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One of the things I have found frustrating in my years of construction is tradesmen misrepresenting themselves as experts in their field. I have always felt that the title “master” or ”journeyman” carpenter is over-used. I have always believed that if you are in the trades your title should be “student” as you will be eternally learning new techniques and methods to achieve a desired result. The day one quits growing and expanding one’s knowledge never comes.

That being said, I felt the need to chime in with one of my hot button issues, especially since it’s the winter season here in the Pacific NW: The proper way to clean your roof. I am going to provide links to 3 local and 2 national brands. My advice to the end consumer is to not listen to the “expert” that thinks they know what they are doing, and to follow each manufacturer’s recommendation. A person qualified to clean your roof should be familiar with roof replacement, repairs, and identifying roofing shingles.

So, for those of you that know me personally, you know I’m a “call it as I see it” kind of guy. Your roof needs cleaning because you didn’t maintain it. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and do your yearly maintenance along with cleaning out your gutters. This is western Washington. Moss, algae, and lichen will grow on any and everything, especially if it doesn’t move. My roof, covered in moss, I personally don’t do maintenance. I know my 30-year roof will last 20, but it’s offset by the fact that I can reroof my house at cost or 75% less than the average homeowner can.

There is a huge debate in the roofing industry about which is better, pressure washing or hand cleaning with brooms/brushes. BOTH will damage your roof. If you don’t believe me, I can prove it! Set up a ladder and find some moss on your roof. Now try to hand-pick pieces of moss off it, gently, like you were performing brain surgery. Look at the back of the clumps of moss and you will see granules of roofing. Presto, shingle damage! Prevention/maintenance is the only way to keep your roof clean.
So now what? It’s too late and moss is there, and you want it gone. Let’s help the “expert” you have hired by educating him a bit and preventing any potential damage from occurring. Below are links or excerpts taken from the manufacturer’s websites to help:
Local Brands


Do not use abrasive cleaning methods such as pressure washing or the use of a brush or broom.


National brands

Owens Corning:—TB-01.pdf?v=1508994025000


Let me close with this final thought. I have cleaned many roofs in the past. I don’t do it now so I’m not the competition. There will be those who agree and disagree with me about this topic. Should you feel the need to comment negatively I encourage it. I’m too old and tired to engage in the debate but perhaps a heated debate, among yourselves, can bring about change in manufacturing that leads to roofs that never need to be cleaned!


Jay Caldier
Musser Construction