Vinyl siding is one of the most popular choices for siding because it is virtually maintenance free as well as extremely durable. Vinyl is a great choice for homeowners that don’t have a lot of time for home maintenance as well as for those that need a durable option either due to weather or their individual lifestyle.
Precautions to Take with Vinyl Siding
Heat – Vinyl siding contracts in the winter and expands in the summer. If vinyl siding is installed by an inexperienced siding contractor, it may buckle due to contraction and expansion. Any type of heat source that homeowners typically use outdoors should be kept a good distance away from the vinyl siding on their home to avoid the risk of melting the vinyl siding.
Scratches – In order to keep scratches at a minimum, avoid leaning anything against your vinyl siding including ladders or yard tools. In the case that you do need to lean a ladder against the siding, wrap the top of the ladder in soft cloth to prevent the edges from scratching your vinyl siding.
While vinyl siding is virtually maintenance free, there are certain steps that should be taken periodically to help the beauty of your vinyl siding last for many years to come.
The easiest way to maintain your vinyl siding is to commit to hosing it down once a year. All it takes is your standard garden hose; spray your vinyl siding down from top to bottom to get rid of the natural accumulation of dirt and debris. If you keep up with hosing down your vinyl siding at least twice a year, you will avoid the buildup of dirt and grime that needs a harsher cleaning than simply rinsing with the hose. It also helps to preserve the natural beauty of your vinyl siding for a longer period of time.
Cleaning Problem Spots
If you have let your vinyl siding go without a hose down for quite a while, you run the risk of dirt and grime buildup that cannot be removed by simply hosing it down. Cleaning problem spots on your vinyl siding just take a few extra steps to complete.
Regular Dirt and Grime
To remove a buildup of dirt and grime, a mix of laundry detergent and water and a soft bristled brush will remove the dirt.
Mold or Mildew
In the event of mold or mildew on your vinyl siding, it is safe to use a mixture of vinegar and water or even bleach and water, using one part bleach to six parts water. If the mold or mildew buildup is very bad and this bleach solution doesn’t remove it, it is safe to use a solution with only three parts water.
Preparations to Take Before Cleaning
Try to wash your vinyl siding on days that there isn’t direct sunlight hitting your siding. Protect any landscaping and furniture by covering them with drop cloths. It’s also a good idea to turn the power off to any electrical items as well as cover any electrical outlets with plastic and duct tape or any other means to keep the water out of the outlet.
Cleaning the Siding
Working in small sections, gently scrub your siding side to side to remove the dirt and grime, taking care to move in horizontal motions to get all of the dirt in one section. After scrubbing the dirt and grime, immediately rinse it with the garden hose to permanently remove the dirt and grime as well as to avoid the chance of the cleaning solution drying onto the siding, leaving a residue stain. As a final step, rinse the entire side of the siding you are working on down, from top to bottom to be sure that all residue is removed, leaving you with beautiful, shiny siding.
If you prefer to buy cleaners specifically made for cleaning the outside of homes, you’ll have a wide selection of choices at your local hardware store. These store-bought kits typically attach right to the garden hose and don’t involve any mixing of cleaners or scrubbing. One precaution to take before using this type of cleaner is to take notice of any mold or mildew building on your siding, as the commercial cleaners will not remove it. If you notice any mold or mildew simply use a small amount of bleach on the area. If the problem disappears, then it was mildew that you removed.
After removing any mold or mildew, simply attach your store bought cleaner to your hose, following the manufacturer’s directions. Spray the house in the same fashion as stated above, working horizontally. Take care to avoid directly spraying windows because these cleaners will leave a residue on your windows. After cleaning, make sure to rinse the house down with clean water from the garden hose.