Pressure Wash Roof Shingles?

never use a pressure washer on your roof shinglesWhy You Should Never Pressure Wash Your Roof Shingles

You come home one day and your neighbor’s roof looks spectacular and so clean! It can’t be a new roof because roofers haven’t been there. So what is it? The neighbor had their roof pressure washed. Now you’re thinking of having your roof “cleaned” too. After all, his roof looks brand new, and well…yours doesn’t.

Stop right there. Your neighbor just made a huge mistake. Never, ever under any circumstances pressure wash your roof shingles on your own or pay a company to do so. Sure, it’s tempting to want to get any moss, algae, dirt, etc. off of your roofing shingles. But pressure washing your asphalt roof will do more harm than good. Yes, it will make it look sparkling clean, but also you’ll end up replacing the roof system sooner rather than later.

The damage caused by pressure washing is not immediately noticeable. Pressure washing strips the granules from asphalt shingles. Therefore it strips away years of your roof’s lifespan. These granules are what enable your roof to protect your home from the elements, like rain, wind and sun.

A 15-year-old roof has fewer granules to spare than a newer roof does. Older roofs are usually the ones that look like they could benefit most from a “good cleaning.” But keep in mind pressure washing an older roof is sending it to its grave all that much sooner.

Some roofing companies claim to use a low-pressure wash with a special tip to clean roofing shingles. But even low pressure can damage shingles. If you must clean your roof, what’s the alternative to power washing roofing shingles?

Here are some options, and both are bad ideas…

  1. Climb a ladder and clean your roofing shingles with a broom or scraper. Safety comes first and this is not a safe way to go. Your roof is the most dangerous area around your house. You’re dealing with heights and water, plus possibly slick moss and algae. No pun intended, but it’s a slippery slope to walk, much less clean.
  2. Wash the roofing shingles with a hose from the ground. Roofs are meant to withstand water falling from above, not shooting up from below. Spraying with a hose or pressure washing from ground level forces water up underneath the shingles and/or decking, which can lift the roofing materials and create leaks and deck rot.

The safest and smartest way is to contact a qualified roofer to assess the situation and offer some suggestions that will give you the results you want without any of the negative ramifications.

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