Imagine: you’re relaxing outside on your porch on a beautiful summer’s day. Looking around your yard, you can’t help but admire your wonderful landscaping. The trees are in bloom, the flowers are colorful, and your house’s siding looks… green?
Pollen, dirt, and all sorts of grime can build up over time, leaving your home looking like a lackluster version of its former self. Luckily, for homeowners who have a house with vinyl siding, this problem is easily fixable… as long as it’s done right!
One of the great things about vinyl siding is its beauty, durability and ease of maintenance. So if you find yourself standing outside and thinking, “I could’ve sworn my house was white,” then it’s time to add vinyl siding to your spring cleaning list. Here are five tips for cleaning and maintaining your home’s vinyl siding.
1. Break Out Your Rag And Bucket On A Regular Schedule
Vinyl is a lot easier to maintain that its cedar or brick cousins, but over time, siding naturally accumulates dirt, grime, and grit. And if your home has any damp, shady areas, your vinyl siding may become a haven for mold and mildew. While it may be tempting to put off cleaning until next spring, leaving everything to build up only makes it more difficult to remove. Most vinyl siding manufacturers recommend washing it with a soft cloth or a long-handled, soft bristle brush at least once a year.
To help your siding sparkle and shine, start at the bottom of your home and work your way up. Be careful to rinse off any cleaning solution before it dries to avoid staining or damaging the vinyl and be conscious of any runoff from the cleaning solution.
By covering things that could be affected by runoff, such as brick facing or plants, flowers, and shrubbery, both your home and garden will be in top shape for summer.
2. Read, Then Reread Labels
Not all cleaning solutions are created equal. Your dish soap may work wonders on the plates from pizza night, but putting it on the stubborn stain on your vinyl siding may actually do more harm than good.
Before breaking out your favorite cleanser, take a look at the product’s ingredients. Generally, anything that contains organic solvents, undiluted chlorine bleach, liquid grease remover, nail polish remover, or furniture polish or cleaners should be avoided at all costs. These ingredients can actually ruin the surface of the siding.
For those who prefer to use more organic cleaning methods, combining 30% vinegar and 70% water in a large bucket makes an all-natural and effective cleaning solution.
After you’ve made sure your cleaning agent is safe to use, hose down the siding to remove any loose debris then begin washing. After you’re finished, rinse away the solution to find siding with a factory fresh feel.
3. Watch Out For Potential Dangers
No, we’re not warning about lions, tigers, or bears. In fact, your lawn mower poses more of a danger to your vinyl siding than a bear does. Accidentally hitting the siding with a lawn mower (or a rock thrown from one), bike, or even a soccer ball gone awry can cause it to crack or break, which can make your home’s infrastructure susceptible to moisture-related damages.
To prevent cracks or breaks from forming, be mindful about where you place certain objects. That soccer goal up against the house? Maybe place it a little further out in the yard.
It’s also important to look for things that could potentially damage your siding that may be growing right in your yard. For example, if you have a tree growing in close proximity to the side of your house, trim the leaves and branches so that they don’t scrape or damage the siding.
Siding can also be damaged by heat, so keep your grill and other flammable substances a good distance away from the house to prevent heat and fire damage.
And watch out for insecticides, herbicides, fertilizers and other common yard chemicals that may stain or discolor siding.
By taking measures to prevent damage from occurring, your siding will stay looking new for much longer.
4. Inspect It For Cracks Or Breaks
No matter how careful you are, sometimes things go wrong. Perhaps a storm in your area caused a piece of siding to come loose, or wear and tear over time caused cracks to form. Either way, you may not notice these damages until it’s too late to do anything about them.
Loose areas, cracks, or breaks can leave your home exposed to moisture and mold. By inspecting for damages at the beginning of spring and the end of fall, you can replace damaged portions quickly and save yourself from shelling out big bucks to fix infrastructure issues later.
5. Be Wary Of Pressure Washers
Pressure washers can help remove built up grime and mildew, and get the job done faster than washing siding by hand. However, using a power washer to clean your siding can be risky business.
Some vinyl manufacturers’ products aren’t compatible with pressure washing. Others may allow it with their siding, but recommend limitations on the amount of pressure and the types of cleaners that can be used. So before breaking out the power washer, be sure to read the siding manufacturers’ recommendations.
Vinyl siding lasts longer, is easier to keep looking like new and can save you money in the long run over other types of home exteriors. And with a little TLC yours can add value to your home for years to come.
Do you have questions about vinyl siding or its maintenance? Need some repairs or upgrades? Contact us and we’ll come out to your home for a free estimate.