Many homeowners that change the exterior covering of their house often consider the care and maintenance that will be required for upkeep, when making the decision of what type of covering to choose.
Wood siding requires staining and weatherproofing to prevent graying and rot, brick or stone is low maintenance but very expensive, and vinyl siding is often the most popular choice for houses, being cost-effective and easy to care for. The problem is that most people think no maintenance at all is required for vinyl siding. Not true. Here are some tips how to keep vinyl siding looking like new.
You can wash vinyl siding by hand or using a long-handled bristle brush. Soaps that clean well include Fantasik, Murphys Oil Soap and Lysol, and these soaps will help remove hard-to-clean dirt, such as oil or grass. A good solution to make at home is dish soap or laundry detergent diluted in warm water.
Many homeowners want to know how to renew vinyl siding that is stained by grass or mildew, and an easy recipe that does the trick is to combine one quart of bleach with three-quarters of a gallon of water, and add some laundry detergent.
How to Wash Your Siding
If you have textured siding, you may want to use a softer type of brush to help keep grooves clean. Regardless of which cleaning solution you use, start washing your siding from the bottom of the house, working your way upwards, and when you rinse off, start at the top and let the runoff flow downwards. The washing method changes slightly with a power washer.
If you are using this piece of equipment- blasting away dirt and residue with the water spray- then avoid damage from water infiltration by always directing the jet of spray towards eye level or downwards. Never shoot the spray up, as the water can get underneath the siding and collect in behind.
Mildew Stains or Mold
Vinyl can sometimes get black or grayish mildew and removing these stains with soap and water is tough. Small areas can usually be dealt with using Fantasik or Windex. If the areas that need cleaning are fairly large, vinegar and water make an excellent cleaner for mold and mildew and are environmentally friendly.
The ratio to use is 30 parts vinegar to 70 parts water. Powdered laundry detergent can also help remove tough mildew and liquid bleach is also something tough on stains. Always dilute strong cleaners and solvents in water.
Painting as a Last Resort
Many homeowners decide that their outdoor siding has gone beyond cleaning or want to change the color of their home. Painting vinyl siding can be an option if you do not want to take the time to find how to clean vinyl siding properly, but check with the manufacturer before slapping on a new color.
Requently, manufacturers void warranties for vinyl siding if the homeowner applies paint. You should also be aware that some types of siding do not accept paint well to begin with, leaving the homeowner with peeling walls.
Image by Jeffrey Peeden