, as we introduce below.

Factors Affecting the Cost of Roof Cleaning


Every roof is unique, which is why it’s difficult to say definitively how much it will cost to clean your particular roof. You can use the table above as your initial guide and then consider whether the sections that follow apply to your project.

Roof Structure


The structure of your roof will influence the overall cost of cleaning it. As mentioned, the typical cost of cleaning a roof is between $0.20 and $0.60 per square ft, but you can add $0.10 - $0.20 for each additional story and will also have to increase your budget if your roof is particularly steep.

Roof Condition


When a roof cleaning firm quotes for a job, they will consider the labor costs involved with cleaning your roof. If it’s in particularly bad shape and hasn’t been cleaned for a while, you may be subject to additional labor costs. Most firms charge upwards of $80 per hour, so you will need to be prepared for extra costs if your roof requires a deep clean.

Roof Composition


The materials that make up your roof are also likely to affect the cost of cleaning it. For instance, it’s typically more expensive to clean an asphalt roof as opposed to a roof composed of metal. You will need to check with the cleaning firm if they charge a premium for cleaning the type of roof you have on your home.

Required Treatments or Coating


There are many reasons why you might consider coating or treating your roof after cleaning it. It costs approximately $1,216 to seal a roof, which may help you with waterproofing, heat reflection, or various other aspects. If you’re planning to treat or coat your roof after cleaning it, you can expect the costs of the project to soar.

DIY or Professional


In theory, you can clean your roof yourself, providing you have the right equipment. If you clean your roof yourself, there’s no reason why it should cost you any more than $50, which is a considerable saving on hiring a professional team to do it for you. But we’d only recommend cleaning your own roof if you’re confident at heights and have the necessary safety equipment in place.

The Verdict: The Best Roof Cleaning Method


In most instances, soft washing your roof should be more than sufficient to keep it looking good and free from dirt and debris. But if you need to remove some stains, moss, or algae, you will need to contact a specialist roof cleaning firm to undertake the work on your behalf, and you will probably need to treat your roof to prevent moss from regrowing in the near future.

But one thing is for sure – you should avoid pressure washing your roof, as the process can significantly damage the structural integrity of the roof, ultimately doing more harm than good in the long run.

Kenneth Wilson
November 23, 2021
Cost Guides, Roofing

Kenneth Wilson

Retired contractor. Currently residing in Southwest Florida. Now in semi-retirement, I write and manage this blog focused on helping home owners make savvy decisions when it comes to finding contractors and getting their projects done.

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