How to walk on a roof

Discussion in 'Chit Chat & Introductions' started by cwignall, Jul 19, 2011.

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  1. cwignall

    cwignall Guest

    Hi All

    First post...must say after reading some of the current threads this seems like a very useful resource!

    Im a relatively new window cleaner...been doing it for years as a part time income but only a handful of customers.

    Ive gotten over my fear of the ladder falling etc and I have made it as safe as i can but i still have trouble with roofs and although my customers are happy with me, i still feel bad having to leave the odd window because of roof access.

    its not even so much my own safety as i dont want to break the roof! The main one in mind is a red tiled roof (the ones with the curved shape) its a solid house but the roof creaks when i step on it. this could be normal.

    Whats the theory as to how to walk on a roof safely? on the gaps, ridges etc or what?

    thanks in advance

  2. Hinty

    Hinty Well-Known Member

    Mar 12, 2011
    Likes Received:
    This is only my personal view - but:

    Ideally - don't go up there at all. (can you do it from the inside)

    2nd best - use a traditional pole (get a harris pole for about £20 from B&Q) - use this for fitting your squeegee / applicator to - and do it from a ladder at the gutter level.

    If you feel you absolutely have to walk on the roof - try to walk on the lower edge of the tiles - leaving about 1 1/2 inches between the side of your foot and the lower edge of the tile.

    Years ago - before I went over to water fed pole, I used a section of ladder - with bags stuffed with hay gaffer taped to the underside (4" thick) - and used it as a walkway. This worked well, but was a performance setting it up.

    NEVER EVER go up the roof if it is wet.

    Would also advise getting customer to sign a disclaimer against damage.

    Don't even think about walking up conservatory roof's.

    Might be worth getting a DI resin vessel fro ebay - about £30, harris pole £20, resin £15, brush £20 : £85, and do it with a reach and wash pole using customer outside tap, through the resin to the pole. Use sparingly on those impossible windows & the resin should last well (TDS about 350, using a 7 litre vessel should give you a good 450 litres. Using 1.5 litres per minute, assuming that as you are not practiced it might take you a bit longer - say 3 minutes per window, would be 4.5 litres. This means that you could do about 100 windows, for a cost of about £25 in resin, or 25p per window).

    Be careful.

  3. Totally agree with dave, never go on a roof when wet!!!!

    Before i had a wfp i used to go on roof all the time never on the old stile slate ones though, if you are going on the roof make sure the angle is not too steep and don't walk near any over hanging tiles at the edges as they will snap very easily, i learned this the hard way. Agree with the customer as well that you take no responsibility for any damage caused to the roof.

    You say the roof is making noises when you step on it if so stay off it this is not normal, your cheapest option is buyiing an extendable pole, you'll get a 3 metre one from the window clean centre for around £30 however its a lot harder to get a perfect finish

  4. nearlyclean


    Dec 20, 2010
    Likes Received:
    Wouldn't recommend walking on roofs never mind damage to the roof if you fall you and your family could be in trouble.
    Best method is with a pole attach a wagtail squeegee you can get okay results this way and stay safe.
    I agree with dave and look to invest in some water fed pole equipment could open up other opportunities for you work wise
  5. cwignall

    cwignall Guest

    Thanks for the advice guys.

    That waterfed idea is defo food for thought. I remember a mate of mine showing me something similar in the back of his car for hard to reach windows. Thought it was going to be an expense and lots of gear but seems to be a good idea.

    ill check it out.

    thanks for the advice. [hr]
    Just a question on the DI system.

    is there any detergent involved or is it just water? some windows i have in mind are a bit grim so may need a bit more...
  6. Hinty

    Hinty Well-Known Member

    Mar 12, 2011
    Likes Received:
    Just water will be fine - it will surprise you how well they clean up.

    Some may need a couple of minutes soak, and then a scrub.

    If you have any that are really not coming clean, you can dip the brush in a bucket of detergent, and then carry on as before.


  7. No one house is worth your life/ health. I would politely tell them there are windows you cannot clean. If they are decent then they will understand if not get rid.

    You are no good to anyone with broken body parts.
  8. Walking on a roof can be dangerous, but if it is necessary, here are some things to do to make it easier and safer.
    1. Get a safe access to the roof.
    2. Tie off your ladder if you use one.
    3. Choose shoes that will grip the roof surface.
    4. Use a safety harness and lanyard for steep, high, or slippery roofs.
  9. white-light

    white-light Guest

    i always did a lot of work on roofs and never ever found one that creaked so avoid it like the plague , others here have already answered well i remember trying the straw filled bag route but ended up with cushions in plastic bags and had it so i could easily fit them to a ladder section as it is all about spreading the weight , but make sure you tell customer they pay for any accidental damage you do..most will say ok leave them then.