How to Remove Debris From Your Roof

While we all appreciate having a roof over our heads, we often take it for granted. Your roof needs some attention from you now and then. That’s the best way to extend the life of the roof and protect everything under it. One of the most important maintenance routines for your roof is the removal of debris. Most people think about this if a major storm or event throws some large objects up there, but small debris can also be an issue.

You want to stay on top of it, and these steps will show you how.

Safety First

Debris comes in different shapes, sizes, and weights. If you are comfortable on your roof, you can remove light debris. As long as you keep safety in mind, you’ll be fine. If you aren’t comfortable, you can let professionals do the job for you. That’s much safer.

Likewise, if the debris is heavy, it might be necessary to use specialized equipment in order to safely remove it from the roof. Fighting with heavy objects on top of a roof is a recipe for disaster.

Also, heavy debris can harm your roof. If it’s too heavy to lift, dragging it across the surface of the roof can scrape and otherwise damage tiles, shingles, and other roofing materials. So there’s an easy rule to follow. If you can’t easily lift the debris, then it’s too heavy to safely drag. It’s time to get help with the problem.

Removing Light Debris

You can’t exactly use a scale to weigh debris and determine what is heavy and light, but the rule mentioned above is reliable. If you can pick it up with one hand, you can consider it light debris. It shouldn’t weigh enough to cause damage if you can brush it off.

Speaking of brushes, there are three primary ways to safely remove light debris. The first is with a leaf blower, and it’s the best option when viable. A leaf blower is extremely gentle with your roofing material. It can clear away most small objects that get stuck on your roof, and it works quickly and easily.

When you can’t use a leaf blower, a broom or brush can work, but you want to be careful. Big brooms can dislodge roofing tiles. Smaller brooms and brushes are safer, so think about how your brush will interact with the roofing material before you put it to use. Additionally, extremely stiff bristles (especially wire brushes) will damage the roofing material. Stick with soft brushes and brooms.

The third option is to use a hose. It’s the worst of the three options, but it still works more often than not. The issue with a hose is that it adds water to the equation. If the debris damaged the roof, the water from your hose might be penetrating the outer layer and getting into the substrate or the attic. That’s not ideal. But a hose with no pressure can help you clear a lot of debris — especially the dirt that piles up over time.

Never pressure wash your roof. That will often do more damage than the debris.

Removing Heavy Debris

When we remove heavy debris for you, we will do a few things. In some cases, we can team lift the debris and safely carry it free of the roof. If it’s too heavy for that, we will use other equipment, such as a crane. With the right tools, we can still safely lift the debris clear of your roof.

Heavy debris is always assessed on a case-by-case scenario so we can find a solution that will protect the roof as much as possible.

Inspecting the Roof

After the debris is removed, the roof needs a good inspection. Leaves and dirt can hide damage that leads to leaks and other problems. When the roof is clean, you can see more clearly.

It’s also common for algae and fungi to take a foothold in the midst of debris. After it is cleared, the algae can remain, so a good algae treatment is important (especially in gutters) when this problem is present.

Keeping up With Debris

The final step is really about consistency. Debris should be cleared on a regular basis. When you let even small branches sit, they can become a breeding ground for termites and other pests. As debris piles up, it can dam the flow of water and lead to pooling or ponding. Most roofs are not designed to deal with this issue, and the ponding water can quickly compromise your roof. Anytime you need professional help with your roof, Alpine Roofing Construction is here to help. We can clear debris, inspect your roof, and repair it as necessary. We also do roof replacements when the time comes. Contact us today, and we’ll make sure your roof is in great shape.

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