Roof Cleaning Certification – The latest fad in a growing industry
Roof cleaning is an emerging market that has seen some explosive growth over the last few years. With this growth, comes a whole crop of new roof cleaning companies run by innovative entrepreneurs, brimming with ideas on improving the industry.
Some keen businessmen have used the opportunity created by this growth, to establish roof cleaning certification programs. Whether or not these programs are viable, is a legitimate question for consumers looking to have their roofs cleaned.
In this article, we will examine a few types of certifications along with a quick synopsis of proper roof cleaning methods.
It is very important to note that there is no recognized or accepted certification process in the roof cleaning industry.
The standards for these roof cleaning certification programs are set by the owners of the certification websites and are not recognized by state or local authorities. They are nothing more than “for profit” organizations that make money issuing these internet based certifications.
Let’s start with a look at roof cleaning and the proper cleaning methods for achieving the desired results. The black stains on most asphalt roofs can be safely cleaned by any professional roof cleaning company using low pressure.
There is only one method for properly cleaning a roof that is approved and endorsed by all shingle manufacturers.
It involves the use of low pressure and a light bleach solution. The Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association (ARMA), “a trade association that represents the majority of shingle manufacturing companies and their raw material suppliers”, issued a technical systems bulletin outlining the procedure. Just about every professional roof cleaning company uses this low pressure method, perhaps, marketing it in different ways and with different terminologies. Companies that use alternative methods to clean roofs, usually find it difficult to obtain business insurance.
Never, under any circumstances, should you allow a company to use a pressure washer to clean your roof. It literally destroys it. See more about this in the blog section of our website.
There are 3 basic types of certification programs: Internet training certification, product based certification and classroom hands-on training.
Internet training certification
These are by far the most prevalent certification programs out there today. They are the easiest to operate and will generate the most money for the owner. Most of these certification programs are set up as private, internet chat boards or bulletin boards, with forums for discussing low pressure roof cleaning techniques, chemicals and equipment. For a fee, the neophyte roof cleaner can get into the site to glean information and mystical knowledge from the owners of the board and other roof cleaners who have paid to be there.
At some point along the way, after the trainee has met the standard for the requisite number of posts and submitted pictures of completed work, an oral test is administered. It is usually done over the phone, and if the candidate passes, (I really wonder how many fail) a tee shirt along with the certificate goes out in the next day’s mail. The newly certified roof cleaner can then proudly display the “certified roof cleaner” logo on their website.
While the internet certifications are not scams per se, they do have an infomercial feel and tend to attract and draw in, aspiring roof cleaners with promises of trade secrets and information about roof cleaning that is already freely available on the internet. The fancy logo, along with a well-designed website, could fool potential customers into hiring an internet trained, roof cleaning contractor, who really does not have that much roof cleaning experience.
There are a couple of other roof cleaning certifications that can be purchased online as well. You will pay a membership fee to join the organization whereupon you receive a free test that will get you a certificate, or just send them some money and the certificate comes in the mail. Very nice, very easy way to get certified you must admit.
Product based certifications
There are only a few of these out there but they are worth mentioning. The products are usually “green” and supposedly considered environmentally safe. We have not really looked into certification requirements, but I am guessing it involves a fee and the purchase of their products to do the cleaning
There is a reason why there are only a few of these programs out there. The chemicals they are selling are usually oxygen based cleaners, or they contain sodium hydroxide.
There are a lot of things that oxygen based products will clean, but roofs is not one of them. If you think about it, how will a “green” product that is not going to harm your plants and shrubs, kill algae on your roof?
Sodium hydroxide is caustic and highly dangerous. It used to be very popular years ago, but the danger involved with its use, along with the cumbersome cleaning process, pushed it to the wayside. There are some companies out there today, pushing to revive it and marketing it as an “eco-friendly” product.
Both of these cleaning agents require the roof cleaner to remove the algae with a pressure washer or a concrete surface cleaner in order to complete the job. There is some slick marketing behind these products, but the bottom line is that they need to get on the roof and use high pressure to remove the algae.
They are not very popular programs and professional roof cleaning companies tend to shy away from the products and the companies that represent them.
These certification programs are usually taught on site in a classroom environment. There are a couple of very good ones out there that teach the low pressure methods recommended by ARMA.
The trainees pay a fee to attend and are trained by an instructor who has been in the industry and has a certain degree of roof cleaning experience. The classes usually cover the roof cleaning business as a whole, and provide some hands on field training where the trainees go out and actually clean a few roofs.
As the industry is growing, these programs are coming and going in a rapid fashion. The real challenge for the newly certified roof cleaner is to get the logo on their website before the program goes out of business, or changes the program name and requirements for certification.
The certifications are really nothing more than a gimmick or a marketing tool these companies can use. All kinds of new terms such as “low pressure”, “no pressure”, “non-pressure” and “soft washing” are popping up on their websites. To be sure, Webster’s thesaurus is getting a good workout as the newer companies struggle to differentiate themselves within their market.
When hiring a roof cleaning contractor, you always want to ask questions;
- Are they insured?
- What cleaning method do they use?
- How long have they been in business?
- The big question would be, how many roofs have you actually cleaned.
You want to look for a company that has experience, longevity and is using low pressure cleaning methods.
Roof Refresh is a locally owned, roof cleaning company located in Raleigh, North Carolina. We provide roof stain removal service for Raleigh, Cary, Apex, Wake Forest, Youngsville, Clayton and Garner NC. We use safe, low pressure cleaning methods, to safely clean your roof and our insurance company requires us to use the low pressure methods recommended by ARMA. We do not have any roof cleaning certifications, nor is it a goal to which we aspire. We clean hundreds of roofs each year and rely on that experience to provide our customers with the highest level of service.