Cleaning the conservatory roof

Our conservatory roof is made of lovely slightly blue tinted glass that is alleged to be ‘self cleaning’ which is partly true as there has been no build-up of algae. It has not needed any attention since 2016 when it was built to replace the wooden framed version that we had before.

But four years on some debris had accumulated and a general clean was becoming more urgent, or at least more desirable.

Luckily the roof is relatively accessible both from above and below, as long as there are the right tools: a ‘long-handled gurnet’ or ‘dolphin-scraper’* and a hose.

*These names originated in our family from Patrick’s father. During his time in the Marines the sailors cleaned the sides of the ship with long handled brushes/scrapers and these were the names they used!

The long-handled gurnet before assembly

Fully labelled in case there’s somone out there who thinks this is just an old broom and a broom handle that happen to have got tied together!

And here is the ‘extending’ technique.

Perhaps the most skilled part of this job is carrying the dolphin-scraper upstairs so it can be used to attack the top part of the conservatory roof through the open bedroom windows.

This photo doesn’t show the full extent of debris mainly because of the strong reflection.

Here the dolphin-scraper is in use – slightly wobbly so maybe gaffer tape would have been better than string to tie the two parts together.

Below you can see some of the moss, leaves, twigs and clematis fluff that I loosened and removed with the dolphin-scraper.

And here is the debris viewed from inside the conservatory, once it had slid down the roof. It is easier to see what still needs to be cleaned from under the glass.

The next stage – hosing down the roof from a step ladder below. This is relatively easy, and fun. It involves a fairly fast jet of water, and the dolphin-scraper to make sure all the grime is well washed off.

But it has a down side – the gutter along the edge of the conservatory roof……

It regularly fills with dead leaves and needs cleaning out – best done by hand, then the debris goes in the green bin. It feeds a water butt but once the butt is full (which happens fast when the hose is going strong) for some reason the water just fills the gutter. There is a wet and mucky job to do here, emptying the water butt, dismembering the pipework and checking what is stopping the water from going down into the soakaway, then putting it all back together again….. That will be for another day.

So, as I sprayed water on the roof the gutter filled and water started shooting over the edge. I set up a syphon with a spare length of hose long enough to go comfortably from the gutter down to the ground to drain the water out of the gutter at a fast enough rate – a more comfortable option for me as it reduced the risk of water pouring over the edge of the gutter and reaching me as I stood on the step ladder holding the hose!

This next picture is after the job was finished. It shows the part of the roof which had the largest amount of debris. It’s not perfectly cleaned, but greatly improved.

2 replies on “Cleaning the conservatory roof”

I recently got the urge to clean our greenhouse roof, which had acquired quite a lot of green stuff over the years. Going by the photos, I think our greenhouse is slightly smaller than yours, but it lives on a higher level than the patio. It occurred to me that I could use the extending car wash brush that I got from Costco many years ago, when we first bought a people carrier – owing to my small stature (!) I couldn’t really see the roof, never mind reach it with the traditional sponge. Anyway, said brush made short work of cleaning the greenhouse, but I had exactly the same problem with the gutters and water butt …
Keep up the excellent posts, they are most informative and entertaining!


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