4 Important Dos And Don'ts For Pressure Washing A Roof

Over time, roofs tend to accumulate algae, lichen, and moss--substances that pose not only an aesthetic problem, but also a structural threat to your roof. To keep these organisms from weakening your roofing, it is important to clean it from time to time. Perhaps the easiest way to do this is through the use of a pressure washer. This article will outline some important dos and don'ts for pressure washing a roof.

Do put on the right shoes.

Working on a roof is a dangerous enough thing to begin with, but doubly so when it's wet. Ensuring a safe experience, therefore, means wearing the right shoes. Athletic shoes with high-traction soles work great. However, make sure that the soles aren't too worn out, or you may find yourself without adequate grip.

Don't aim your spray wand upward.

It is vital that you always direct your pressure washer downward along the surface of your roof, as going against the grain can lead to serious and costly repercussions. You see, aiming upwards allows water to penetrate beneath the bottom edge of the shingle. If the pressure is great enough--or the shingle weak enough--this can easily lead to loose, broken shingles.

Not only that, but it also allows water to get past the shingles to the vulnerable roof decking below. Wet decking can lead to leaks, fungal growth, wood rot, and more. By aiming your pressure washer downward, you can ensure that the water stays where it should--on top of your shingles, and not below them.

Do use the correct spray wand.

Pressure washers are powerful tools, and can easily end up damaging your roof if you're not careful. One way to help keep your roof intact is to utilize a wide-angle spray wand. Whereas a narrow wand will focus the water down into a more powerful blast, a wide-angle wand acts to reduce the force being exerted on any particular area. Consider using a wand with a 35-degree tip for the best results.

Don't let the wand get too close to your shingles.

Just as too narrow a wand can cause unintended damage, so can a wand held too close to the surface of your roof. Long-lived as they are, shingles are also surprisingly delicate. A pressure washer held too close will prematurely age your roof by stripping granules from the shingles, and thus exposing them to the damaging effects of hail, rain, and even UV light. To be on the safe side, always keep the tip of your spray wand at least one foot from the surface of the shingles.