pressure washing roofs present a world of virtually endless financial opportunity…

…especially if you are the type that can see a need and then act to create a solution.

home and business owners alike, at some point in their building’s life, will need their roof cleaned. not only for the reason of maintaining roof material integrity i.e.. (asphalt or cedar shingles) but, also for aesthetics (pleasing to the eyes).

to take advantage of this business opportunity you’ll first need to know the 6 essential supplies to pressure wash a variety of organic contaminants like algae, mold and fungi off shingles – (these are extremely destructive materials most commonly found in the form of moss and lichen).

Credit – pjfitz

1) pressure washer

a typical pressure washer found at your local equipment rental might feature the following gas powered “contractor grade” features:

  1. water pressure of 2700 – 4000 psi (pounds per square inch)
  2. water flow of 3-4 gpm (gallons per minute)
  3. 50 feet of standard pressure washer hose *i’d recommend 100 feet* for typical residential work
  4. 50 – 200 feet of garden hose to connect power washer to buildings exterior water supply
  5. standard sprayer with nozzle tips featuring a variety of degrees in which water is dispersed i.e.. (pin point to 25 degrees).

2) chemicals

common chemicals used to clean wood and asphalt shingles are sodium hydroxide or bleach.

other, more environment friendly chemicals, are now on the market. the suppliers claim these chemicals will clean a roof without any pressure washing needed; just spray-on and wait.

these new spray-on solutions also claim to be less destructive the the roofing material and surrounding building landscaping. unfortunately you may have to wait several months to see the effects. and, a second or third application might be necessary to get the results you desire.

3) fall arrest equipment

  1. 5/8 inch nylon rope (100 feet minimum)
  2. harness, either a full body or waist harness
  3. 3 foot lanyard with fall arrest
  4. carabiners

safety is a huge concern when working on a roof, especially one with a steep grade. fall arrest equipment combined with proper equipment use is an absolute must.

4) garden sprayer

garden type sprayers are used to apply chemicals to roof areas effect by stains caused by organic plant materials.

moss and lichen love asphalt. and if left long enough, will eat through asphalt shingles. not to mention, these plant materials hold excess water on roofs like a sponge. for this reason, using a garden sprayer, (hand held or backpack) is a typical means of applying a chemical that will kill these unwanted plants.

you may be able to bypass the garden sprayer if your pressure washer has a ‘chemical injector’ built-in. if so, check with the manufacture’s instructions to see what chemicals are safe for the washer and how much pressure to use when applying chemicals through the washers sprayer nozzle.

5) protective clothing and safety items

  1. rain jacket
  2. rain pants
  3. rubber boots
  4. rubber gloves
  5. ear protection
  6. safety googles
  7. particle respirator

each of these items are a no-brainer but, especially important is the ear protection, safety googles and particle respirator.

when you spray chemicals through a garden type wand, it creates a aerosol mist that can cause serious health problems when breathed!! wearing a particle respirator during this phase of your roof cleaning project is a must.

also, high frequencies from pressure washing can damage hearing as well as splash back of ceramic bits, (the colorized surface particles on asphalt shingles), can break off and damage vision.

it’s better to be safe than sorry…

…hazard is one of the reasons you get paid the big bucks in this line of work! i’d suggest a minimum of $70 per hour plus $100 a day for the rent of your power washer.

6) roof access equipment

extension ladder of the appropriate working length for the job. or you can bypass much of the fall arrest equipment and ladders by pressure washing a roof via a man-lift where access permits.

here’s a quick version of your list of essential supplies

1. pressure washer (complete with necessary hoses, sprayer and nozzle tips)

2. chemicals

3. garden sprayer (hand held or back pack type)

4. fall arrest equipment

  • 100 feet of nylon rope
  • harness (full body or waist type)
  • lanyard with fall arrest
  • carabiner

5. protective clothing and safety equipment

  • rubber gloves, boots, jacket and pants
  • safety goggles
  • ear protection
  • particle respirator

6. ladder or man-lift

and of course, let’s not forget to bring along a…

…5 gallon gas container!

one more note on safety

man-lifts can create “safer, faster access” for many different types of exterior building maintenance. to learn more about how man-lifts can improve safety in you business, click here.

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