First Roof Wash

Long time lurker, first time poster.

Backstory: Never done a roof before, bid a job so high I was hoping to get turned down. Bid was accepted. Full deposit to pay for equipment and supplies. Gonna buy from pressuretek as far as I know.

Help me make the right choice with equipment and proper planning please. I will be practicing on sheds and family members roofs first.

I plan to get the fatboy 7gpm 5/8 poly pump in a box, accumulator, and backup 5800 pump in case the first pump craps out on the job for whatever reason. Trash bags for gutters, and taping / bagging all electrical items on the exterior. 50 gallon garbage bin for soap. Roof snot, and elemonator.

Using a pump up sprayer and m5xjet in case both pumps break. Also bringing a garden hose attachment in case I need to rinse.

How I plan to do the project.
Tape everything off and bag gutters, clean gutters / downspouts, have hired help apply the soap to the roof from the ladder and if needed tie off and get on the roof. Reapply chemical until all areas look clean while I water the lawn and plants. Do not rinse, speak with the home owner, grab check and follow up after the first rainfall.

My Mix
I am going to use pool cleaner 10% 20 gallons, 29 gallons water, Your recomendations for roof snot and elemonator.

Any advice or tips would be greatly appreciated. I will be speaking with pressuretek before my purchase tomorrow and will be reading a bit on here or watching videos on techniques.

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No need for both soaps. Never used elemenator but people seem to love it. Used roof snot and that is good stuff.

I am pretty uneducated when it comes to anything other than simple cherry. I figured that that roof snot was just to make suds while elemonator actually increased absorption into the shingle.

If you can get slow mo get that instead roof snot. I’m not sure about your mix but if it works great you should see a change in 5 to 7 minutes be prepared to make it stronger if need be. Practice spraying your roof first if its dirty use chemical if not just water. If roof has sticks and leaves bring blower. Make sure gutters are not clogged.try to do it early in the morning.make sure you flush pump with clean water at least 20 gallons (opinions will vary on that one). Please what ever you do dont forget your gloves any eye protection. Be very careful putting you ladder up. Oh and take lots and lots of pictures before and after document everything


Thanks for your input.

Do you have any stories or things that you have learned. I am having hired worker who does roofs for a living do the work for me. I will not be on the roof at all and can visually inspect his work from the ground. I need input on how to handle this if you have any. I will be practicing on a few roofs of less pitch from the ground, so I am assuming that will teach me a great deal.

As for slow mo, I will have to try that next time. I need a swift order and I hear pressuretek arrives quick.

First of all dont hire someone to do the work till you know how to do the work. It’s kinda hard to teach someone something you dont know. Are you scared of heights or something? I did the same thing after I learned. I needed a helper found a roofer that was tired of driving nails. Make sure you advertise a complementary roof inspection and get some pipe colors. We replace them all the time 65 dollar up charge. But first and foremost you need to learn trade what happens if he calls out sick?


I agree with what you are saying. I am going to do some owned property first safely from the ground and test things out. I am scared of going on a ladder and this guy knows his stuff when it comes to being on a roof. There has to be a level a trust involved and I am willing to take the risk. If this pans out for me, I will have a great new service. If he calls in sick, or is unable to do the work I will find other help and at the worst case scenario refund the home owners deposit. Either way, there are quite a few houses around here that I will be able to shoot from a 4ft step ladder about 8 feet away. They are single story ranch homes and I am working on getting my first part time weekend employee who will drive my commercial truck. Lots of risks involved.

As for the roof inspection, I am offering that and will be offering basic repairs. I believe local laws require me to hold a general contractors licenses. This requires a 60 hour educational course and some other requirements, but opens up some great opportunities down the road.

You have some great ideas here with those upsells. I very much appreciate the advice.

As for learning the trade, I very much agree to a point. I am a firm believer in do what you can if you have to, and hire people who are smarter or more able than you to do the things you can’t. I am hoping to hit the middle ground here.

A thought: do you have insurance?
The cost jump of having employees on roofs and ladders here is stupid, and I would never send anyone up on a roof because of it, I would do that myself for safety and cost savings.
Food for thought too; I have done facilities management for 20 odd years now, and I would never ask an employee to do something I haven’t done, or didn’t know how to do. Take the time and learn it yourself properly first, or you will never know if they are actually doing it right. Anyone can hire people to do work, but as you build your knowledge and understanding you will become an expert in your field. I am not trying to knock you at all, just trying to set you up for success.


I don’t feel knocked or anything. I created an account and I am posting because I need advice from those who are more experienced than I am. I currently have a jospeh d walters insurance. I am willing to drop them and get a new policy at a seconds notice. I quoted this job and I am looking at sub contracting out decks as they are not my area of expertise. I plan on having the contractor sign an NDA etc.

As for costs. My prices include paying an employee up to 25 an hour. That’s a single employee. I don’t believe I could have two on site and hit the margins I want.

Also, why do you not hire people to do jobs you have never done. I am interested in this because builders and other facility managers hire out companies to do things like power washing or building / restoring things.

I agree with @MPS . If you’re scared to be on a roof, let alone a ladder, roof washing is the wrong line of work. What happens when a customer thinks they see a spot you missed and wants you, the owner of the business, to come up and take a look?

I don’t think it’s right to run a company and ask your employees to do something that you wouldn’t do yourself. You’re going to have a hard time staying in business if you have to cancel jobs if your employee calls in because you won’t do the work.

You might want to check into our insurance policy when having an employee on a roof. Your rate will likely skyrocket.


I will speak with my insurance and see what they say. I don’t mind paying extra for insurance other things to run a business. As for the point where they are asking the owner to go on the roof and take a look. I will have the employee go up there. You are right about the risks involved.

I am trying to gain insight into other possible issues that may arise. I need to do as much risk management as possible here. Either way I have sold the job and I am not backing out at this point. My next roofs are going to be ones that I am willing to do myself. Which are small ranch homes.

If worse comes to worse, I could possibly pay and employee $100-200 per roof and that might keep them motivated to keep doing it.

Good questions, and I have some follow up ones. Nope, this might be long, but this is the first day in 2 weeks it’s sunny and not training, so I am actually enjoying the day before the grind starts tomorrow, getting day drunk, and lot of time on my hand to post stuff lol.

There is a big difference between employees and contractors. Employees are people I feel have the skills, training, and attitude towards the job and I have them do it. Those are people under my direct care and control, and they rely on me to make sure they are protected. So if I don’t know what they are doing, and I am their boss, why am I their boss?
With a contractor, I am specifically hiring them to do work or a matter needing expertise that does not exist in my team, or as a matter of risk avoidance such as when the work is more specific than what is typically done by the staff.
But one thing to keep in mind: you are responsible for whoever you contract with. So if the guy you hire to do decks screws up, it’s ultimately you who bears it. Both loss of reputation and possibly money if it needs replacing. Knowing the work that you are going to contract out let’s you ensure you are getting someone knowable to take care of it, protecting your name and business.
Hiring someone without that knowledge is like when homeowners call the $99 guy. They know they need something washed, and this person will do that washing. It isn’t until after the fact when it looked horrible or damaged that the homeowner regretted their decision, and you don’t want to be in that position.
Learn the basics, master the basics, and then add on more as you go. So the things you don’t do for now, just refer them to the person you were going to subcontract to, don’t even be involved in them, it will slow your productivity down and you can burn out on issues caused from it.

As for facility and building managers routinely contracting out services, it all depends on who is behind the desk. If it’s an office manager who just had the tasks on their to do list, or a junior property manager getting started, they will always source the work outside. But, that doesn’t mean it right. Those managers can eat a mistake done by a contractor, they are big businesses and have contingencies, I set a lot of them up with that scenario in mind.
A $10k hit is a minor reprimand for that office worker most times. You taking a $10k hit to your business, can you float that storm?
Just check into your insurance. Make sure that you are covered for what you are doing, or planning to do. See the difference between you working on the roof vs an employee. Ask about hiring a subcontractor. Ask if you are covered if you kill someone bushes.

Protect yourself, make money, reinvest money, make more money. It’s the name of the game. I just want you to be able to be in it for the long haul.


Very solid advice and I appreciate it tons. It’s a delicate walk between the two and need to make sure everything is going to go well.

Depending on the situation, I may be able to float the money. I prefer not to float anything. I guess as someone who is planing on contracting out work that I am unable to do currently like decks. I can master the basics and eventually pass the work along or hire someone who is experienced.

At this current point I am at a position where I have to get the roof done. However in the future I will not be taking on any roofs that require something I am unwilling to do myself, until I can train those people on the roofs I am willing to do. I feel that would be a good way to go about this.

I am assuming I need to switch to a better policy as I have JDW. Any recommendations?

Where are you located?

Buy a real ladder. A 4’ stool not going to do you a lot of good on ost houses.


Some of the other members may have better recommendations for you there.
As I said, I just want you to be successful, and protect yourself. Lots of money to be made, keep learning and mastering your skills and it will come.
Just start reading through the most relevant categories here and even in a week’s time with a good amount of reading effort you will look at your business differently.

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In comparison to other cleaning, doing a roof is NOT that difficult.

  1. Spend time reading. If you have already a pretty strong theory on it, chances are, if something goes sideways, and you’ve already read about it, it should quickly snap into mind.

  2. Do your roof, or someones roof that you know aka a family member. Even if it isn’t dirty. Just do it.

  3. When doing your roof. Don’t use pressure. Safety first. Tie in if above one storey / on a dangerous pitch. Wear a mask / glasses / gloves. Start with a weaker mix and heat it up as you go. Water down everything before hand. Have appropriate coverage. Take an online class if need be.

  4. If your business is doing roof cleaning - this means YOU should be doing roof cleaning. No, this doesn’t mean you will always have to do it - BUT, you should have experience cleaning so you can coach, guide, and give tips.

  5. Take your time, and be patient. Different roofs require different mixes, you will have that aha moment after you’ve done 20+.

  6. If you aren’t comfortable doing roofs, than just don’t do them. Don’t hire an employee or a contractor and send them up based on theory, you should know whats going on. If your not into it, then just cut that line of work out.

I know many of these points have been made, and I am simply repeating them because they are very important.


Why not rinse the roof?