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Working from the ground vs. walking on roof

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WCP   

I have been cleaning roofs successfully for the past 6 months or so using a 12 volt FB system. I think my pump is starting to get weak because it is not spraying quite the distance that it use to. It still works fine using the method I use to clean roofs. I am considering trying to clean a roof from the ground. I have heard a few people on this forum talk about it. The other day while exiting a very expensive gated subdivision the security guard told me that he is constantly asked by homeowner for someone who able to clean from the ground (apparently there are not many who offer the service).  I told the guard that I thought spraying chlorine that far would kill a lot of vegetation. He said, "oh yeah he always has to come back and replace bushes". 

   Many of the roofs I clean are for 3500 plus sq. ft. homes that have complex roofs. I am not sure it would be possible to access all the roof surfaces from the ground or a ladder? I know some of the air diagram pumps can spray 70 feet and maybe that would make more areas accessible from the ground? The concern I have however is that if your spraying a stream 70 feet, where is it all going? Certainly the wind is going to blow the stream everywhere? The info from the security guard seems to support my concern. 

  If you walk on the roof, you risk falling, violate OSHA, not insurable, expose the homeowner to liability, crack tile and most importantly risk injury or death. If you don't walk on the roof, you probably don't have as much control over where the chemical is going. Therefore you will be wasting chemical, killing vegetation and pushing droplets of SH all the way down the street?

 

Any thoughts? 

 

 

Edited by WCP
tittle not appropriate

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I saw a video on here the other day where this guy had a 1 in pump and like a 20 ft wand and was spraying over the roof and the guy on the other side was screaming go left go right ect.. I could not help but laugh but if you watch the video ill try and find it all you see is mist flying every where.. I am new so I cannot tell you how it is in the field but from what Ive read and seen it seems like spraying long distance from the ground is prob not a great idea unless its like a ranch or something.. Killing plants i would imagine would get expensive however from what Ive seen everyone preaches spraying from a Ladder with ladder stabilizers.

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I rarely reply to anything that's not on the private side of this forum, however I will to this one. You are greatly overstating the risk to plant life. It's not like we are spraying straight Roundup and are always on the verge of eliminating all vegetation with one small misstep. It takes extreme neglect and carelessness to damage almost any plant with our solution. Keep the plants wet and you have little to be concerned with. I spray from ladders and the ground all the time and do most roofs by myself and have had zero plant issues all year. 

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WCP   

I used a blue tip 5.5 orifice zero degree and a black chem pickup fan nozzle for close areas. I have tried the green tip 5.5 orifice/25 degree for close up areas, but it makes the FB2 cycle on and off too many times. The blue tip was the same one that I bought as my low pressure for my pressure washer that puts out 5.5 GPM. Since the FB2 puts out close the the same GPM at 60 PSI, I think it's a good fit. On a good day I can shoot close to 40 ft. (no wind, new pump, fully charged battery, etc.). I bought several other zero degree nozzles from Home Depot and drilled them to different specs (.172 inches and .188 inches), but the original blue tip 5.5 orifice zero degree performed the best.

 I did my first job last week where 90 percent was done from the ladder or the ground. I think overall it took a little longer and I ended up using more materials. It was a white barrel tile ranch home with about 3400 total square feet (not sure surface area sq feet). I used about 70 gallons of 50/50 mix (hang tite/SH/H2O).  I grabbed a painters pole at HD for $35.00 for any areas I could not reach. I simply extended the pole, then zip tied my 1/2 clear poly hose to the pole. This allowed me to shoot over the pool cage and hit the slope behind it. More over spray did go on the plants, but since I was at the most a couple rungs away it didn't take much to quickly re- rinse the area.

    As far as safety is concerned, I am not sure it is that much safer. Obviously you are spending much more time on the ladder which presents another different set of safety concerns. I found myself constantly moving the ladder. Sometimes the ground was wet from the rinsing. Sometimes the ground wasn't perfectly even. More then once I had my ladder fully extended working with the telescopic pole at the top. If you loose traction on a roof, hopefully when you fall the added friction of your body against the tile will stop you from falling off. If the ladder goes on the other hand, you are screwed. 

    From a marketing stand point I think it can be very effective to advertise that you "Don't walk on a customers roof". You can then sell the decrease in liability, and overstate how foot traffic cracks tile, voids warranties, etc. 

   I have mixed feeling about the whole thing. It is difficult to resist the urge to just get on the roof and get the job done. It is sort of like watching my kid pick something off the floor with their toes. Yes, she eventually gets it done but overall it takes her twice as long and twice the energy.  

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There certainly are situations where walking a roof is safer than treating it from a ladder and every situation needs to be evaluated separately. I do believe that most accidents involving ladders on roofs occur in the transition from ladder to roof and vice versa so be extra careful there. I suggest you immediately start using ladder stabilizers regardless of which technique you use if you aren't currently. The security and stability they add are invaluable. Obviously falling from a roof can be result in very serious injuries and hoping your body friction saves you from sliding off a slick, soaped up tile roof seems like a poor plan to me. I understand also that making multiple trips up and down a ladder, moving a heavy ladder by yourself, uneven and wet terrain, etc all present other ways to get hurt but for me usually is less risky than walking the roof.

We do get paid to take acceptable risks. However, you should always be prepared to not accept jobs that you are uncomfortable doing and to know when to walk away from ones that you accepted that become too risky. A professional knows his limits and stays within them. 

Marketing that you don't get on roofs is effective with many people. However, in my opinion, "over stating" how it cracks tile, voids warrantees, etc or being anything less than completely honest with your customers is a very poor marketing idea and will cost you in the long run. 

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There certainly are situations where walking a roof is safer than treating it from a ladder and every situation needs to be evaluated separately. I do believe that most accidents involving ladders on roofs occur in the transition from ladder to roof and vice versa so be extra careful there. I suggest you immediately start using ladder stabilizers regardless of which technique you use if you aren't currently. The security and stability they add are invaluable. Obviously falling from a roof can be result in very serious injuries and hoping your body friction saves you from sliding off a slick, soaped up tile roof seems like a poor plan to me. I understand also that making multiple trips up and down a ladder, moving a heavy ladder by yourself, uneven and wet terrain, etc all present other ways to get hurt but for me usually is less risky than walking the roof.

We do get paid to take acceptable risks. However, you should always be prepared to not accept jobs that you are uncomfortable doing and to know when to walk away from ones that you accepted that become too risky. A professional knows his limits and stays within them. 

Marketing that you don't get on roofs is effective with many people. However, in my opinion, "over stating" how it cracks tile, voids warrantees, etc or being anything less than completely honest with your customers is a very poor marketing idea and will cost you in the long run. 

I agree that walking on a roof should be done with caution. Some types of roofs i.e. asphalt tend to be okay to walk, in most cases. But you'll agree that walking on a wood roof is not advised or recommended?

And the marketing of such makes good common sense to the home owner given the great potential that walking on a wood roof can cause great harm to the shakes.

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I agree that walking on a roof should be done with caution. Some types of roofs i.e. asphalt tend to be okay to walk, in most cases. But you'll agree that walking on a wood roof is not advised or recommended?

And the marketing of such makes good common sense to the home owner given the great potential that walking on a wood roof can cause great harm to the shakes.

I totally agree that walking on a wood roof should be avoided for your own personal safety and to avoid possible shingle damage. 

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garyw   

Phycology plays a big part in falls Fear factor is a driving force behind being careful. in my 30+ years at BellSouth, most cut-outs (Falling and sliding down telephone poles with all the splinters pointing up) always occurred around 8' off the ground. Never in 30 years did anybody cut out above 20+ feet. (OUCH)

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WCP   

   Gary as a fellow ex-telephone guy myself I can relate to your stories. I worked for Pacific Bell out in California. We called it "Gaffing out".  Slightly off topic, so I will make it quick. One day before we left the yard our safety officer pulled us aside for a briefing. Apparently someone had an accident climbing a stepped pole with their Gaffs on.  Step poles are the ones with the alternating perpendicular metal studs sticking out ever 18 inches or so. The last inch of the step has a 90 degree bend and is perpendicular to the pole. Apparently an employee's metal gaff slipped on the metal step and he fell off the pole. On the way down he caught his scrotum on the last inch of one of the steps.  I don't think they had a problem with anyone wearing their gaffs on a stepped pole after that. 

    OK back on topic. I did not use a ladder stabilizer. I know they are cheap and available at HD. I will by one for the next job. Thank you Chris and everyone else for being honest with me about the pros and cons of walking versus ladder/ground cleaning. I have only been doing this a year, and have already had some close calls walking on tile roofs. My technique has improved and most of my close calls happened when I was first getting started, but all it takes is one unforeseen variable to ruin your life. I think it's easier to control the variables with a ladder. 

       Now I want to ask some technical stuff. I haven't bought a membership yet, but plan on doing so soon. Right now I trying to stretch my money between advertising and equipment and I think winter/Holidays is putting a damper on things. I took Chris and Gary's advice and used the "slow roofing season" to pick up a nice compressor. I was able to get a Rol-air K17 pump for $200.00. It puts out about 10 CFM. Will that power a 1 inch air diaphragm pump?  Initially my thought was no, but after thinking about how I would be using it, maybe it would work? I am not going to run it wide open. I would climb the ladder then spray a section. While climbing the ladder the compressor would be storing energy in the form of high PSI in the 8 Gallon tanks. When I open the nozzle of course the compressor could not keep up long term, but the stored energy in the tanks might be enough to operate the pump for 20 seconds or so, which is about all I need to spray at any given time without moving. What do you think? 

      The compressor has a 6.5 HP Kohler engine, so if I don't have enough CFM for the one inch air diaphragm pump, I could get the Harbor Freight V  twin  for about  $150.00 (20% coupon). It puts out 15.2 CFM @90 PSI. It calls for a 5 HP motor but I think they are talking electric not gas? Could the 6.5 HP gas push that compressor pump? 

   Sorry for the long post. I type very fast and before I know it I have written an essay. I love getting responses, so hopefully someone writes back. Take Care. 

 

 

Rol air Compressor.jpg

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   Gary as a fellow ex-telephone guy myself I can relate to your stories. I worked for Pacific Bell out in California. We called it "Gaffing out".  Slightly off topic, so I will make it quick. One day before we left the yard our safety officer pulled us aside for a briefing. Apparently someone had an accident climbing a stepped pole with their Gaffs on.  Step poles are the ones with the alternating perpendicular metal studs sticking out ever 18 inches or so. The last inch of the step has a 90 degree bend and is perpendicular to the pole. Apparently an employee's metal gaff slipped on the metal step and he fell off the pole. On the way down he caught his scrotum on the last inch of one of the steps.  I don't think they had a problem with anyone wearing their gaffs on a stepped pole after that. 

    OK back on topic. I did not use a ladder stabilizer. I know they are cheap and available at HD. I will by one for the next job. Thank you Chris and everyone else for being honest with me about the pros and cons of walking versus ladder/ground cleaning. I have only been doing this a year, and have already had some close calls walking on tile roofs. My technique has improved and most of my close calls happened when I was first getting started, but all it takes is one unforeseen variable to ruin your life. I think it's easier to control the variables with a ladder. 

       Now I want to ask some technical stuff. I haven't bought a membership yet, but plan on doing so soon. Right now I trying to stretch my money between advertising and equipment and I think winter/Holidays is putting a damper on things. I took Chris and Gary's advice and used the "slow roofing season" to pick up a nice compressor. I was able to get a Rol-air K17 pump for $200.00. It puts out about 10 CFM. Will that power a 1 inch air diaphragm pump?  Initially my thought was no, but after thinking about how I would be using it, maybe it would work? I am not going to run it wide open. I would climb the ladder then spray a section. While climbing the ladder the compressor would be storing energy in the form of high PSI in the 8 Gallon tanks. When I open the nozzle of course the compressor could not keep up long term, but the stored energy in the tanks might be enough to operate the pump for 20 seconds or so, which is about all I need to spray at any given time without moving. What do you think? 

      The compressor has a 6.5 HP Kohler engine, so if I don't have enough CFM for the one inch air diaphragm pump, I could get the Harbor Freight V  twin  for about  $150.00 (20% coupon). It puts out 15.2 CFM @90 PSI. It calls for a 5 HP motor but I think they are talking electric not gas? Could the 6.5 HP gas push that compressor pump? 

   Sorry for the long post. I type very fast and before I know it I have written an essay. I love getting responses, so hopefully someone writes back. Take Care. 

 

 

Rol air Compressor.jpg

I my opinion you will need a lot more to run a 1in pump to its max or even to get a "good" flow. In the paid section there is some great info on what CFM you need to run what pumps and white air lines should be used ect.. That would prob run a 1/2 pump decent but you will need a lot more CFM for a 1in set up in my opinion.

 

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The Green Air Compressor in the picture is a Rol Air, and has a good pump on it. It will run a 1/2 inch pump all day long. We use a 1/2 inch pump, and have for years.  Yes, a one inch pump is better, and will shoot farther, but we have very few really steep roofs here. Most are one story 6 to 8/12 pitch.  Why not use what ya got for now, go get a 1/2 inch pump and start making money ?

 

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WCP   

Chris, I am in Sarasota. I think you have gone as far south as University Ave? 99 Percent of all my jobs are further south. I have been using with the FB2, and won't use the air diaphragm setup until it's ready to go. I am not losing any money while I put the other system together, so I can take my time shopping for the pump.

    I have seen some great deals on some 1" pumps to where they are basically the same price as the 1/2 pumps. The ones I have seen are 1" inch used with Polypropylene bodies and santoprene diaphragms. I know that this is not as good PVDF and the Teflon diaphragm, but I've heard they work well and can handle to SH for a long time. I have seen the used 1" pumps for as low as $300.00. Even if I had to replace the diaphragm on a used one, I think it's something I can handle.  The question is would the Rol-AIr I have now drive it?  If I restricted the flow at the nozzle with a PVC shut off valve wouldn't it function just like a 1/2 pump? Then if I needed to say hit a distant peak for 10 seconds, I let the air build up then open the valve all the way for the 10 seconds to hit the peak. I am sure I will lose flow and pressure after a few seconds (not enough CFM with the Rol-Air)  but by that time I already put a film of mix where it needed to go? 

    These are all assumptions and red neck engineering guesses on my part. If everything I am saying is BS, let me know and I will just go for the 1/2 inch pump? Thank You

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Yes, the Rol Air compressor will drive a 1 inch pump, but not nearly to what it is capable of, as far as flow is concerned. I haqve put 1/2 gpm nozzles on 1 inch air pumps to mist soffits, so no worries about restricting flow on a large air pump. Rebuild kits cost a little more for larger pumps then for the 1/2 inch.

Either way, you will be fine. Apple Roof Cleaning was built on the back of a 1/2 inch Yamada, and that's what we still use. I own 4 of them :) 

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WCP   

I started out doing another roof from the ladder today and after a few minutes, I got frustrated and got on the roof. It really wasn't coming clean from the ladder. My mix was 60% H20/ 40%SH with a couple of scoops of Gain Ultra and half a large box of TSP. I don't understand why on some days, one coat is all it takes and on other days I need two or three coats?  I am not sure what the variable is? Is it the roof itself, maybe direct sunlight, strength of the raw SH.  I only do tile roof and 90 percent of those are concrete glazed tile (usually 15-20 year old roofs). Today I didn't have myrstamine  (ran out) so I substituted Gain Ultra. The one time my mixed seemed particularly "hot" was when I went to the supply in the afternoon and filled up right after the tanker delivered the SH. I actually talked to the truck driver and he said " yep I just pumped it from my tanker, so your're getting if fresh off my truck".  I wonder if the supply dilutes the SH? I think they are only allowed to sell 10 % SH, maybe they are watering the SH down in late afternoon and then first thing in the morning we are all buying diluted SH? Of course I have no proof and I don't want to be libel for false information. 

     Anyway on a positive note I had good results with the "Bull Frog" boots. It just seemed a lot easier to put on the extra coats from the roof versus the ladder. If I could knock it out in one coast using the ladder method, I would probably go for it, but there is no way I am moving a ladder around a house two or three times. If anyone has some info please help. 

 

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I agree that walking on a roof should be done with caution. Some types of roofs i.e. asphalt tend to be okay to walk, in most cases. But you'll agree that walking on a wood roof is not advised or recommended?

And the marketing of such makes good common sense to the home owner given the great potential that walking on a wood roof can cause great harm to the shakes.

Actually that is area dependent. In our area, we've found that is it literally impossible to clean a lot of cedar roofs without walking them. Because of the size, pitch and architecture of many of the homes in my area, you are going to be up on the wood roof. There are places where no matter what you do with the ladder, you cannot get the stream to some spots or the moss is just not going to come off during your rinsing. Assuming the roof is in reasonably good condition and you wet it first, it has not been a problem. The key is to either get trained by, or hire somebody who knows how to repair and install cedar roofs (I did the latter). Use Korkers, install and use safety anchors.

Added service is that you know how to operate safely on a cedar roof, you will be able to repair any damaged top caps, cracked, cupped, warped or missing shakes which are past the service life. It adds another dimension to the cleaning and turns it into a cedar roof maintenance. We developed a relationship with a small family run cedar mill who hand splits top notch cedar. I put their shingles on one of my rental properties and they are absolutely gorgeous! Way higher quality than what you get at the box stores. Obviously not available in all areas (much of the cedar roofing material comes from my area of the country), but if you have it locally, that is the way to go. 

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Hi Guys,

I haven't been on the forum for a few years, but I have a question, please.

For the last 8 years I ran a 1/2" Yamada AODD on my truck running a 1/2 yellow AG hose and 3/4" suction hose.  I was able to get 25'-30' with respect to distance.

I have upgraded to a 1" Yamada AODD this year and new 9HP 170 psi 18 CFM wheelbarrow compressor. My goal was to be able to hit steeper, higher roofs, easier.  I am still running the 1/2 AG hose and now have a 1 1/2" suction hose and shooting a 0060 nozzle for distance.  (was using a 0030 last year) and 1/2" ball valve.

I still run a 1/4" air hose from compressor to pump.

With all of these "upgrades"  I honestly dont notice much of a distance improvement.  I am able to get more chemical in terms of volume, but I would think that I should also be generating alot more distance.  I have ordered a 5/8 hose with identically is backordered......any ideas would be appreciated. 

 

Thank you as always,

Brad Iannacchione

Soapy Roof Inc.

 

 

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A 1" pump *can * give you more output and thus potentially more distance....but it needs the right setup to do so. 

Going to a larger orifice nozzle will reduce your distance, switching back to the 040 should give you a further reach. However, you may stall the pump with an 040 with your setup or reduce the flow as the pump goes into partial stall. 

Two reasons for this are that: 

1) You are a bit under aired on your 1" pump, though that pump should still give you more output than the 1/2" pump with a proper setup and...

2) You are way too restricted on your spray hose sizing. 

The second factor is primarily what is cutting your distance. 1/2" spray line puts you at 50% restriction on your output and that cuts your flow at the spray end. When you restrict the line this much, it raises the head pressure on the discharge side. This requires much more cfm to compensate for. Take a look at the performance curve for your pump at 17 CFM and look at the flow at 60 PSI vs 100 PSI. Chances are you are over 100 PSI. 

You are also too restricted on your air line. NDP-25s have a 3/8" input and since it is little more expensive, a 1/2" airline is what I recommend for all my 1" pump customers. 

You want a 3/4" spray line for a 1" pump. Water management is also very important as the CFM throughput rises. 

Do you by chance still have your 1/2" pump? If so, try to put it on with the current setup. AODD pumps are all about CFM and that compressor would  would maximize the output of that pump and you might find yiurself getting more distance. 

 

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