North Star soft wash system woes

I decided to spend another couple hundred on the North Star soft wash system (4 gpm pump). Box showed up dinged, dented and ripped. Opened it up and every thing looks as though it was tossed into the box by a toddler. Also missing a manual. Very disappointed. I bought it for roof washing because the overspray from my x-jet M5 was making me nervous. Looks like it’s back to the drawing board for roof washing.

Advice accepted. Except from that one guy.

Call them, send pictures and get your money back. 4gpm won’t work that well on roofs anyway after a couple hundred feet of hose. My 7gpm only puts out 4 at the end.

yeah i’ll be calling them first thing in the morning. its 8:30 here in PA

1 Like

How do you know you aren’t that one guy?


It’s whoever you want it to be. That’s the fun of it

Let me pretend to be “that guy”

“You’ll make more money not doing roofs in the long run”

@Innocentbystander was I close?


Is the a widely accepted belief here? B/c for now I don’t have a way of washing them. Might get my refund and invest in another 12v system maybe higher GPM rate

Everything depends on your market. If I followed the widely accepted belief the you should not wash houses on wells, I wouldnt have a business because 80% of my service area is on wells.

Same applies to everything else. What works in one area may not work in others.

1 Like

Depends on marketing and the market…Roof cleanings are probably our most profitable work, not accounting for the potential liability, which I realize does carry a cost obviously. We don’t do them for cheap, and we market the value and benefits of them. If you’re selling “your roof will look cleaner again”, no one will buy. If you sell “your roof is being eaten by that bacterial algae, and cleaning it will prolong the life of your roof, and avoid a replacement right now which will cost 10x as much”, and offer a solid warranty, you’ll sell them easily.

1 Like

Good to know that pitch method, thank you for the reply. How is your warranty usually structured?

Everyone does it, or doesn’t do it, differently. You’d have to gain some idea of how long you can realistically warranty it in your area. Ours is tiered over 7 years. Almost never have to do any work because of it though, and it’s probably saved us more wasted trips because they see “streaks” (or moss) still there, when it really just needs a good rain to clear everything away. When we refer to the warranty, they’re much more willing to wait the prescribed time period, and it sells too.

Not being combative here, but I’ve always heard the black streaks were harmless, just ugly. Am I mistaken?


It’s a bacteria called Gloeocapsa Magma, which forms a blue/green algae with a black protective coating, and it feeds on the limestone in the shingles (which has been increased in shiingle make-up over the last 20 years or so). Best case, it is drying them out and causing pre-mature degradation. In reality, it is eating the shingles. Plus, it gets spread by birds and the wind, so it goes right to the neighbor’s roof as well.

1 Like


1 Like

Black streaks are just black streaks. It’s not hurting anything. My roof was replaced in 2019 door to storm damage. It was 21 years old with no leaks, covered in black streaks.

Says the guy who hates washing roofs, :joy:
I know you know a lot, but even the shingle manufacturer groups say otherwise on this one. I mean, they are black streaks, but there is damage being done, and home value being lost (assuming one would want to sell their home, which most people in our business area do a lot of…)

1 Like

General black stains have no effect on roofs other than appearance. Things like moss or other aggressive growth is the reason manufacturers want the roof maintenance done .
It also has no legitimate value to the home . In a buyer’s market realtors will get roofs cleaned to help curb appeal. In a sellers market it will rarely get done . Mainly because they don’t have to .
The only legitimate reason to clean BLACK STREAKS of a roof is the HOA requires it or an roof inspection is required by the insurance company.

This is coming from someone the cleans over 1 million sqft of roof every year and it the majority of my business

1 Like

Salesman don’t won’t to hear that lol. I’ve heard everything from it makes your roof last longer, it lowers your electric bill, it keeps you healthy to you have to clean it to keep your warranty.

Yep there are as many “pitch “ reasons to clean a roof as there are “pitch” reasons to seal pavers. Each to there own I guess. Its there right to run there business any way they want . The only one I’ve ever had a real problem with people saying are fear based . The ITS EATING YOUR ROOF line is horrible. It’s based on selling someone out of false fear there roof is something wrong with there roof . Honestly is the best policy ALWAYS no exceptions.

I get it from you old school guys…but there is new data from all sorts of scientific sources. They started upping the limestone content in shingles about 15-20 years ago, which makes for more potential fodder for the bacteria, and more potential damage as it eats away at it.

" In order to keep down the cost of composition shingles, manufacturers have begun to include more “fillers” in their “recipes”. These fillers replace some of the oils in the shingles. Of course, those oils are normally the most costly component of the shingles. Removing the oils often seems to shorten the lives of the shingles, making them less resilient and supple. But, an additional problem is that the gloeocapsa magma feeds off of those fillers, leading to the unsightly streaks and stains.

A predominate filler used in composition shingles, because it is so plentiful and inexpensive, is limestone. It is the calcium carbonate in limestone that gloeocapsa magma really likes to feed off of, along with moisture that naturally collects on a roof’s surface. Once the algae growth becomes noticeable as those dark streaks on the roof, gravity and rain water flowing down the roof carry the spores down the roof, causing the commonly seen pattern of streaks extending downward on the roof. And, as the algae feeds off of the limestone over time, it invades the structure of the shingles and shortens their lives." citation Classic Metal Roofing

Only in recent years has it been determined to have they decided it should be cleaned due to damages it causes…

“These black stains are the bacteria themselves in mass amounts covering the surface of the roof shingles. Gloeocapsa magma has been around historically and up through the present, except only in the recent decades has it been considered to have detrimental effects worthy of prevention. This cyanobacteria causes substantial destruction revolving around shingle decay and loss of reflective power. Over time, Gloeocapsa magma begins to break down the contents of the shingles by feeding off of the limestone granules embedded in the shingles and this decreases the roof’s ability to reflect ultra-violet rays of light. Also, the quality of the shingles slowly diminishes. They have been found to curl up at the corners as well as form raised humps on the surface. This ultimately can result is broken or disintegrated shingles. In the long run, this has been known to increase air conditioning bills and lead to more frequent roof repair and reconstruction. The main preventative strategy known to date is frequent (annual) roof cleanings using roof algae cleaners. Installing copper or zinc strips along the roof boarder also inhibits bacterial growth by killing off new colony formation.” citation MicrobeWiki (from the Microbiology Dept. @ Kenyon Univ.)

There’s plenty more out there, granted all in the last decade or so (after the change in composition of composition shingles)…been researching a lot lately. Of course there’s a ton from wash contractors as well, but I dismiss that as worthy of citing due to the obvious potential for conflict of interest.

EDIT: I didn’t mean to post the internet, but I definitely do my research before I’m willing to make any sort of statement of value to a client. I won’t do business like that.