7 Expert Tips On How to Clean Terracotta Roof Tiles

September 1, 2023

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how to clean terracotta roof tiles

With their beautiful terra cotta hue and Mediterranean style, terracotta roof tiles add rich character to a home. However, over time, these tiles can become stained, streaked, and covered in moss or mold. Periodically cleaning your terracotta roof helps remove grime, prevent more extensive damage, and restore the roof's original beauty and function. 

So, how to clean terracotta roof tiles? Carefully use a pressure washer, soft brush, and a gentle cleaning solution to lift dirt and debris from terracotta roof tiles without damaging their surface.

Cleaning these delicate tiles requires diligence and care to avoid breakage or removal of the protective sealant layer. Follow these 7 expert tips to properly clean and care for your terracotta roofing tiles. With the right approach and tools, you can tackle this essential maintenance task yourself and maintain the stunning aesthetic of your terracotta roof.

1. Use a Pressure Washer Carefully

A pressure washer can be an effective way to clean terracotta roof tiles and remove built-up dirt, moss, and debris. However, pressure washers can also damage the tiles if not used properly. Use a wide-spray nozzle and keep it at least 1 foot away from the tiles to avoid cracking or chipping them. Start at the top of the roof and work your way down methodically.

professional roof pressure washing

2. Choose the Right Cleaning Solution

Mixing your own cleaning solution is ideal for terracotta roofs. Make a mix of 1/3 cup powdered laundry detergent, 2/3 cup powdered household cleaner, and 1 gallon of water. The detergent will help remove grime, while the cleaner tackles moss and mildew. Avoid bleach and acidic cleaners, as these can discolor or damage the tiles.

how to clean terracotta roof tiles


3. How to Clean Terracotta Roof Tiles? Use a Soft Bristle Brush

Invest in a long-handled, soft bristle brush to scrub your roof tiles without damaging them. Apply the cleaning solution and let it sit for 5-10 minutes before scrubbing. The brush will help lift dirt from the small crevices in the tile. Be gentle and don't over-scrub to avoid removal of the tile's protective outer coating.

stiff scrub brush

4. Rinse Thoroughly

Once scrubbing is complete, rinse the tiles thoroughly to remove all cleaning solution residue. Remaining debris and chemicals can lead to mold and mildew returning more quickly. Consider using a hose sprayer attachment to aid rinsing difficult-to-reach spots. Allow the tiles to dry completely before moving to the next step.

how to clean terracotta roof tiles

5. Remove Moss and Mildew Stains

If moss and mildew stains persist after pressure washing and scrubbing, try mixing 1 part chlorine bleach to 3 parts water. Use a spray bottle to lightly apply it to stained areas and let it sit for 10 minutes before rinsing. This will help lift stubborn organic growth without damaging the terracotta.

roof algae

6. Seal and Protect

Applying a terracotta sealer after cleaning will help protect roof tiles from future buildup of dirt, moss, and weather damage. Use a long nap paint roller to apply the sealer evenly across tiles. Choose a sealer specially formulated for terracotta and cement tile roofs. Reapply new sealer every 2-3 years.

pressure washed roof


7. Safely Clean from the Ground

Cleaning a terracotta roof can be dangerous due to the height and slope. Rather than risk injury, consider using an extension pole to attach your pressure washer wand, brush, and hose nozzle. This allows you to safely clean the entire roof from the ground. Invest in stabilizers to prevent pole tipping or falls.

how long does it take to pressure wash a house

Wrapping Things Up

Cleaning terracotta roofing tiles takes time and care but is essential for protecting this expensive roofing material. Following these expert tips while using the proper tools and cleaning solutions will help lift stains, prevent damage, and restore your roof's beauty. Be sure to take necessary safety precautions when working at heights.

About Largo Pressure Washing Services

At Largo Pressure Washing Services, our customers can expect greatness. We use high-tech truck-mounted equipment that makes the exterior cleaning process safe and quick. To schedule power washing services for your home or business, please call (727) 758-2424.


What is the best way to clean terracotta roof tiles?

The best way to clean terracotta roof tiles without damaging them is to use a pressure washer on a low setting from a good distance, gently scrub with a soft brush and mild detergent mix, rinse thoroughly, and properly seal the tiles after cleaning.

Can you power wash terracotta tiles?

Yes, you can power wash terracotta tiles as long as you use a wide-spray nozzle, keep the pressure washer at least 1 foot away, and carefully work your way down the roof to avoid cracking or chipping the tiles.

What is the best cleaner for clay tile roofs?

For cleaning clay tile roofs, it's best to avoid harsh acidic or alkaline cleaners that can damage the tiles over time. The ideal homemade mixture is 1/3 cup powdered laundry detergent, 2/3 cup powdered household cleaner, and 1 gallon of water, which will gently remove grime and debris without discoloring or deteriorating the clay tiles.

How do you make old terracotta tiles look new?

To restore the look of old terracotta tiles, first, thoroughly clean the tiles with a pressure washer to remove built-up dirt and grime. Next, use a tile sealer specially formulated for terracotta to protect the tiles and give them a subtle sheen. Finally, enhance the tiles' color with terracotta paint or glaze in a matching earthy hue that will give the roof a vibrant, uniform appearance.

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