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Cleaning Your Roof Productively

Posted by Tim Simpson, Quality Control Manager, Maintenance Coating Inspector on 9th Apr 2021

Proper initial cleaning of your roof includes removing dirt, contaminants, and debris from existing roof surfaces. In the process of cleaning the roof you may also identify loose, failed areas of the roof that need additional cutting back, trimming & pre-system patchwork.

While cleaning the roof your staff should also determine the best method of working around existing curbs, air handlers, chillers, and misc. rooftop mounted equipment, etc. It is not unusual to even see rooftop mounted antennas, cell repeaters, DEQ air monitoring equipment, and wireless equipment telemetry now used for Building Systems Automated Management – all in your way on roofs.

With smaller heat pumps and air handlers, the equipment is frequently cribbed up on pieces of 4” x 4” wood which then sits on top of existing roof systems. These may require temporarily installing bridging cribbage beneath the equipment to allow for removal of the loose 4” x 4” wood in order to properly install the new Ames Monolithic Seamless Reinforced Membrane Roof Coating System under the free standing heat pumps. In some cases, the wood supports are embedded deeply into aged hot tar and cannot be temporarily removed to facilitate new system installation. When this happens the roofing membrane details should be carried around and completely over the embedded wood supports to monolithically seal the system under the free-standing equipment.

Other air handlers, rooftop mechanical equipment and chillers may be sitting on permanent raised curbs that are then counter-flashed into equipment bases. These details are also flashed when Ames specified detail embedded flashing is recommended.

Regardless – after an initial cleaning of the roof exposing and temporarily removing mechanical supports results in additional areas to wash along with further debris removal.

It is important to promptly cleanup this additional dirt and debris exposed to avoid dragging it back all over the recently cleaned roof with safety ropes, cords, spray lines, windy conditions, and foot traffic. It’s a production killer to have to send someone for a broom to do additional cleanup when you have a full crew standing by with Spray equipment , fabric, back rollers and other items in hand being delayed by little messes all over the roof. Do not wait until the morning of your first “Spray Day” to re-clean your roof. It slows down your entire crew, pushes you into warmer portions of the day, and is totally unnecessary.