PVC Roof Maintenance: How to Clean Your Commercial Roofing System

pvc roof repair

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) roofing provides long-lasting durability when cared for properly. However, if smog, mold, algae, and other contaminants are allowed to accumulate on the membrane, it can lose its reflectivity and become less efficient over time. Effective maintenance can help prevent this loss of efficiency.

Although commercial PVC roofing should be professionally maintained, some maintenance tasks can be self-performed, including keeping the roof free of debris after inclement weather and thoroughly cleaning it at least once a year. 

In this article, we’ll discuss how to safely and effectively clean your PVC roof, starting first with the equipment you’ll need.

Ensure You Have the Right Equipment

A man wearing protective clothing uses a shovel to remove pooled water and accumulated leaves from a black flat PVC roof

If your PVC roof has been kept clean and well-maintained through the years or is relatively new, you will need a 5-gallon bucket, a soft sponge, lukewarm water, and a mild detergent to clean it.

Beyond mild detergent, there are other suitable cleaning agents products you can use to clean a polyvinyl chloride roof, including:

  • Petroleum Ether (BP 65°)
  • Isopropyl Alcohol
  • VM&P Naphtha
  • Methyl Alcohol
  • Butyl Alcohol
  • Ethyl Alcohol
  • Heptane
  • Hexane

You may also safely use biodegradable cleaners like Brillianize, Klear to Sea, or Simple Green. 

Lastly, you will need a soft bristle broom or shovel to remove accumulated debris and pooled water from your roof.

Follow These General Cleaning Practices

  1. Always remove debris off of the roof before cleaning it.
  2. Avoid using abrasive or alkaline cleaners because they might cloud or otherwise cause damage to the PVC.
  3. For difficult-to-reach areas, use an extension pole like those used for paint rollers. You can affix a sponge to the pole and use it to scrub areas you couldn’t otherwise reach without walking onto the roof surface.
  4. After gently sponging the roof, follow up with a cold-water rinse, then allow it to dry naturally.

Only Power Wash If Necessary

A man wearing camoflauge pants is using a pressure washer on a low setting to clean a white flat roof

While it’s possible and efficient to use a power washer to clean a PVC roof, there are some best practices to follow to prevent damage. 

First, keep your output pressure between 1500 and 2000 PSI. Pressure above 2000 PSI can gouge into the membranes, leaving them scarred, less reflective, and less efficient. 

Second, don’t use any spray tip with more than a 30-degree arc. Otherwise, you risk damaging the membrane.

Lastly, be aware of how much you angle the spray wand when using it and how close you are to the membrane. Never spray up from the ground—spray down with the pressure washer while you’re on the roof.

It’s also important to check your warranty details if your PVC roof is still under warranty. The manufacturer may have specific instructions on what to do and not to do when cleaning your roof. If the manufacturer requires you to hire a professional or use their roof cleaning services, follow those directions. Otherwise, you risk voiding your warranty. 

General Safety Tips

Doing anything on a roof is serious business. Please stay mindful of the following safety practices:

  1. Don’t walk on any surface that has cleaner applied because it’s likely to be very slippery. If you must walk on the roof to clean certain areas, be extra careful, wear shoes that grip the surface, and slowly test any area you’re about to put weight on before proceeding. 
  2. Wear a white hat and long-sleeve shirt for UV protection if it’s sunny outside.
  3. Wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from the cleaning solution.
  4. Wear dishwashing gloves to keep your hands out of the cleaner.
  5. Use a ladder spotter whenever you must climb or descend.
  6. Stand on flat, dry areas of the roof whenever possible.
  7. Wear protective clothing in case you slip or fall.

Additionally, ensure that the runoff from your roof cleaning project doesn’t negatively affect nearby plant life below, especially if using a chemical-based cleaner. Again—always check your material warranty to ensure that the manufacturer doesn’t recommend professional cleaning services, or you may void your coverage.

Summit Is Michigan’s Best Choice for Commercial PVC Roofing

PVC roof maintenance is a risky job. Most business owners find that it’s easier and safer to hire professionals. If your commercial PVC roofing system needs to be cleaned, repaired, or replaced, you can trust our experienced team at Summit Commercial Roofing for high-quality services and exceptional customer care.

We’ve served small businesses in Southeast Michigan for over 50 years, and are proud members of the National Roofing Contractors Association, the Midwest Roofing Contractors Association, and the Construction Association of Michigan. 

Please contact us today to learn more about our capabilities or to request a quote—we respond quickly and provide 48-hour turnarounds on quotes, and flexible financing options.

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Summit Commercial Roofing is proud to be an industry leader in commercial flat roofing replacement, repairs, maintenance and installations. Courtesy, integrity, and transparency are a big part of everything that we do. Are you ready to see why we’re one of the best commercial roofing companies in Southeast Michigan? Call (734) 564-0371 or fill out our online form today to request a quote on our commercial roofing services.

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