Here’s an introduction to how to clean your siding.
After a long, hard winter, a clean siding is a quick and inexpensive way to brighten up the exterior of your home. Just make sure you choose an appropriate cleaning method that won’t damage your siding and still remove dirt and stains.
Follow these tips to successfully clean the siding and keep it looking great for longer.
Wash under pressure or not wash under pressure?
There is a lot of debate about whether or not you can safely clean the siding with a pressure washer. What’s the answer?
Yes, it is very possible to pressurize the siding without causing damage if you keep three points in mind:
1. Use the correct pressure. A pressure washer is great for hard surfaces like asphalt, but is dangerous for softer items like window bars. Wood and vinyl siding falls somewhere in the middle, which means power washing can be great – at low pressure (1,300-1,500 PSI), with a wide tip on the pressure bar, and very carefully.
2. Avoid possible water damage. If the pressure washer is handled incorrectly, a powerful jet of water can be directed under the siding, which is very bad news.
3. Don’t put yourself at risk. Consider the height of your home. For you as an amateur, maneuvering a pressure washer on a ladder is dangerous. A telescopic pole with a support strap can help you wash the pressure higher, but it is expensive.
RECOMMENDATION: If the siding is lightly soiled, DIY cleaning with a garden hose works well. If you have stubborn stains or a multi-story home, hire a pressure wash professional.
How to clean certain types of soil
– Surface dirt and dust. Apply a cleaning solution of dish soap and warm water with a hand-held garden sprayer. Gently scrub with a soft brush. A pole-mounted brush will help you clean the siding higher up. Rinse with your garden hose.
– Mold, mildew and algae. Like above, clean it and scrub it from side to side. If this is not enough, wash with mild bleach or an oxygen bleach solution. (Test this cleaning solution on an inconspicuous part first. Do not apply bleach to the aluminum siding as this can change the color.)
– oxidation. Vinyl siding is prone to fading and oxidation, resulting in a chalky appearance. Clean the siding; Then apply a vinyl restoration product according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Severely faded vinyl can be painted with acrylic on the outside.
– soot. First, wipe any loose soot off your siding with a dry broom. Then, wipe the area with a dry-clean soot sponge. Then apply a commercially available soot remover or degreaser. The final step is to rinse.
– graffiti. The sooner you remove graffiti from your siding, the easier it will be to clean. Apply a solvent with a clean rag, being careful not to smear the graffiti paint or marker. (The next time you paint your house, consider a high gloss finish that is more resistant to vandalism.)
Simple tips for maintaining the siding
1. Clean the siding every 1-2 years, more often in humid climates that promote powdery mildew and algae. The best time of year is spring to remove winter debris.
2. Immediately repair any siding that is loose, cracked, dented, or otherwise damaged.
3. Paint and seal or paint the exterior of your home on a regular basis (unless you have vinyl siding that doesn’t need finishing).
4. Prune nearby trees and shrubs to prevent sap stains and mold.
5. Grill at least 10 feet from the house. The heat from your grill is especially dangerous on wood, aluminum, and vinyl siding.
6. Position lawn sprinklers so that their spray does not hit your exterior walls.
7. Regularly clean your gutters and adjust the downspouts so that rain and melted snow drain from the siding.
Laura Firszt writes for networx.com.