There are multiple reasons as to why one should not pressure-wash their roof. First and foremost, it is vital for those who own a home to know the benefits of cleaning their roofs on their own with an extension or pole instead of hiring a professional.
Pressure washing your roof can be hazardous and damaging. If done improperly, pressure washers can strip shingles off roofs and cause water damage to wood siding and gutters below. The damage that occurs from incorrectly power washing a roof often leaves homeowners wishing they had never started the job in the first place.
Types of Shingles
Before you decide to pressure wash your roof, it is vital to ensure that it is necessary before proceeding. One of the first questions to ask yourself before pressure-washing your roof is, “what type of shingles do I have?”
Many homes are now being built with different shingles that are more sensitive than others. This includes wood siding, metal, clay, and slate tiles. Any one of these materials can experience irreversible damage if pressure washers are misused.
Before Pressure Washing Your Roof – Checklist
Here is a list of things to consider before attempting to clean your roof:
- The type of shingle you currently have on your roof.
- How often does it rain in your area?
- Whether or not you own the home.
- Can you reach all areas that need cleaning?
- What is the weather like outside (i.e., wind speeds)?
- Do you have access to a water source?
- Is there already mildew or algae growing on your roof?
- Do you have wood siding underneath your roof?
If any of these things do not apply to you, then it is probably safe for you to proceed with pressure washing your roof yourself at home! If they do apply, it is vital that you check in with a licensed professional before beginning this job.
Why You Should Not Pressure Wash Your Roof
Cleaning your roof may seem like a quick and easy way to enhance its appearance. However, pressure washing is generally an ineffective and potentially unsafe roof cleaning method that should be avoided at all costs. Keep reading for some crucial reasons why you should not pressure wash your roof!
Pressure washing is one of the most popular methods homeowners use to clean their roofs. Unfortunately, it can be one of the most harmful and dangerous practices as well. If executed incorrectly, pressure washing your roof could result in:
Damage to shingles: Shingles are designed to resist water intrusion so they can last longer on the rooftop structure. When this natural barrier is compromised, the possibility of water penetration becomes much higher.
Only clean your roof with a hose or a pressure washer if you have a tile or metal roof, as straw and wood shingles are not meant to be exposed to high-pressured water.
Leaks: Water leaks can cause expensive damage inside the home, including warped hardwood flooring, peeling paint on ceilings and walls, mildew growth, raised electrical outlets that pose an electrocution hazard for pets and small children, and mold infestation that can lead to respiratory problems.
If you have tried all other means of getting rid of moss from your roof without success, then it might be time to consider replacing those shingles. As a general rule, wait until your shingles have aged 20-30 years before replacing them.
Damage to gutters: If you accidentally shoot water up under the shingles, it may cause gutter rust and permanent damage.
Damage to eaves: Improper cleaning may also prevent proper drainage of rainwater through the eaves, leading to water buildup. This can result in peeling paint or signs of mold or mildew growth around your rooflines and eave troughs. It is best to clean these areas by hand rather than with a pressure washer.
There are many other reasons why high-pressure water on roofs is an ineffective technique that should be avoided at all costs.
Alternative Ways To Clean a Roof
One alternative method to pressure washing is to use a knapsack sprayer powered by your body power rather than gasoline or electricity for convenience. It does not emit carbon dioxide into our atmosphere as much as electric and gas-powered sprayers do.
Another way to clean your roof without damaging the structure or shingles is to use a strong butyl. Ensuring that the roof is completely dry before applying will make this product much more effective and prevent mold and moss infestation in your gutters, eaves troughs, and under shingles.
A third alternative method of cleaning your roof is to hire a professional service. These companies will use high-pressure washing equipment to clean large spaces with ease while avoiding damage due to their training and experience working safely on roofs.
Cleaning Roofs With Uncommon Shingles
If you have other materials used for shingles, such as slate or stone tiles, you should avoid cleaning them altogether unless you know what they are made of. You can apply a sealant to prevent further dirt accumulation in slate, stone, or metal tiles, but pressure washers are extremely dangerous when compressed air is forced through them at high speeds.
Again, the best way to go would be to hire a professional cleaning service that has specialized training working on these types of roofs that are much more delicate than your traditional asphalt shingles.
What are the benefits of pressure washing my roof?
Cleaning your roof with a power washer is one of the most effective ways to remove caked-on dirt, grime, moss, mildew, and algae that has built up over time. However, it is essential to remember that not all shingle types can withstand the high-powered stream of water from a pressure washer. For this reason, you should consider what type of shingles make up your roof before attempting to clean it yourself at home.
Can I use an extension for my pressure washer instead of an actual ladder?
Never attempt to clean your roof without being securely fastened into a professional-quality extension pole, or else you risk falling from the height of a ladder and causing severe injury to yourself.
Pressure washing is bad for your roof, and it is bad for you as well! In addition to damaging shingles, it can cause water infiltration leading to leaks inside the home and causing permanent damage to eaves and gutters.
There are other alternative methods of cleaning roofs without using pressure washers, such as using strong butyls to eliminate moss and hiring a professional roof cleaning service who will utilize safer roof cleaning methods for the sake of your health and your wallet.
The best way to keep your roof in pristine shape is to regularly inspect it by experienced professionals who can identify issues before they become significant problems.