Are You Making These 5 Mistakes When Cleaning Your Roof?

As a homeowner, one of the most important things you need to do is take care of your roof. After all, they don’t call it, “keeping a roof over your head” for nothing. But when it comes to cleaning your roof, you might be making some critical mistakes. For example, using a pressure washer on full blast instead of soft washing a roof can wear down shingles long before their time. Here are five things you should be sure you aren’t doing.

1. Watch Your Step – Your roof can hold an enormous amount of weight when it is distributed around. But a heavy foot in the wrong place can cause cracks and strain that you want to avoid. For example, you don’t want to step on the ridges of the roof because you can damage the beams that form a critical support structure.

2. Avoid Harsh Chemicals – Your roof is made up of multiple layers. On the very bottom is the sheathing, which is usually plywood. Over that is an underlayment that forms a waterproof barrier. Over that is felt, and then finally the shingles. Harsh chemicals can seep under the shingles and erode the felt and underlayment, which can allow water to invade and damage your roof.

3. Where Are Your Ladders – You have to get up on your roof somehow. The most common way is to use a ladder. But you need to watch where you prop your ladder up. If you just lean it against the gutters or the eave, you may end up damaging the drip edge. And the drip edge is what prevents ice and water from seeping back under the edge of the roof and damaging the layers there.

4. Don’t Reroof – Sometimes when something gets dirty or damaged, the instinct is just to cover it up with a layer of good stuff. In the case of roofs and shingles, this is a bad idea. Some people will say that reroofing, or putting new shingles over existing shingles, is a good idea, but it really isn’t if you don’t clean the first layer first. That’s because the moss will continue to grow and continue to damage and weaken your roof. Keep in mind that you can only reroof once, so if you have already done it, you have to do a full replacement at that point.

5. Pressure Washing Improperly – Pressure washing can be a good thing for your roof as long as it is done correctly. One thing you should never do is use full pressure on your roof. That much pressure can erode the top surface of your shingles at a bare minimum. At worst, you can peel back or break shingles and even force water underneath the underlayment where it will attack and weaken the sheathing.

If you can manage to avoid these five mistakes, you should have an easy time with taking care of the dirt and grime that naturally accumulates over time. And remember that if you ever feel out of your depth, you should always call a professional to help.

John Lang

John Lang is a Certified Arborist, a Certified Treecare Safety Professional, and also a member of the Friendly Tree team[1], a family-owned New Jersey tree care service, dedicated to the thoughtful and careful maintenance of your trees and shrubs. Friendly Tree Service has been in business for 26 years and remains passionate about trees and nature. With a highly trained staff that treats every property as their own and state of the art equipment, Friendly Tree is on the cutting edge of the art and science of Arboriculture.

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