When do you clean vinyl siding? If your Twin Cities home is graced with dependable, economical vinyl siding, you probably know it needs cleaning every now and then. But exactly how to clean vinyl siding may be a mystery. We can show you how and when to best clean your vinyl siding. Do it right and extend its life; do it wrong and risk mold and other problems.
Why would a Twin Cities homeowner want to clean vinyl siding? Lighter colors tend to show dirt faster and more than darker colors, so our bright yellow house may now look, well, dingy.
A good periodic cleaning can boost your home’s curb appeal, make your family feel proud of your home, and help the siding last longer.
Before you tackle a cleaning project for your home’s vinyl siding, make sure you know how to do the job correctly. Caring for vinyl siding using improper techniques risks a lot:
- Water infiltration leading to mold and mildew
- Loosened siding pieces requiring professional repair
- Split, cracked, or damaged siding pieces requiring professional replacement
Once you start cleaning your vinyl siding, you must finish the job within a reasonable time so you do not risk color mismatch due to fading and chemical discoloration.
If your siding has damage, make all necessary repairs before cleaning. You may need vinyl siding professionals to attend to repairs, especially if the work involves heights.
When to Clean
Ideally, consider cleaning your Twin Cities home’s vinyl siding annually, in spring or early summer. Avoid the hottest days to prevent sudsy water from drying on the surface; avoid cold days to prevent chapped hands and prolonged drying times.
If annual cleaning is a bit too much (and you do not want to enlist professional cleaners), clean the vinyl siding when you notice vertical streaks, splashed mud, grime, or discoloration from mold and mildew.
Often, after major rain storms or a heavy winter, your siding will show how much it has suffered. A good cleaning will revive it and lift your spirits.
How to Clean
We know you thirst for that pressure washer, but if possible, avoid it. An incorrectly used pressure washer can drive water through siding seams and into your exterior wall sheathing, leading to moisture problems, mold, and mildew. The water can also soak into insulation board that may be present beneath the siding. Some siding warranties can be voided if you use a pressure washer to clean the material.
Instead of a pressure washer, use a garden hose directing water downward, a scrub brush (like a car cleaning brush on a handle) and a bucket of water and dish detergent. A cup or two of kitchen-grade vinegar in the water can help break up tough stains and kill mold. Clean manageable, small areas so the suds cannot dry on the surface before rinsing.
Say you have a 12-foot high exterior wall. Wet down the entire wall. Rewet the top six feet and work the area, rinsing constantly. Work your way down the wall, rinsing constantly to avoid streaks or grime deposits left on the lower part.
Water that washes down from the top will never be flowing into a freshly cleaned area using this technique. If you keep the entire wall wet, you will not be left with streaks or light spots when the wall dries.
Worried about your landscaping? Look for environmentally friendly vinyl siding cleaners and non-toxic, biodegradable cleaners such as baking soda and oxygen bleach. Working on warm days allows you to be liberal with water so any runoff is thoroughly diluted.
Clean or Replace?
Dark siding colors fade over time and show dust easily. Light siding colors fade and also show dirt and grime readily. All colors of siding require cleaning, but you may be disappointed in the results of several weekends of hard work.
Eventually, you will be “cleaning” your vinyl siding by removing not just its superficial dirt, but also its paint and protective finish. If your brush takes on a slight tinge of your siding color, that is a sign the siding has reached the end of its useful life.
Your best strategy is to consider sparkling new, replacement vinyl siding expertly installed by skilled technicians. Siding is never a do-it-yourself job, so rely on a local, trustworthy siding contractor.
Modern siding options often include far better insulation choices than when your siding was installed 15, 20, or 30 years ago. Insulated foam backer board is one improvement you can consider when opting for new vinyl siding. It will bring big savings on energy costs.Your Twin Cities home deserves the protection and services brought by Midwest Roofing Siding & Windows. Contact us today to see all we can do to provide you with vinyl siding and other exterior services you can depend on.