Soft Washing vs. Power Washing: What’s the Best Method for Roof Cleaning?

A dingy, dirty roof becomes an eyesore over time and can even persuade an adjuster to value your home at a lower number than it deserves. Washing your tile, asphalt, or metal roof requires some elbow grease and a thorough decision-making process - based on the roofing material and the age of the roof. A new roof can cost a homeowner a pretty penny and prolonging that investment is generally at the top of the priority list. Allowing dirt, debris, moss, mold, soot, and algae to penetrate roofing material can cause damage that leads to costly repairs.

When it comes to soft washing or power washing your roof – which is best to get optimal results without unintentionally causing damage?

First thing’s first…

What is Soft Washing ?

Soft washing is a technique used to rid your roof (and other exterior surfaces) of built-up grime that has accumulated over time. While soft washing does include a pressure washer, it is used on a much lower scale. When soft washing, a fan tip, and a gentler pressure washer grip are used to prevent overdoing it. Instead of using hot water like traditional power washing, soft washing uses a soft water rinse and, if warranted, a diluted bleach or detergent mixture to kill algae and mold spores.

What is Power Washing?  

Power washing is more aggressive than soft washing and commonly uses hot water and strong pressure to remove debris and organisms from the roof’s surface. If concerned, a good power wash could reveal any damaged roofing areas that are in need of repair while eliminating surface stains and discoloration. It ensures the most thorough clean but could damage the roof further if shingles or tiles are already suffering from a delicate state.

Which is Better: Soft Washing or Power Washing?

There are a few questions and assessments necessary for homeowners to perform before landing on a final decision as to what is best for their specific home. Consider the age of the roof, what type and level of debris and organisms are currently residing on the roof, and the roofing material itself.

Asphalt Shingle Roof

Use caution on power washing an older asphalt shingled roof as the direct, strong water pressure can eliminate growing moss and algae in roof but it can also deteriorate the granules that guide water down the roof and into the gutters. A soft wash can get into the spaces, nooks, and crannies of an asphalt roof and dissolve any gunk that may have been trapped under those shingles without the need for more repair or replacement.

Tile Roof

Depending on the age and condition of a tile roof, power washing can clear up any discoloration and tile staining but could break fragile tiles – leaving you with another bill. However, it could bring any underlying issues to light that may be even more expensive if not attended to. Soft washing will help remove build-up but could leave homeowners with the false impression of a structurally-sound roof.

Metal Roof

Metal roofing tends to be a bit more sturdy but it’s recommended to take time to inspect the roof for rust spots before cleaning. Power washing at a high velocity may cause any already-deteriorating spots to break free – leaving your roof susceptible to leaks. Soft washing should cleanse your roof from the grime and debris as intended.

No matter your roofing material, ridding your investment from harmful material build-up should be an annual task for every homeowner. Whether roof cleaning in Atlanta, New York City, Austin, or Sacramento - analyze your investment before getting started.

Not sure whether soft washing or power washing is best for your roof? Consider reaching out to the experts for a consultation or to take care of the job for you – keeping you and your family safe, and your home looking great!

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