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Roof Washing: An Introduction

Roof washing an introduction

While pressure washing has a wide array of things that you’ll be called upon to clean, perhaps one of the most technical is cleaning roofs. However, with roof washing being on the more technical side of things, it can be an excellent service for a company to offer. Let’s take a look at roof washing and how it can help your pressure washing business.

Is Roof Cleaning Profitable?

Roof cleaning is an extremely profitable service. In fact, there are pressure washing companies that primarily specialize in roof cleaning because of this. The one drawback is that roof cleaning has a little bit more risk than other types because you aren’t always working on the ground. However, roof cleaning is perfectly safe if you are well-trained and take the appropriate safety precautions.

When you think about dollars and cents, it is easy to see why roof washing is a profitable service. After all, your only expenses are your basic equipment costs (chemical pump, chemicals, and pressure washer), any staff you hire, and a ladder (although quite a few roofs can be cleaned from the ground). Thus, this service has a very high profit margin and is certainly a worthy investment of your time.

How Do You Pressure Wash a Three-Story House

Washing a three-story house may seem like a difficult endeavor but can actually be accomplished fairly easily with the appropriate training and equipment. In fact, with quality pressure washing equipment, you can wash the entire home from the ground as the top pressure washers can clean up to four stories high.

Obviously, one of the most important things to do is to ensure that you are using the correct pressure for the type of material you are cleaning. You’ll also want to take the correct safety precautions such as covering any exterior electrical outlets. Also, while you may use a ladder to get on top of a roof, you never want to pressure wash while standing on a ladder due to recoil.

Once you’ve mixed your chemicals, you can begin spraying the home. You want to start at the top story and spray a six-to-ten-foot section at a time. Depending upon your setup, you may be spraying the cleaning agent on and letting it set or you may be using a siding brush to apply it.

Once you’ve applied the cleaning solution and let it set for the time indicated in the directions, it is time to pressure wash. Work to establish the best distance to stand from the home. Once you’ve determined this, begin at the very top of a scrubbed section and use the pressure washer to rinse off the cleaning solution, taking dirt and grime with it.

You will repeat this for each section. For a three-story house, you will likely clean it in three sections, beginning with the third story and working your way down. When it comes to the roof, you will want to assess whether or not you can clean it from the ground or if you need to get on top of the house, which will influence your tactics.

What Does Soft Washing a Roof Mean?

The difference between soft washing and pressure washing lies in, well, the pressure. Pressure washing uses a higher level of pressure whereas soft washing uses a low-pressure washing technique that allows for using chemicals such as bleach, algaecides, or other substances.

Soft washing uses biodegradable substances that kill bacteria, mold, mildew, and other substances. Soft washing is a technique that is best used on surfaces that are cleaned infrequently or extremely difficult to get clean. Thus, a roof is a perfect surface for soft washing.

Algae is common on roofs and can discolor shingles. Over time, it makes a roof more susceptible to damage from the sun and will eventually cause shingles to rot. In fact, the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association states that roofs should be cleaned with a low-pressure detergent solution in order to protect shingles. Additionally, pressure washing a roof will typically void any warranty on the roof, so soft washing is always the way to go.

When you soft wash a roof, you will typically use a higher ratio of solution to water than with other surfaces. Once your solution is mixed, you will gently apply it to the entire roof. Once this is done, you let the solution sit, which ensures that it can penetrate and kill all algae. This is different than siding where you always rinse a solution off. Thus, many roofs can be treated from the ground without having to climb atop them.

Is Soft Washing Better Than Power Washing?

People often ask if soft washing is better than power washing. In reality, one is not necessarily better than the other. Instead, they each have their own purpose. As discussed earlier, soft washing is the method for roofs because it is better suited to maintain them and pressure washing a roof can damage it (and void the warranty).

However, there are also surfaces like concrete where pressure washing is the best method. The reality is that the decision to do soft washing or pressure washing depends upon your goals and the surface. Sometimes, like with siding, you may do both (soft washing to apply a cleaning solution followed by pressure washing to rinse).

How Much Does It Cost to Soft Wash a Roof?

Soft washing is typically a little more expensive than pressure washing, which makes since when you consider that additional chemicals are needed. According to Home Advisor, the average cost of soft washing a roof ranges from 20 cents per square foot to 60 cents per square foot. For a typical roof, you may end up charging between $250 to $600.

Why the wide ranges for the average? There are a number of factors that affect the cost. Geography is the primary one as soft washing a roof costs more in some areas than others. Places with a higher cost of living will have higher soft washing costs. Additionally, there are a number of other things that can influence the cost of soft washing a roof such as the difficulty of the job.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, roof washing is a very profitable business and an important skill to learn for any pressure washing professional. Providing quality service to clients will generate a lot of business for a service that has significant profit potential.


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