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How to Clean Mud Off Your Asphalt Shingles

You might not pay attention to your roof most of the time, but once it gets dirty from moss, algae, and mud, it’s hard not to notice it.  Your roof is an important—and expensive—investment that protects your entire house, so taking care of it and making sure it’s well-maintained should be a top priority.  Muddy asphalt shingles can hinder the function of your roofing system.  The last thing you want on your docket is a full roof replacement or expensive repairs from water damage.

cleaning mud off asphalt shingles

Why Clean Off Mud?

Muddy shingles can add extra weight to your roof—weight that isn’t accounted for can put extra pressure on the roofing system, creating unevenness, damaged shingles, and bowing.  All of these things can ultimately lead to water damage, which can affect your entire home from the attic down to the home’s foundation.

Another consequence of a muddy roof that homeowners don’t often consider is the curb appeal.  Curb appeal, as elusive as it may seem, is essential to the value of your home.  For homes about to jump onto the open market, good curb appeal can mean drawing in more potential buyers.  A roof in good condition is on many potential home buyers’ checklists.  Many people don’t want the responsibility of a full roof replacement, and so keeping your current roof in tip-top shape can make or break a sale.

Methods to Clean Off Mud from Your Asphalt Shingles

Garden Hose Method

First, avoid using a pressure washer or anything that will spray with a high PSI.  Using a garden hose will put out about 70 PSI, which is safe to use on your asphalt shingles without damaging them.

Attach a sprayer wand to your garden hose and use the following solution: equal parts chlorine bleach and water (there are several solutions you can make but this is the most basic and easiest to mix).  When you use the chlorine mixture, be mindful of the surrounding landscaping.  Also be sure to follow all the roof and ladder safety when spraying down your roof.

Once you’ve hosed off your roof, allow the mixture to sit on its surface for about twenty minutes. The bleach should help dissolve most roofing stains like algae, moss, dirt, grime, and small amounts of mud (for large amounts of mud that won’t come off with 70 PSI from your garden hose, you’ll need to call a professional power washing company). Finish your job by rinsing with clean water to remove the chlorine mixture off the roof’s surface.

a man cleaning asphalt shingles with a hose

Roof Brush

Either in combination with using the garden hose, sprayer, and chlorine and water mixture method or by itself, clean the mud off of your roof with a roofing brush.  These brushes are designed to clean off roofs.  They’re long-handled and have stiff bristles that will help clear off mud, dirt, and debris off of a roof without causing damage to your shingles.  You can pick up an exterior roofing brush at your local hardware store for about $80 or online.

Use the roofing brush before you spray down your roof.  If the mud remains on the asphalt shingles after you’ve sprayed with the chlorine and water mixture, wait for the roof to dry, then use the roofing brush again to dislodge the dirt and mud.

Methods You Should Avoid

Pressure Washing

Unless you’re skilled with a pressure washer, this is a method you should avoid doing yourself.  If the mud is stubbornly stuck on the asphalt shingles and no other methods are working, then pressure washing can be extremely effective when done by the professionals.

On average, it can cost between $.50 to $.80 per square foot to pressure wash a roof with serious stains that require more time and effort to remove.  Of course, this depends on how badly the mud is packed onto your asphalt shingles and the cost of labor in your area.

What can happen if you pressure wash your roof yourself?  Well, you could very well dislodge the shingles from the roofing underlayment.  The amount of pressure a power washer jets out can seriously disrupt the placement of the asphalt shingles when aimed incorrectly.  Shingles that are uprooted can invite moisture into the vulnerable roofing system.  In turn, this can cause water damage to the underlayment as well as the structure of your home.  Water damage is expensive to resolve so pressure washing is best left to the professionals.

Scrubbing and Scraping

Never scrub or scrape your asphalt shingles.  Scrubbing and scraping is tempting when the shingles may be caked with mud, but these actions will only cause more damage to them.  By using this blunt force in trying to remove the muddy layer, you could break off, chip, damage, or dislodge a shingle, thus getting moisture underneath them.  You may not notice the damage right away, which is even more dangerous because it can leave your roof vulnerable for an extended period of time.  Attacking your asphalt shingles by vigorous scrubbing and scraping will also shorten their intended lifespan, forcing you to replace them much earlier than intended.

Replacing your roof can be an expensive upgrade to your home. Let us help you in making that decision. At Feldco, we provide a breakthrough design and triple layer protection to keep your roof healthy for what mother nature decides to throw at it.  For a roof replacement, our installers are factory trained, experienced, and professional to get the job done right. Speak to a product specialist and get a free quote today.

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