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Your Metal Roof Maintenance Guide

Here’s the down-and-dirty scoop on cleaning and maintaining a metal roof.

Written by Dan Mitchell

A metal roof suits a log home like a top hat suits a magician. But there’s no hocus pocus when it comes to keeping a metal roof in pristine condition. Like any roofing material (or any part of a home, for that matter) metal roofs benefit from regular cleaning and maintenance. Not only can dirt and debris collect on them, causing them to lose their luster, algae and moss can take hold, potentially damaging their factory-applied protective coating.

Fortunately for log home owners with a brand-new metal roof, you can keep the metal gleaming with a simple, light washing with a water hose twice a year (once in late spring to wash away the pollen and again in late fall to remove fallen leaves, acorns and other debris).

If your metal roof has been a bit neglected or shows signs of algae/moss/mold growth, don’t stress. You can take care of it — but be sure you do it the right way with the proper tools and cleansing agents.

See also Spring and Fall Log Home Roof Maintenance

Using a power washer (but not on the highest setting so you don’t degrade the clear coat) and a solution of 1/2 cup of a trisodium phosphate solution for every gallon of water, thoroughly clean the roof. If the algae/moss is still not completely removed, you may want to invest in having a pro come out and clean it with a solution and scrub brush (I don’t recommend homeowners get up on the roof – it’s too dangerous). Once the roof is completely clean and growth-free, you should be able to keep new growth at bay with a regular power-washing schedule using an appropriate solution.

Don’t fall into the mindset that “bleach kills everything.” This is a rookie mistake. Bleach or another caustic/acid solution is corrosive and can actually damage the protective clear coat on the roof. This causes the finish to become porous and allow algae, mold or moss a have toehold to attach itself and it could grow back even worse than it was before. Once the clear coat is gone, it’s gone. Clear coat can’t be effectively reapplied by a subcontractor. It needs to be professionally bonded to the metal at the roofing manufacturing plant.

The best way to think of it is like a car: The metal is painted and clear-coated in the factory. If you leave it to the sun and the elements without regular washing, the clear coat will start to break down, peel and allow destructive agents to get to the metal. It’s the same for metal roofs. That’s why keeping it clean from the start will go a long way to preserving its beauty and performance for the long haul. 

See also Choosing A Log Cabin Roof

 To minimize maintenance, keep your metal roof free from debris and give it a light power-washing twice per year.

Metal Roofing Save Costs

Metal roofing (in both light and dark colors) reflects heat effectively, reducing cooling loads in the summer and insulating homes in the winter. This can help to lower energy bills. Plus, if you choose an ENERGY STAR-labeled metal roofing system, you could qualify for a $500 tax credit. More savings!

Metal Roof Options

Metal roofing comes in a wide variety of styles as well as colors. Here are a few log home faves:

About our author
Dan Mitchell owns Eagle CDI in Tennessee and has built close to 100 log homes in his 30-year career. He served as the 2017 President of the Greater Knoxville HBA.

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