Pressure Wash Roof Cleaning Compared To Soft Washing
When it comes to roof cleaning methods, there are essentially two primary approaches: pressure washing and the use of bleach-based solutions.
Soft washing: Uses low-pressure water and special cleaning agents to gently clean the roof, ideal for delicate materials.
Pressure washing: Utilizes high-pressure water to remove stubborn stains and debris, best for robust roofing materials.
Pressure washing your roof will give you instant results. Most guys who pressure wash roofs use either an oxygen-based cleaner or sodium hydroxide. Oxygen-based cleaners are the most gentle on the surrounding environment (such as your siding or foundation plantings), but they are also the least potent and require rinsing to be effective. Sodium hydroxide will effectively remove black streaks and algae. It, too, must be rinsed off to be effective.
Both of these options are less effective than bleach, which is the primary method I use for the majority of my clients. My clients tend to prefer bleach, too, because it doesn’t have to be rinsed, which means that there are considerable labor savings.
The primary component of most roof cleaning solutions is bleach, often mixed with proprietary chemicals tailored to each cleaner’s method.
The application of bleach-based solutions is a more meticulous process. One person remains on the ground to keep the roof wet, while another is on the roof to spray the cleaner and rinse away the algae. This process relies solely on a hose, without the application of pressure to the roof.
Properly applying a bleach solution requires precise control of the mixture and a methodical application process. Misapplication can lead to various issues.
Misapplied bleach can harm shrubs and trees, causing chemical burns or killing new growth. Improper ground watering can result in streaking on gutters or siding. These risks are managed diligently by professional cleaners, although occasional mishaps can occur when dealing with a high volume of roof cleanings.
Challenges of Bleach Cleaning
One drawback of bleach cleaning is that it lacks a rinsing process; it involves applying a treatment without rinsing. Consequently, the roof may appear unusual until a substantial rain clears it.
Lingering effects of bleach cleaning may include brown dead spots, white residue from the breakdown of bleach, and dead lichens and moss.
Understanding Lingering Effects
When a roof is treated with bleach, it kills organic growth, but this dead growth remains in place until washed away by rain. Bleach decomposition results in the release of salt, which can be detrimental to plants. If not correctly mixed or oversprayed, residual salt deposits may accumulate on the roof, but these usually dissipate after rain. Lichens and moss are challenging to remove, even with bleach. Although bleach kills them, it takes time for their root systems, deeply embedded in the shingles, to disintegrate and release the roof.
Choice of Cleaning Method
Many roof cleaners, including myself, prefer bleach as it is cost-effective and can maintain a two-year guarantee without concerns.
However, if immediate results are necessary and waiting for rain is not an option, a rinse process can be employed for faster outcomes.
Environmental considerations, such as the desire to protect delicate plant life, may prompt the use of a less potent cleaner. This is particularly suitable when there is a fishpond or similar concerns.
The choice between bleach-based and alternative roof cleaning methods depends on factors such as your need for immediate results, environmental concerns, and the specific requirements of your roof. Roof cleaners carefully manage bleach applications to achieve effective cleaning while minimizing any potential side effects, ensuring a balance between cleaning efficiency and safety.
Washing a roof is an essential maintenance task for homeowners and property managers, as it helps keep the roof in good condition and prolong its lifespan. A clean roof not only enhances the overall appearance of a property but also prevents the growth of harmful organisms like algae, moss, and lichen, which can cause structural damage over time.