We’ve already gone into great detail about the chemicals, products, and solutions involved with roof stain removal, but aspiring contractors often ask us for advice regarding the actual tools of the trade. So, we decided to put together a basic list of roof cleaning equipment that will help to get you up and running. This isn’t meant to be totally comprehensive. Ultimately, you’ll need to make your own decisions about which supplies are beneficial and which ones are superfluous.
First and foremost, you’ll need a trailer to haul your gear. We’ve seen several examples where a roof cleaner successfully jammed all of his equipment into the bed of a pickup, but life will be a lot easier if you can afford a trailer. Affixed to the trailer (or truck) should be a ladder rack and a few extension ladders. A moonlighter rack will usually suffice if you can’t afford a full-size.
You should have at least one large poly tank strapped down to the trailer. If you’re just starting out then a 100 or 125-gallon tank should do the trick. These can be found at Tractor Supply, but if you want to save a few dollars then consider purchasing online. You’ll run through an average of 60 gallons of chemical solution per job, so a tank of this size should be able to get you through two jobs before a refill.
Next, you’ll need to purchase a pump to transfer fluid from the tank up to the roof surface. We recommend the Delavan PowerFLO 5800 Series. It can push up to 5.3 gpm at 60 psi. This little beauty will need to be powered by a deep cycle marine battery, which, like the tank, can also be found at Tractor Supply. The pump itself will most likely need to be purchased from an online retailer. Ideally, you would have two pumps in case one gives out in the middle of a job.
Now, as for the transfer of the roof cleaning chemicals, you need to find two 100′ pieces of clear, poly-braided tubing. The ideal diameter would be 5/8″ for maximum flow. Run a five foot piece from the tank to the pump, and the rest of the line out of the other side. This will give you plenty of line for those hard-to-reach roof sections. Better to have too much length than too little. Connect the two pieces with a chemical-resistant fitting. If you can afford a hosereel then great, but it’s not absolutely necessary in the early stages.
At the end of the hose should be a poly gun assembly. Our assembly of choice has a trigger gun, a 12″ poly lance, a 45 degree elbow, and a 1/4″ coupler to handle an assortment of tips. Find a setup that you’re most comfortable with, but just make sure that all the materials consist of poly plastic or stainless steel. A simple plastic gun from Home Depot will not do – the solution will eat through that stuff in no time!
Of course there are lots of other miscellaneous items that you will need to get the job done. You’ll need a few water hoses for rinsing, a couple buckets for storage and dilution, and a large tarp in case plants need to be covered. A ladder stand-off would also be a smart addition if you can swing it.
Last, but not least, you need to invest in safety equipment. Let me repeat that. YOU NEED TO INVEST IN SAFETY EQUIPMENT. Roof cleaning is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world, and if you’re not prepared for the inherent risks then you are just asking for trouble. Please take the time to read our post that is dedicated to roof cleaning safety products.
Those are the basics for setting up a roof cleaning rig, but as time goes on you will define your own style and methods that may require specialized tools and gear to make the jobs easier. At the end of the day it’s about finding a system that works for you and is safe for everyone involved.