Top Reasons You Shouldn't DIY Power Wash Cedar Shingles
Updated: Jan 21
For any property owner, keeping your home and roof in the best possible shape is likely a top concern. It’s natural that you may be curious about do-it-yourself cleaning options for your cedar shingle roof. Power washing is a common, powerful method for cleaning building exteriors. Essentially, power washing is a cleaning method through which a surface is cleaned through a combination of the pressure itself and the natural cleaning properties of water. This type of cleaning is highly effective for certain surfaces. However, for most roof types — and certainly for cedar shingles — power washing is too intense.
Do-it-yourself power washing of cedar shingles is not only ineffective for cleaning, but it may also pose significant safety concerns, cause damage to the roof and void any existing warranties. Cedar shingle cleaning should only ever be entrusted to skilled, experienced roofing professionalslike Cedar Roof Coatings who have expertise in the care and maintenance of cedar roofs.
DIY Power Washing Raises Safety Concerns
You should never power wash or pressure wash your roof yourself, especially if your roof is made of cedar shingles. Power washing a cedar shingle roof can cause significant long-term damage to the roof itself, and by extension to the overall home or property.
However, property damage is not the only concern that can arise from do-it-yourself roof cleaning. In fact, when a homeowner attempts amateur roof cleaning, it can pose serious safety concerns for all involved. Some of the dangers posed by DIY roof cleaning can include the incorrect use of tools and lack of fall protection.
Many homeowners may feel tempted to try DIY roof cleaning and maintenance, including cedar shingle washing, after watching or reading a few online tutorials. While some home improvement tutorials can be informative, if you are not a professional roofer, these tutorials simply do not provide the necessary skills and expertise needed to safely address roof cleanliness and/or any other repairs.
Power washing tools themselves are specialized pieces of equipment that require some experience in order to be used with competency and accuracy. Upon examination of your roof, you may notice that some of your cedar shingles are missing and may need to be replaced. Again, attempting to complete any of these roof cleaning or shingle repairs without the proper expertise and experience can result in personal injury (due to incorrect use of tools) as well as damage to the roof and property.
The most serious and significant safety concern posed by DIY roof cleaning is the potential of falling from the roof, the ladder and/or any height during the cleaning attempt. Professional, experienced roofers are at risk for falls. Statistics indicate that falls are the number one cause of construction site fatalities. With that dire statistic holding true for professional roofers, who often work in highly controlled, OSHA-approved environments, consider how much more dangerous DIY roof care will be for you, the homeowner. The money that you may save from working on your roof yourself is not worth the personal risk, danger to your life and your health and potential costs of medical bills that you may face from a fall or other injury.
Power Washing May Cause Damage To Your Roof
In addition to the considerable health and safety concerns posed by DIY power washing your roof, any attempt to address roofing issues on your own may result in significant, expensive damages to the integrity of your property’s roof and overall structure. Some of these most common property damages include, but are not limited to, the following issues:
Breaks bonds and/or adhesives between shingles. When a cedar shingle roof is pressure-washed, power washed or undergoes any kind of amateur cleaning, it may result in a breakdown of the integrity of the shingles and their roof pattern as a whole. In particular, power washing the cedar shingles can cause the bonds and other adhesive features to break down and, in some cases, erode entirely. This weakens the entire structure and integrity of the entire roof, which can result in damages to your home, mold and moss growth and expensive repairs.
Damages the underlying roofing material. Many cedar roofs are installed over a base layer of protective roofing fabrics and/or other fabric-like materials. If the cedar shingles are exposed to power washing, the intensity of the pressure from that process is strong enough to affect the fabric layer that forms the base of the roof’s structure. When the base layer of the roof is damaged — especially from water damage, such as from power washing — the cedar shingles themselves can begin to rot. This occurs most often when moisture becomes trapped between the shingles and the base fabric layer. Rotten shingles can contribute to overall roof erosion, as well as mold growth and other pest issues.
Strips away the natural character and shape of the shingles. Many homeowners and property owners specifically choose cedar shingles and roofs for their homes because of the beautiful, natural appearance and characteristics of the cedar itself. Cedar roofs are striking and, when well cared for, can contribute greatly to the overall value of the home. Power washing and other amateur roof cleaning attempts can damage the natural characteristics of cedar shingles by wearing them down and stripping away their natural appearance. Because cedar shingle roofs are among the most valuable — and valued — roofing styles, it behooves any homeowner to protect, rather than damage, the cedar shingles themselves.
Spreads moss, fungus and other organisms throughout the roof. If you notice any growth of moss, mold, fungus or any other organisms on your cedar shingle roof, you may feel that immediate cleaning is the natural step to address these issues. However, contrary to what you might think, improper cleaning can actually contribute to moss, mold and fungus growth. In particular, with power washing, the process of spraying the roof with water can cause mold spores and other organisms to spread throughout the entire expanse of the roof. Obviously, these types of organisms can be highly dangerous, due to the ways in which they both damage the roof and can pose health problems to anyone working or living in the home.
May result in water leaks and other environmental damage. The intense, yet also often irregular, water pressure involved in a power wash process is almost impossible to fully control. This means that the power of the water itself can cause the shingles to crack, break and even begin to rot. Additionally, if the roof has any additional features, such as chimneys, skylight, solar panels, etc., they can also suffer mild to severe damage from non-professional cleaning. Power washing can erode the sealants around skylights in particular, which in turn can lead to cracks and leaks, exposing your home to pests and other outdoor elements.
Decreases the overall longevity and life expectancy of roofing materials. Due to all of the abovementioned potential damages that can occur when a roof is power washed, this type of cleaning method will, in nearly all cases, significantly decrease the overall durability and longevity of your property’s roof. As roofs, in particular, cedar roofs, are among the most costly home improvement jobs, early or preventable roof damage is highly undesirable.
DIY Roof Work May Void Your Warranty
Depending on when your roof was last installed and/or repaired, you may still be in possession of an active warranty. Due to the specific and particular nature of cedar roofs and cedar roof installation, this type of roofing nearly always comes with a good warranty as well as a plan for professional, ongoing care and maintenance. In order to preserve the longevity of your cedar shingles and the overall condition of your roof, the exact plan of care for your roof will vary depending on the style and age of your home and the climate in which it is located. In most cases, a cedar roof should be thoroughly evaluated at least twice per year, generally just before and after the winter season. You may also wish to have additional roof checks if you live in an especially storm-prone area.
Keep in mind that, in nearly every case, performing any sort of roof maintenance yourself — from basic cleaning to power washing to shingle repairs and replacements — will render your warranty null and void. Under the terms of most warranties, only repairs and cleaning done by certified roofing professionals like Cedar Roof Coatings will be covered. Meaning that, should you damage your roof in any way while cleaning it yourself, your warranty will no longer be valid, and you will be wholly responsible for the costs incurred.
The Benefits of Professional Cedar Roof Cleaning and Maintenance
The benefits of professional cedar roof cleaning really cannot be overstated. Professional roof cleaning and maintenance is an incredibly valuable service, and a great investment for any homeowner and/or property owner. Cedar roofs require specific care and consideration —our skilled, experienced and professional roofers at Cedar Roof Coatings will always be best suited to look after them. Keep in mind that your cedar roof likely has a warranty, and that warranty will only cover the costs associated with professional repairs and care services. In addition to saving you time, stress and money, employing Cedar Roof Coatings to clean and maintain your cedar roof can have the following benefits:
Gently removes moss, algae and other organisms.Cedar Roof Coatings has professional roofers who are skilled in cedar roof maintenance and will be able to identify and then address any moss, mold, algae and other organism growths on your cedar roof. Eliminating these types of growths quickly and thoroughly is key to long-term care of a cedar roof. DIY roof cleaning methods, including power washing, can often exacerbate mold and moss growth, so this issue is always best handled by professionals.
Repairs and/or replaces shingles. Over time, it’s natural that certain parts of your cedar roof may sustain damage — whether due to water, storm damage or other factors. If your roof is wholly or partially shaded, this can contribute to moisture getting trapped in the shingles. This in turn can cause parts of the roof to rot and/or otherwise erode. Luckily, in most cases, cedar roof shingles can be repaired and/or replaced by ourprofessional roofers. These types of ongoing repairs can save your cedar roof from major damage, which in turn will protect your home and save you money in the long run.
Maintains cedar’s natural insulation properties. Cedar wood is highly prized for its beauty and character. You may not know that it also possesses significant natural insulation properties. This means that a cedar roof can greatly contribute to the temperature regulation of your home — it can help your home stay cool during the summer and stay warm during the winter. As such, cedar is a much more energy efficient roofing option compared to traditional asphalt shingles. Cedar is also fully recyclable, making it a sustainable, eco-friendly option for most any type of roof. Regular, professional maintenance of your cedar roof is key to keeping the cedar in its best, most natural condition in order to reap these efficiency and sustainability benefits.
Addresses and treats stains. You may notice some discoloration and/or stains that appear on your roof over time. With professional care and maintenance, our roofers will likely be able to address these types of stains as they appear. In fact, Cedar Roof Coatings may even be able to treat your roof in order to prevent stains and discoloration before they appear in the first place.
Extends the longevity of the roof. It's nearly impossible to overstate the importance of professional roofing care. Thanks to their expertise, skills and experience, our professionals at Cedar Roof Coatings can provide crucial services that ensure the health and longevity of your property’s roof. The cost of ongoing, professional roof care is a worthwhile investment, given its importance in protecting your roof and home and maintaining the validity of any existing warranties. In most cases, regular cedar roof care can extend the longevity of a home's cedar roof up to ten or fifteen years, if not longer. As the costs of full roof installations continue to rise, professional roof maintenance can help you to spot treat problems areas, and thus avoid the need for full roof replacements.
Cedar Roof Coatings — Professional Cedar Roof Cleaning and Preservation
The professional roofers at Cedar Roof Coatings have years of proven expertise and experience in the care and maintenance of cedar roofs. As a local, family-owned business, CRC is proud to serve our neighbors throughout the Fairfield and Westchester counties. We highly value our relationships with our clients, and excellent customer service is always our goal.
CRC focuses exclusively on the care and treatment of cedar roofs. Our expertise in cedar roof care is unmatched in the areas that we serve. Quality roof treatments can save you money and protect your home for years to come. CRC’s services include cedar roof estimates and inspections, cedar roof repairs and preservation methods, as well as seven different color choice options for your cedar roof.
Regular maintenance can save you money and stress, and can often ensure that your cedar roof lasts up to fifteen years — or in some cases, even longer. Contact Cedar Roof Coatings today, and we will be happy to serve you in any way that we can.