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How to clean your tile roof and keep it clean

How To Clean Your Tile Roof And Keep It Clean

How to clean your tile roof and keep it clean

A tile roof on any home gives an expensive and luxurious look. When the tiles are dirty and all stained, the great style becomes less attractive. Your roof is constantly exposed to the elements, so it’s natural it’s going to collect dirt over time. In Florida’s hot, humid climate, it’s common to see black, green, or blue stains dotting rooftops.

Keeping your tile roof clean is crucial to protect it against degradation and maintain its appearance for years to come.

Common Causes of Dirty Tile Roofs

Debris from Trees

The trees in your yard provide greenery which enhances your home’s beauty. They can block a great deal of wind, provide shade which helps minimize heat absorption by your roof, and help prevent soil erosion. The trees will drop leaves, needles, and twigs which will make a big mess on your roof. What’s more, small animals may use low-hanging branches to access your roof, leaving droppings and more debris.


Green, black, or blue stains on a tile roof are mostly caused by algae. Commonly mistaken as “roof mold”, algae is an aquatic bacterium. It doesn’t have leaves or roots, but a dark outer skin which acts as a shield against UV rays. It thrives in a humid environment with minimal light, which explains why the more shaded areas of the roof will be more stained.

Most cases of roof algae start with a spore being transported to your roof by wind or animals. From there, it can quickly spread if the conditions are conducive enough.


Velvety green masses of moss require a lot of moisture and shade to survive. So, its presence is a sign of excess moisture on your tile roof. Unlike algae, moss has a shallow root-like system which anchors the plant to your roof. The roots can infiltrate the roof structure underneath the tiles, causing them to crack or break.

Another effect of heavy moss growth is it can create a layer of lichen or algae growth by collecting windblown spores. It also causes water to back up underneath the tiles, exposing the roof deck to water damage.


Roof lichen is a composite organism which arises from a combination of fungus and algae in a mutualistic relationship. The alga provides photosynthesis while the fungus obtains nutrients out of the tile. Unlike pure algae or fungus, lichens require sunlight and can tolerate extended dehydration.

These plant-like organisms develop root-like tentacles which attach securely to your tiles, making them tough to remove.

The Benefits of Keeping a Clean Tile Roof

Protect the Roof Structure

Organic life forms grow well on cement and can be very damaging to your roof. They will grow on the bond joining the tiles and the roof.

Prevent Moisture Related Issues

Accumulated leaves, pine needles, soil, and organic growth will absorb moisture and keep your roof constantly wet. This adds weight to the roof and creates a channel for moisture to travel beneath your tiles, causing timber rafters to rot, threatening your roof’s structural integrity and resulting in the need for constant, high-cost repairs.

Debris and organic growth can also obstruct drainage points, discolor your roof, and cause your roof tiles to crack and split. Once your roof is compromised, other structural components of your home will be vulnerable to the elements, which will damage your home rapidly.

Improve Energy Efficiency

The buildup of moss, algae, and dirt on roof tiles can cause the attic to overheat because it covers the roof and prevents heat from finding its way out of the building. This creates an uncomfortable indoor environment and results in high utility bills for air conditioning and ventilation.

Keeping your tile roof free of debris and organic growth can help improve energy efficiency, and prevent the formation of ice dams.

Save Money on Roof Repairs and Maintenance

Keeping your tile roof clean helps prevent issues which could drastically reduce your roof’s life expectancy. What’s more, professional roof cleaning makes it easier for roof problems to be discovered or eliminated early, saving you money on unnecessary repairs or premature roof replacement.

Improve Your Home’s Curb Appeal

Whether you’re looking to sell your home or just improve its appearance, keeping your roof clean will work for you. Most buyers assume a dirty, algae stained roof may need to be replaced. With this mindset, buyers will likely factor in the cost of roof replacement when making an offer.

Roof cleaning is an excellent way to improve curb appeal and possibly increase your home’s perceived market value.

The Solutions to Cleaning a Tile Roof

Roof cleaning might seem like an easy task, but it can be time-consuming and disruptive. If you don’t have the skills and experience, better leave it to the pros.  

Cleaning a tile roof typically starts with removal of debris, algae, moss, or lichen by hand or a tool such as a trowel or a hand brush.

There are many chemical solutions available for cleaning roof tiles. Fungicides, algaecides, and moss killers can be applied to roof tile to kill any plant life and spores. However, the chemical solution should be applied after the dirt has been scraped off to ensure it soaks into the tile and gets into all the crevices and cracks where organic growth and dirt can get trapped.

Prevention Options to Keeping Your Tile Roof Healthy

It’s always better to be proactive when it comes to taking care of your tile roof. Think of preventing moss, algae, and lichens from growing on your roof as opposed to waiting to have to clean it off.

Also, it’s important to have your roof inspected, repaired, and maintained. Even if the roof is clean, you need to ensure it is regularly inspected for damages, such as broken or cracked tiles. Fixing and replacing damaged tiles will help ensure there are no cracks or holes in which debris, moss, and algae can build up.

If your neighborhood has a problem with moss, algae, or lichen, you can prevent them from affecting your roof by installing copper or zinc strips across roof tiles. When it rains, these strips produce chemicals to travel down the roof. The chemicals are poisonous to plant life, so they will prevent any organisms from growing on your roof.

Your Professional Florida Roofers

Mark Kaufman Roofing is a professional roofing company serving homeowners in North Port, Florida. We have specialized in tile roof services for years, so our expert roofers have a complete understanding of your roof and what needs to be done to keep it in tiptop shape. We can repair, maintain, clean, and coat your roof.

By working with us, you’ll have a strong contractor to give you the best possible roof and support you in the years to come! Contact us today to get started on your roofing project.

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