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Archive for the ‘Power washing’ Category

Take the pressure of off your composition roof!

May 27, 2016

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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.

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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?


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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!

The new year–and a renewed mission

January 2, 2014

logoIMG_20130926_102622It’s the new year already! We wish you and your loved ones a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2014.

In 2013, Northwest Roof Maintenance served more customers than in any other year in our history. We realized dramatic growth by dutifully living up to our mission statement: “To provide the most outstanding roof maintenance service every day.” Our friendly and knowledgeable technicians are ready to serve you–for emergency leak repair, concrete tile power washing, gutter cleaning, skylight replacement, and much more. Regular care and maintenance adds years to the life of your roof, so be sure to call us for a free, no-obligation roof inspection.

We offer excellent value. Our warranty, service, and knowledge are second to none and add up to long-term savings. You’ll experience true peace of mind knowing that your roof is in the experienced hands of professionals who stand behind their work and do it right the first time.

Pounding a nail with a sledgehammer? Why power washing your roof may be disastrous!

September 10, 2013

A composition roof that has been power washed.

A composition roof that has been power washed.

 

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Power washers are versatile tools that are useful for many types of applications. They can nicely brighten up concrete surfaces, remove grime and algae from some types of siding, and also clean some types of roofs. But here’s a caveat: power washers are not ideal for all jobs. I’ve lost count of the number of roofs that I’ve seen that were power washed when they definitely should not have been.

This week, I inspected a 3-tab composition shingle roof that’s about 20 years old and nearing the end of its life expectancy. Unfortunately, this roof had been power washed a few times over the years and it clearly caused great harm. Because of this negligent roof care, I needed to recommend a number of repairs.

Power washing a composition shingle roof is almost always detrimental to its life. If you stay far enough away from the roof, you likely will not remove the moss and grime you want removed. If you get close enough to remove the moss and grime, then you are most likely removing the granular coating that gives the roof its color and maintains the integrity of the roof. Our recommendation is a manual brush off that has much less impact on the life of the shingles. Call us for a free estimate.