How to Maintain and Clean Vinyl Siding
Homeowners who choose vinyl siding do so for a number of reasons. It can quickly improve the appearance of the home, it raises the property value and it is available in a large array of colors. It is also a very low-maintenance product. Of course, low maintenance and no maintenance are two different things, and people should be aware that to keep their home looking beautiful, there are still some things they will need to do.
Seasonal Cleaning Suggestions
Spot cleaning every few months is needed on many homes. The siding in shaded areas is prone to algae growth and houses next to busy roadways experience more dust. Cobwebs and bird’s nests are a common sight around lighting fixtures and in the eaves of the home. These items are all easy to clean if they are done regularly. The majority can be removed with a gently brush with a broom, or by rinsing with a garden hose. If a particular stain is more difficult, like with algae, washing the area with a water/vinegar mixture and a rag should be enough to clean the siding adequately. Avoid using chlorine bleach because it could be harmful to the siding and it may kill the landscaping it comes in contact with.
Deep Cleaning Tips
Occasionally siding will need more attention than spot cleaning will provide. For most homes this type of cleaning will need to be done annually. Homes that are in low-dust areas and do not have trees near the house may look fine with a deep cleansing once every couple of years. Typically people turn to pressure washers, but this is a risky method. Pressure washers can dent or split siding and if the hose is angled incorrectly, it can loosen the individual slats and potentially cause water damage beneath the siding.
In almost every instance the siding can be adequately cleaned with a long handled, soft-bristled brush and a hose. Mix hot water and a household all-purpose cleaner in a mop bucket, dip the brush into the water and gently scrub, working horizontally to prevent loosening the siding. Rinse thoroughly with the hose and repeat if needed. If gardens or other landscaping are a worry, consider using eco-friendly multi-purpose commercial cleaners.
Pressure Washing Tips
If choosing to use a pressure washer, take time to become familiar with the equipment prior to using on the house. Wash the walkway, scrub the driveway or clean the sidewalk in front of the home first. Read all of the instructions and work slowly when starting on the house. Avoid pointing upward to prevent water loosening the siding and getting water underneath. Avoid using around doorways, windows and lighting fixtures.
Vinyl Siding Repairs and Maintenance
No matter how high-quality a material is, at some point it will need maintenance. Regularly inspect and tighten any siding that may be loose or have gaps. Check closely around windows and doors, as these areas are the most common spots where loose siding is found. After any wind storms, look for damage. Siding that has cracked, split or has any holes should be replaced before the material beneath becomes damage.
Avoiding Damaged Siding
Avoid scrubbing tough stains like mold or tree sap with rough products like steel wool. These could scratch the surface. Instead, soak these areas with a cleaning product and allow it to sit for several minutes before washing off. Protect siding when using pesticides, stains or other materials around the exterior of the home. Keep barbecue grills and fire pits away from the house to prevent the siding from warping or becoming stained with soot.
Cleaning siding and repairing and replacing the occasional damaged piece are tasks that most homeowners can handle on their own. By taking the extra time every few months to maintain the exterior of the home, it is possible to save a great deal of money over time and keep the home looking its best. Regular cleaning and inspections are an important step for maintaining a valuable investment.