ny surface that encounters the outdoors is subject to dirt, dust, mildew, sun, rain, wind, and event snow.  These elements are always going to have some effect on surfaces, even at the smallest level.  To maintain a great looking property, a little steel roofing maintenance is always going to be required.

That also includes your steel building surfaces.  Dirt pickup may cause apparent discoloration of a panel’s paint when it has been exposed in some dirt-laden environments for long periods of time. In areas of strong sunlight, slight chalking may cause some change in appearance.

Steel roofing maintenance usually includes a good cleaning, which will often restore the appearance of these buildings and render repainting unnecessary. An occasional light cleaning will help maintain a good appearance and likely reduce the need to do any heavy cleaning over time.

Using Water and the right Detergent

In many cases, to simply washing the building with plain water using a hose or pressure sprayer (use low to medium pressure) would be adequate. However, when doing steel roofing maintenance, in areas where heavy dirt deposits dull the surface, a cloth or soft bristle brush and solution of water and detergent may be necessary.

If you use detergent, a good start would be 1/3 cup of laundry detergent per gallon of water may be used. This should be followed by an adequate rinse of water. Be sure to NEVER use wire brushes, abrasives, or cleaning tools.  These will damage the coating surface and cause problems in the future.

Removing Mildew during Steel Roofing Maintenance

It’s possible that mildew may occur in areas subject to high humidity, but is not normally a problem due to the high inherent mildew resistance of the baked finish that is used. To remove mildew along with the dirt, the following solution is recommended:

1/3 cup detergent (Tide® or equivalent)
2/3 cup trisodium phosphate (Solex® or equivalent)
1 quart of 5% sodium hypochlorite solution Clorox® or equivalent) 3 quarts of water

Again, be sure only to use a soft bristle brush and nothing abrasive, to prevent surface damage while conducting any annual steel roofing maintenance.

Solvents to use and not to use

Strong solvents and abrasive type cleaners should be avoided. Most organic solvents are flammable and toxic and must be handled accordingly. When using any solvent, consult maintenance professionals and label instructions for proper handling and disposal of washings. If required, a mild solvent such as mineral spirits can be used to remove caulking compounds, oil, grease, tars, wax, and similar substances. Use a cloth dampened with mineral spirits and apply only to areas that are affected. Follow up the use of this mild solvent with a standard detergent clean and rinse.

Heavy-Duty Rust Cleaning Formula
  • 1 part cleaner
  • 5 parts water

Apply the solution with a rag and scrub the spots in wide, circular motions. Once the rust eats away to reveal the smooth, metal roof, rinse away the acidic cleanser with fresh water.

Do not let the acid linger on the metal for longer than five minutes at a time, and always wear appropriate protection when handling.

If the rust spots on the roof are minimal, there is an alternative method to treat them without bringing in a severe cleaning agent.

For spot treating challenging rust stains, use a little bit of cream of tartar and hydrogen peroxide. The cream of tartar acts as a mild scrubbing agent to help the peroxide break down the rusty exterior.  This method of steel roofing maintenance will assist you in making your roof or surface look great again.

Ingredients for a Heavy Duty Rusty Surface Cleaning
  • 3 tbsp cream of tartar
  • 3 tbsp hydrogen peroxide

To use this rust remover application, start by blending the two ingredients into a paste. Layer it over the rust spot and let it sit for at least ten minutes. Once it has had plenty of time to do its job, scrub it with a soft brush and rinse away the remaining cleaner.

How often should I clean my metal roof?

Every manufacturer has requirements on how to maintain the steel panels without voiding any warranties. So, while you should always check the manufacturer’s instructions – especially on what solvents or brushes can be used on it, a basic clean with soap and water annually is a great starting point when considering steel roofing maintenance.

This allows you to remove dirt, debris, and tree branches that have fallen throughout the year. A deeper cleaning may be necessary once every three to five years, depending on how much exposure or proximity to the elements your roof encounters during that time.

But while paying attention to your building, it’s important not to forget about protecting any nearby plants or landscaping during the process.  If you’re using solvents, be sure that any runoff will not kill nearby flowers, shrubs or plants.  A good rule of thumb would be to cover them with a tarp briefly during the steel roofing maintenance cleaning.

It’s important to take care of your investment, and with even just a minimal amount of annual steel roofing maintenance, it will go a long way when looking at the big picture.  That picture is… keeping your metal roof or siding looking great for years to come.  Contact our team today with any questions about steel panels and accessories, or steel roofing maintenance.

Contact our team today and let’s get started on your next Steel Panel Project.

Steel Roofing Maintenance
Steel Roofing Maintenance
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