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Archive for May, 2016

Take the pressure of off your composition roof!

May 27, 2016

cropped-Custom-Roof-Repair

In America the most common type of roofing material is composition. With three main composition roof types – 3-tab, architectural, and presidential – composition roofs offer a variety of options in price, quality, and looks for the homeowner. In being the most common roofing material, it makes sense that many roof maintenance questions we receive have to do with how to properly maintain a composition roof. One of the most common questions we are asked, and what I want to address in the post, is “should I pressure wash my composition roof?”

 

In short, no, you should never pressure wash your composition roof.

 

Now I’ll give you some detail. Composition shingles are made of a fiberglass reinforcing mat in the center, with asphalt and fiberglass granules coating it. Any sort of exposure to the elements can cause wear and tear to this material. Wind can loosen granules from the shingles and loosen shingles from the roof. Rain can wash away granules, causing thinning of the roofing material. Extreme sun can melt and wear the asphalt and fiberglass materials. This is why roofs only last so long, because they are inevitably exposed to things every single day that wear them out. It’s the purpose of a roof, to take that wear so that the decking material underneath, the attic, and the interior of our homes don’t have to take that wear.

Low_Pressure_Roof_Washing

This being said, it begs the question of “if my roof is already exposed to the elements, why would pressure washing be any worse?” Well, it’s like a child, just because you can’t keep them from being exposed to every
germ it doesn’t mean you will intentionally take them to visit the infectious disease ward at the hospital. Rather you wouldn’t expose your child to unnecessary illness. Just because your roof is exposed to the elements doesn’t mean you should intentionally cause additional wear and tear to the roof. Pressure washing inflicts a higher volume of water to the roof at a proximity that guarantees it is harder impact than normal rain water. This high impact of water can loosen and wear out granules, it can force little pieces of moss up under shingles keeping them from working properly and allowing rainwater to penetrate underneath and leak into the home. It can also loosen the shingles themselves making them more vulnerable to wind. All of this can shorten the life of the roof significantly.

 

Not only can it shorten the life of your roof, but when you do find yourself needing repair or replacement, you will find that having pressure washed your roof makes many warranties void and is an out for many insurance companies. Where as a hand brush off, while still not “natural” wear and tear, if done right, does not put unneeded stress on the shingles. It also loosens the moss without loosening the granules. It removes the surface moss, not the dirt.

 

So, if this is true, why do some companies still offer pressure washing of composition roofs? That is a good question. The most common answer I found was “If the homeowner wants it and will pay for it, why wouldn’t we offer it.” Unfortunately this careless, even selfish, attitude is a common one found out there. Other reasons for pressure washing compositions roofs varied. Some companies approached it from a “it will look cleaner” angle, operating under the idea that a pressure wash will remove more grime and dirt from the roof leaving it looking better than just a brush off. There is some validity to this, a brush off isn’t going to remove every layer of built up dirt on the roof, but it’s also not going to remove layers of shingle granules. So the choice is yours, a “cleaner” roof or a roof that does it’s job and lasts long enough to be worth your investment?


removing-moss-on-roofs

The last issue I want to address is why clean your roof at all, if brush offs won’t make it squeaky clean and a pressure wash will damage the roof, why even bother spending money on cleaning the roof? I mean you can learn to like the look of moss right? Well, you might learn to like the look, but I can tell you that your roof won’t like it! Moss can be extremely damaging to the roof if left unaddressed. For more detail check out our blog about spring cleaning your roof. To summarize for you though, moss can deteriorate shingles and cause leaks. It’s not something to be ignored. Removing the moss from your roof is a key part to keeping it effective. The great thing is that once you get the moss cleaned off, if you stay on top of less invasive upkeep, like treatment as soon as there are traces of moss, you can maintain your roof in a way that’s truly best for your roof!