Recently while perusing the net on a recent search for information I came across an interesting site by a nationally syndicated columnist who has a very relevant home improvement site. I’m not sure if I should name it here, but the site came up near the top of the rankings for my query. I then googled a roof cleaning question and the site came up again at the top of the results. Although the site looks very helpful for tons of DIY projects and such, I was a bit shocked at what the site recommended for roof cleaning. As you know, we have been washing roofs for years in the Grand Rapids, MI area, which includes the towns of Ada, Cascade, Forest Hills, Rockford, Belmont and Caledonia, Michigan.
We also do power washing of houses and decks to remove mold and mildew from siding and wood etc. Since the algae line is just reaching us here in Michigan for roofs, we have done a lot more pressure washing of siding and wood, but the roofs with the black stains and streaks are getting worse and worse year by year. Of course, we have done a lot of roofs, but WE NEVER USE A PRESSURE WASHER FOR THE ROOFs! It voids the warranty and ruins the integrity of the shingle by removing granules at the least and can lift or tear shingles and inject water underneath at the worst.
And guess what? That is exactly what this home improvement site was advocating. Granted, the site was cautionary and advised a test first. And this gentleman admitted that it was his very own roof and that it was near the end of its life anyway, so if he ruined it, he would just replace it. But most roofs with black streaks and stains aren’t this old and have much more to lose by using a power washer on it. Have you ever cleaned out your gutters and noticed all the stone granules strewn all over? And this is just from natural erosion from the wind and rain. Imagine how many granules you would take off with a power washer. Not smart.
Ada Mobile Wash only cleans roofs the correct way, and that is without pressure. It’s what the shingle manufacturers mandate and it’s what the Roofing Association recommends. It is known as non-pressure roof cleaning, no-pressure roof washing, soft washing, chemical cleaning etc. True professionals all across the country clean roofs this way, and the job is done more thoroughly and stays cleaner longer when done in this manner to remove the black stains, all without using any pressure.
Now, we have some pretty steep roofs in Michigan. Most modern houses here I would say have too steep of a pitch to walk on safely. To try to pressure wash a roof like this would be extremely dangerous. Yet I’ve seen pictures online of people trying it. I’ve also read stories of people falling off and killing themselves. Luckily, with the non-pressure roof cleaning method, we don’t need to walk that steep roof. We have specialized pumps that deliver our cleaning chemicals all the way to the peak of even the highest roofs. And Ada Mobile Wash does this safely from the ground or a properly placed ladder.
The ironic thing about that DIY site is that the guy is adamant against power washing a wood deck with a pressure washer yet advocates it for cleaning a roof! Does it not seem rather obvious that a shingle with limestone granules stuck to it using adhesive would be a lot more delicate and a lot more prone to damage than a wood deck? Ada Mobile Wash has pressure washed hundreds of wood decks over the years without any damage. Professionals all over these forums do the same. To say that pressure washing a deck will ruin it is just incorrect. Have I seen decks ruined by a power washer? Yes, but in EVERY case it was done by the homeowner. They rent a 3000 psi unit, put a zero degree nozzle in and place it 2 inches from the wood. To really make a wonderful design, they wash sideways across the wood, against the grain in short little back and forth strokes. Talk about raising the grain.
Unfortunately, as the years have gone by and the prices of pressure washing pumps have come way down, they have gotten into the hands of more and more people that want to try it and don’t know what they are doing. When Ada Mobile Wash purchased it’s first house washing pump years ago, the pump alone cost three times what most complete power washing units on the market today can be had for. Now every painter, college kid, co-worker, brother-in-law, neighbor and Tom, Dick and Harry has access to one. In my humble opinion, this is the reason for the increased reports of damage and overall apprehension in certain circles for using pressure on wood.
Thank goodness God gave us two innate traits when we were born. The fear of loud noises and the fear of FALLING. Otherwise, perhaps we would see all those homeowners crawling around on their rooftops trying to clean them? I can hear the wailing of the ambulances now.
Ada Mobile Wash in Grand Rapids, MI uses safe and effective non-pressure roof cleaning techniques to remove those ugly black streaks and stains.