Cleaning the valley of a metal roof

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swimmer_spe

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I need to get rid of the build up of leaves and other things that have built up in the valley of my low sloped metal roof. It is easy enough for me to get up on it. I would use a leaf blower and a broom if needed. As odd as this may sound, but when is a good time to go up on the roof so that it is not slippery from dew or other moisture. I know wait after a rainfall, but as it is not an asphalt roof with the sand on it to provide good traction.
 

Eddie_T

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Mine is 4 in 12 and last time I was on it my feet were slipping a bit so I have decided not to go up again. It might be OK with the right shoes but I think I might rig up a PVC attachment for a garden hose to flush the valleys.
 

bud16415

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Mine is 11/12 pitch and the Amish guy that put it on told me I was to never get on it again. Even a slighter pitch can be rough. I had a metal shingle roof on my old house when I bought it and I decided it was in bad shape and needed painted. I would go out first thing in the morning and it would be damp and slippery so I would wait and as soon as it seemed dry I would get on it and 30 minutes later it was so hot I couldn’t sit on to work. I got the job done and a couple years later had it ripped off and shingled.

I’m with Eddie T if you can rig a long handle like we use here for snow removal and a brush or something that would be safer. Otherwise do like I did and get out early and wait for the roof to dry off.

The guy that did mine had special shoes he would wear that were a sticky rubber sole and he told me you can get them with magnets in them as well. Not sure if that was Amish humor or not.
 

oldognewtrick

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If you have a rope long enough, throw it over the ridge and tie it to something stationary, not a car bumper. Find an old couch alongside the road and grab a seat cushion, the foam is an excellent thing to move around on and protects against heat that Bud described.
 

Flyover

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I've wondered about this. I sort of daydream about metal roofs, because I really like the longevity, but I also am aware of some of these complications when it comes to doing work up there. (Hopefully don't need to repair the roof itself, as that defeats the purpose!) Would it be hard to install a kind of low metal railing, or even a series of i-bolts or something, along the ridgeline to which you could attach a harness and tether (fall arrest system)? If not, why don't people do this?
 

zannej

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I actually have experience with this. Best to go up when the roof is dry for multiple reasons: One is that it is less slippery. Two is that the leaves are heavier and stick more when they are wet. May sound odd, but you know how they have those shoes you wear for walking in water with the really grippy rubber bottoms? I wore those. Similar to this but had softer-looking rubber. I can't quite find the ones I used.
1624878006306.png

I had to clean my own roof and an elderly friend's roof. I pushed the brooms (I used a regular kitchen broom and one of the more industrial ones). My late elderly friend's roof was not all that sturdy so I had to make sure I only stepped over rafters. I looked for nails and stepped on them very carefully. The key was to move slowly. I actually had to use a shovel on one part of his roof.

On my workshop roof when the slope was too steep, I stood below and reached up with the broom and pulled it down and made sure to step to the side so it wouldn't all come down on me. That part was tricky but it worked out. I did put my foot through part of the roof while putting on the roof sealant with a mop. I had to stand below the inclined part, dip the mop with the Cool Seal, and then slap the mop up as high as I could reach. Tried to do the higher parts first so I could lean against it more without getting the gunk all over me.

On my house roof I have hex-head screws securing the roofing. I used them as footholds. I made sure to hook my foot over them when walking up and down so my foot had something to grab.
 

oldognewtrick

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Safety harness attachments are usually removed because of the visual aspect of it. If swimmer_spe has a screw down application(exposed fastners) the screw heads are the best places for footing. If you're not comfortable working on the roof, hire someone, it's cheaper than the ambulance and ER bill.
 

Flyover

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Safety harness attachments are usually removed because of the visual aspect of it.
Sorry but that's dumb. (Directed at the logic of that choice, not at you, olddog.) A low railing or a few eye bolts aren't that noticeable, and if they're the difference between being able to do routine work up on the roof and having to hire someone each time then it should be a no-brainer. Otherwise what was the point of the metal roof? You'd save money just getting a traditional roof that you replace every 15 years.

The stuff people do over looks....it rarely makes any sense to me.
 

bud16415

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Years ago I took a solid ladder and made two hooks to go over the peak. You still might want to add a safety line to the ladder depending on the pitch. Put some padding on the hooks and slide it up.



They sell them as an attachment for a ladder or some ladders come with them.

Do a photo search on “roof ladder hook”.
 

swimmer_spe

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Safety harness attachments are usually removed because of the visual aspect of it. If swimmer_spe has a screw down application(exposed fastners) the screw heads are the best places for footing. If you're not comfortable working on the roof, hire someone, it's cheaper than the ambulance and ER bill.
They seem to lock to each other without fasteners.
 

Eddie_T

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My metal roof is installed on battens but with concealed screws I can't tell where the battens are. If I step between battens it flexes the steel. Then there's the thought of foot traffic and/or ladders scratching and scuffing the paint. My roof is quite visible from my drive and i wouldn't want any permanent protrusions there plus the ridge cap is easy to dent.

When I had to do some chimney work I used a rope similar to a climbing rope. It was hard to get the rope over the roof. I wrapped a block of wood in a piece of towel tied to length of mason's twine and finally was able to toss it across and use the rwine to pull the rope over. I tied the rope off to a tree. If I ever try it again I think a slingshot or bow and arrow would be an easier method. The rope being no higher than the peak of the roof was at an awkward angle that got worse as I got closer to the peak.

I tried to find a retired climbing rope for yard use but climbers are a bunch of snowflakes that fear being sued if they sell a rope and someone misuses it. My son has a length that he picked up at a junk store and it has enough stretch that its handy for tree work as it can be preloaded.

I have thought that a strip of carpet to crawl up might be good but getting it into place (and moving it) would be quite a hassle. When I had asphalt shingles (and was younger) I used to walk the ridge with a leaf blower and blow the leaves off a couple of times in the fall. I tried a PVC pipe blower attachment with the end angled back toward me to clean the valleys but it was awkward and had too much pressure loss to do the job. Also the pipe length was unwieldy it would need to be telescoping.
 

zannej

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Another option is to get a very strong handheld magnet (if the roof is steel) with a handle. LOL. But that might actually slide... There's he Grabo portable electric vacuum which gives grip (it suctions on to things you want to carry or grip) but it's expensive. If you have a chimney, a rope and a swiss seat might be a good idea. It would help if you had someone on belay for you if you set it up like a rappelling setup. (And yes, I do have experience with rappelling).
 

Eddie_T

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A foam cushion. Every roofer in America has one or several.
Metal roofs shouldn't require much traffic. If I can solve the leaves in the valleys problem w/o climbing occasional chimney work would be the only other need for access. A few foam cushions to toss in spots to step on and to use for kneeling might do the trick. I could put an eyebolt in the chimney for elevated rope attachment. There is a nearby foam and fabric outlet that usually has some good prices on cutoffs.

I have a small clump of leaves in each valley right now. My roof has standing seams which look good and conceal fasteners. The seams catch leaves at the edges of the valley creating the problem. Usually it's about halfway down the valley so I think there can be a solution that doesn't require walking on the roof. My longest valleys are around 19ft.
 
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bud16415

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When I get up to pressure wash my siding my one low pitch metal roof always looks nasty and I hit it with the pressure washer with the zero tip. It will move leaves 20' away.

I have also used the pressure washer for blowing leaves on the yard, If I happen to have it hooked up.
 

AskToddMiller

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It is becoming more common to leave safety anchor points on roof, especially on steep roofs, metal roofs, and commercial roofs. I suspect that some day doing so will be required by code on all roofs of a certain pitch.
 

AskToddMiller

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Haha. We may know each other. I'm in west central Ohio ... company is Isaiah Industries. I attended Bluffton College back in the day.
 

swimmer_spe

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It is becoming more common to leave safety anchor points on roof, especially on steep roofs, metal roofs, and commercial roofs. I suspect that some day doing so will be required by code on all roofs of a certain pitch.
My roof is a low sloped roof.
 

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