A cheap way to do roof cleaning?

I don’t have money for a fancy roof cleaning set up as much as I would love one. There are literally NO roof cleaners in my area, and I see dirty roofs with blacks streaks EVERYWHERE I LOOK. I’m having a really slow streak lately and I’m struggling big time. Can I do roof cleaning with x jet? I’d love to learn more on how you guys started off roof cleaning

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Very few people clean roofs with an x-jet, but some do. The reason why is that you can only go so strong with an x-jet, and roofs generally require a pretty strong mix.

12V pumps are how most people start cleaning roofs. You can buy a 5 GPM 12V pump at an ag store, or online pressure washing vendor, for $150 or less.

You can buy 300’ of 1/2" polybraid hose for $115 (how much you want to use is up to you, 200’ is common, but some people go up to 300’).

You can make a gun out of a ball valve for $20, or just use a $5 garden hose sprayer.

You can buy a 55 gallon drum off craigslist for $20 to store your mix in.

Then you just need a battery. $120 will get you a nice deep cycle marine battery, but you can get by with something cheaper.

This is the cheap way to do it, but it works.

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Assuming you want to soft wash a roof…

Can you clean a roof with an xjet: yes,
but its not the best idea. Xjet by itself will put out too much pressure to “soft wash” a roof, even if you use the modified xjet with wider nozzles its still more pressure than i personally would want to use. You also now have to have a bucket on either the ladder or roof (if you walk it). You can run 200+ft of xjet hose so you dont have the bucket on the roof buy you still have the extra hose which can be a hassle.
Technically you can clean a roof with a DS injector but you will have to force feed it. But you still need a 12V to do that and you still have a pressure washer on a roof. The only good part of using a force fed DS injector is that you save on having to buy another hose/hose reel and other misc parts that come with a roof set up. That being said part of the sells pitch that others and i use is that we dont use a pressure washer to clean a roof so using one would be lying to them.

One other very important thing to understand is that, while its nice to be the only one doing something it also means your potential customers know nothing about the service. Just because you now offer a new service that no one else in the area does, does not mean your phone will ring off the hook. Because know one knows what roof cleaning is in your area and they need to be educated on the matter. That means you have to get the word out somehow, and that means advertising. Advertising cost money, and with such a “new” service it means spending even more to get customers to be aware and understand the problem they have and that their is a solution.

Another very important thing is that with roof cleaning you really need a ground person. yes some clean roof by themselves but roofs really need at least two people on a job site for safety.

I just started cleaning roofs and while some know about it in my area its not like Florida where all homeowners know about it or will because of their HOA. So im still building up that side, i spent a lot of money or roof cleaning post cards and got dismal results vs my very similar general flyer that got better result. I do more roof cleaning based on up selling letting customers know that we also offer it vs just marketing roof cleaning directly/independently by itself.

The cheapest way to go about it is what Tireshark said above, but also you really need two 55 drums. One for straight SH and the other for the mix tank. (unless you buy a proportioner but that cost $1200).

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@squidskc, tell 'em how to get that strong mix from an xjet.

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Straight 12.5% and pull the proportioner. 1:1 mix. Works on roofs, brick, stucco, and dryvit. I do it 2-3x a week and it works beautifully.

1:1 meaning half 12.5% and half water. Elemonator too, but you know what I mean. Lol

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Yeah, if you can pull 50/50, that should work for roofs. I have an old xjet that i never really use… might take it apart some day and try it out. Although, i would probably still prefer not carrying a bucket around, but it’s always nice to have backup options.

You wont really get a 1:1 ratio out of an xjet unless you either severely throttle down your machine, or use a machine with the gpm under 2.

And again a regular xjet will have too high of pressure for roofs, and the over spray will probably be very high.

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@John_Lange what part of Illinois do you live in? There is this setup for sale right now in St Louis that I’m debating on buying but not ready to do roofs at this time.

Not sure if this is everything you need or not to do roofs.

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I got into this business for the same exact reasons, SO many houses that have terrible looking roofs and I knew I could clean them. I have now done three roofs (not much) each has paid quite well. Really hard to sell a roof clean though due to what @Donte55 was saying. Many people have no clue you can clean a roof and many people don’t have the money for it. It is a great service and the before and after pics I have make people more interested in the service but its a risky job so I have to charge what its worth.

I went all out and bought the Bandit system, looking back I wish I would have had better advice and built up to something that nice but it has been very helpful. Like everyone is saying though don’t expect business to pour in with the roof cleaning side, it will come through upsetting and word of mouth through neighbors. Giving people a free test area is always nice too right in the front where they have to see it everyday.

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Beautiful, thank you very much. I just really dislike passing up work because i don’t have the equipment

I’m about 6 hours away from there. I’m in Dekalb

Great to know thanks

Now how exactly would you “force feed”?

Now that you mentioned stucco I have a question. Hotel owner asked for a quote on cleaning his 3 story stucco hotel…is it significantly difficult to clean stucco or is it just mainly having to use a stronger mix?

Not difficult. Stronger mix for sure. Less Elemonator than house wash. 2 oz per 5 gallons of mix. Longer rinse time.

Any cracks or holes and even the texture of stucco can make rinsing Elemonator out difficult and you’ll find little white splotches.

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Alright thanks I’ll take photos of the hotel and see what you think about it. Never done stucco, going to need a lift to reach it, unless you have better ideas on how to reach without lift

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Post pics, may not need a lift. It’s probably dryvit anyway, which you clean about the same as stucco

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Yeah, i just got up close and personal with dryvit (i think also called eifs) this weekend when i tried to fasten a water pipe to it. Took a while to figure out a good way to do it, mostly because i wasn’t aware of the layers that make it up.

You can tell if it is synthetic or real stucco by knocking on it… the dryvit stuff will sound hollow.

This is a little off topic but what do you do about houses with vines growing on them? Just tell the customers the vines are going to die?

If they like the vines, you dont clean that wall.
If they dont like the vines, you can tell them you can kill them but the root system will still be left over and will not come of with a house wash. Be very clear about that.

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