Roof shingles are among the most significant inventions and have stood the test of time.
Shingles protect the integrity of your roof against rain, sun, and snow, and it is apparent that they get dirty in this process.
Given their toughness, using a pressure washer to clean them may cross your mind. You might be asking if you can pressure wash roof shingles.
However, there are a few cons, fewer pros, and several considerations when doing this.
In this article, we’ll discuss just that and clarify what pressure washing does to shingles.
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About The Author
Meet the expert behind this article.
Co-owner & Service Director
Hey there, I’m Cody.
A decade of residential and commercial pressure washing led me to start JCS Refresh. Now I can share my knowledge with folks like you.
Reading from Washington State?
Contact our team for a quote and you might meet me in person.
Quick Answer – Can you pressure wash shingles?
You should never pressure wash shingles. The only exception to this rule is metal shingles.
Can you pressure wash a roof?
Pressure washing a roof is a no-go.
However, soft washing is a great alternative we do recommend.
Soft washing involves using a low-powered spray, which is less likely to cause damage to your roof. If soft washing is new, we have a complete guide dedicated to soft wash vs pressure wash technicalities.
Roof types and if you can pressure wash them
Let’s look at the different types of roofing materials and if pressure washing is appropriate for them.
Rolled roofing is a cheap and not-so-common roofing solution. These are long rolls imbibed with asphalt and minerals. Rolled roofing is relatively easy, and you should never use a pressure washer.
Built-Up Roofing (BUR) is for flat roofs and has a top layer of gravel over it. Pressure washing can do nothing to a BUR roof.
Membrane Roofing is typically made from rubbery materials like neoprene and is similar to rolled roofing, with an average lifespan of 20-25 years (with proper maintenance). Pressure washing is not recommended.
Standing Seam Metal Roofing is the most common type of metal roofing and is popular in areas with heavy snowfall or high chances of a fire/wildfire. It can last for 75 years if maintained properly. Pressure washing metal roofs are okay.
Tiles (Clay/Concrete) are often used as alternatives and offer a durable solution for some environments. However, while tiles are resilient to pressure washing, the sealant can break down, causing water seepage. So pressure washing is not suitable for roof tiles as well.
Shingles are widespread and found in over 80% of houses. The most common material for shingles is asphalt. However, other materials include stone, fiber, wood, cedar, metal, and plastic.
What does pressure washing do to shingles?
Pressure washing can be detrimental to the condition of your shingles. Of course, there’s a chance that a newly installed roof will not take as much damage as an aged roof, but why risk it?
Don’t pressure wash your roof!
Damage to the protective coating
Water from the pressure washer can cause the protective coating on the shingles to break. If broken, the ability to insulate your roof from environmental elements is jeopardized. Furthermore, the granules on the shingle can also come off, affecting your roof’s aesthetics and integrity.
High-pressure water can cause the adhesive between shingles to crack, leading to water seeping inside the roof, causing damage and compromising the integrity of the building.
If you’re planning to clean your roof, make sure to keep these factors in mind:
- Always have the right equipment, including protective gear, a sturdy ladder, a hose, a cleaning solution, etc.
- Mix bleach with water in a 1:1 ratio and use it to clean the roof. Most professional cleaning companies use this; just don’t use acid or other chemicals.
- Use low-pressure water, and rinse the roof with clean water afterward.
Pressure washing can damage your roof shingles, leading to warranty cancellation. So be very careful when doing this with your roof.
Additionally, you should use the soft method for DIY, or it’s best to call in a professional roof cleaning expert.
Cleaning roof shingles is imperative to ensure their longevity and also prevent the onset of any damage to your roof.
While pressure washing is a common cleaning method, don’t use it to clean shingles. High water pressure will cause shingles to erode, hence losing their effectiveness.
Thank you for taking the time to read this short guide. Feel free to contact us with any questions about roof cleaning or maintenance.