A Guide to Roof Cleaning: Average Costs and DIY Options

Ryan Maguire

Reviewed by: Ryan Maguire

Ryan draws on 15+ years of construction and landscaping expertise to create content. He oversees landscape design, construction, remodeling and maintenance as owner of Coastal Earthworks & Construction.

If you have an older roof, chances are good that you've noticed some discoloration or staining on it. These black or dark green patches, aside from being unsightly, can in fact damage your roof by stripping it of its protective outer layer and inviting the growth of further-damaging roof lichens and moss.

Even if your roof is relatively new it is susceptible to roof algae, especially on the north side, where it receives the least amount of sunlight.

To ensure that the harm to your roof does not become more widespread and necessitate roof repair or even replacement, consider investing in a roof cleaning.

Cost to Clean a Roof with Pressure Washer

Summary: Roof Cleaning Average Costs

Expect to pay $440 on average to have a 2,000 square foot roof cleaned.

  • On average, roof cleaning pricing is $.20 to $.35 per square foot, or $20 to $35 per square (a square, in roofing terminology, is equal to 100 square feet). For an average-sized roof of 1,500 square feet (15 squares), that's a total cost of approximately $300 to $525. On a 2,500 square foot roof, expect to pay $400 to $750.
  • A 50-foot roll of zinc strips costs $25 to $50 plus the cost of installation.
  • Algae resistant roofing shingles cost around 10-20 percent more than standard asphalt shingles.

Average Roof Cleaning Prices By Location (Updated for 2023):

City or State Zip Code Average Price Paid
Massachusetts Statewide $543
Charlotte, NC 28269 $354
Los Angeles, CA 90001 $529
New York City 10001 $493
Philadelphia, PA 19019 $483
Chicago, IL 60629 $538
Houston, TX 77084 $449

Roof Cleaning Before and After

Roof Cleaning Basics

The stains on your roof are probably caused by a type of algae known as Gloeocapsa Magma. Transported through the air by spores, Gloeocapsa can grow on any type of roof in any climate, though it is more prevalent in the Gulf States and other areas with warm, humid climates.

And because asphalt shingles are the most common roofing material in America, more homeowners seek information about how to remove algae from asphalt.

While chlorine bleach solutions (consisting of one part bleach to three parts water to one part Tri-Sodium Phosphate) are often used by homeowners to address roofing discolored by algae, this approach is not without limitations.

First of all, bleach can be damaging to plant life and other parts of the building and must be applied and removed carefully.

In addition, a solution that is too strong or left to sit too long on the roof can damage the roofing material, especially asphalt shingles.

Also, cleaning algae with bleach solution is often only a temporary solution. In time, the damaging growth can return, sometimes even strong than before.

And finally, some homeowners make the mistake of rinsing off the solution with a pressure washer, which can strip asphalt of its protective granular surface.

To avoid DIY roof cleaning mistakes, consider hiring a professional. In addition to using proper techniques, professional roof cleaners can recommend biodegradable cleaners that pose no risk to the environment or your family's health.

They can also apply products such as zinc strips, which are applied near the apex of the roof and ridge caps and release a protective zinc coating during precipitation, and anti-growth sprays that will keep damaging spores from taking root in the future.

Another thing to keep in mind is that if your stained roof is nearing the end of its lifecycle and needs replacing anyways, you can install a new roof made of algae resistant shingles.


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