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Importance of Pressure Washing Roof Shingles

As spring kicks into high gear and outdoor projects start to take shape, dirt, mildew, moss, mold and other nasty substances can build up on all types of surfaces. Pressure washing machines make quick work of cleaning these surfaces, especially with the right type of nozzle. However, aiming a powerful pressure washer at the shingles on your roof is not advised. This is because pressure washing roof shingles can cause damage to your shingles, and even damage your home.

Damage to Shingles

The high pressure from a power washer can damage or loosen shingles, potentially leaving them exposed to the elements. It can also erode the asphalt that binds them together, and dislodge granules that protect against sun and wind erosion.

This is particularly harmful since deteriorating shingles can allow water to seep into the home’s structure, causing mold growth, wood rot, and other serious issues. The damage from pressure washing may also void the roof manufacturer’s warranty, leaving homeowners with expensive repair bills.

Pressure Washing Roof Shingles
Pressure Washing Roof Shingles

An alternative method that’s gaining popularity is soft washing, which uses detergents and low-pressure rinsing to clean shingle roofs without damaging them. The detergents penetrate all of the nooks and crannies of a roof, killing organic growth like moss, mildew, and algae. Low-pressure rinsing doesn’t remove granules, but it does keep them protected from further weather and sunlight degradation. In addition to being easier and safer on the shingles, soft washing is more effective at removing stains than other cleaning methods.

Water Infiltration

The forceful water jets of a pressure washer can break shingles and cause them to dislodge from the roof, leading to leaks in the home. It can also erode the soil underneath, damaging the structural integrity of the roof and allowing mold to grow.

Typically, shingles are made from asphalt that is coated with a layer of granules to protect the shingle from sun damage and weathering. Pressure washing strips away these granules and can significantly reduce the lifespan of your roof.

Instead of using a pressure washer to clean your roof, consider other alternatives such as a leaf blower, a garden hose with a spray nozzle, or nontoxic chemicals. Alternatively, you can hire a professional to use a soft wash system that uses low-pressure rinsing to remove dirt and debris without damaging the shingles or causing them to dislodge from the structure of your roof. This is a safer alternative that can still effectively remove moss, algae and other contaminants that hold extra moisture against your shingles and roof paper.

Voiding Manufacturer’s Warranties

Many homeowners turn to a pressure washer when they have a problem with their roof, but doing so could actually void the manufacturer’s warranty. This is because pressure washing can damage shingles and strip away their protective granules. This voids the shingle warranty and causes them to deteriorate faster.

Using a high-pressure spray can also cause the shingles to separate from one another, which can lead to water intrusion into your home. This is a major issue because it can cause wood rot, mold growth, and even deteriorate your attic insulation.

Pressure Washing Roof Shingles
Pressure Washing Roof Shingles

In addition to being dangerous, trying to balance on a ladder with a powerful pressure washer while cleaning your roof can be nearly impossible for most homeowners. Instead of attempting to pressure wash your own roof, it is best to hire a professional who specializes in roof soft washing. Soft washing uses a less damaging approach that combines environmentally friendly chemicals with a gentle water spray to kill harmful fungus and bacteria on your roof and leave a growth-inhibiting residue that prevents future fungal build-up.

Safety Concerns

A properly maintained roof is an integral part of keeping your home healthy and safe. Unfortunately, many people tend to ignore their roofs, which can cause a number of problems that affect the entire structure of the house. Unsightly moss, mildew, and algae infestations can lead to mold growth that can impact the air quality inside the house, and rotted shingles can expose your home to pests.

Asphalt-based shingles are designed with small, rough granules that help to protect the roofing material from excessive wear and tear, but the forceful action of pressure washing can actually strip these granules off the surface of the shingle. This will leave the shingle vulnerable to water leaks and rapid deterioration.

If you must use a power washer, try to apply a detergent first with a foam or soap shooter to loosen the unwanted growth so that you can rinse it clean with much less pressure. Also, be sure to work in sections and avoid walking on slippery wet surfaces.

100 Innovation Way Ste 8, Scarborough, ME 04074
(207) 250-5975

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