The scariest part of your exteriors project is over. Style Exteriors has just finished installing your new siding (vinyl, James Hardie, LP, Cedar Shake, etc) and you can't recognize your home. It looks like a brand-new home. You give Style a five-star review and then what? Well, we will tell you what! It's time to maintain your new beautiful siding. You might think that maintaining it will be expensive and a lot of hard work. But it is not. Well, it is a bit of hard work, but it would be more cost-effective than getting brand-new siding 5 years down the road. If you are looking to expand the life of your new investment here are a few tips on how to maintain your brand-new siding!
Although vinyl siding doesn’t rot or wear in the same way as wood, it can crack or puncture. You can keep your siding in good shape by trimming shrubbery and trees away from the house so they don’t mark the material. If a section does become badly damaged, you’ll have to replace it.
Use a stiff bristle brush and soapy water to scrub vinyl siding, then rinse with clear water.© Greg Mcgill | Dreamstime.com
Vinyl color is not a surface coating but permeates the material, so the color won’t wear away. If you don’t like the color of your vinyl siding, you can paint it. Two coats of 100% acrylic latex paint are recommended for a sound finish. But keep in mind that if you do paint your siding, you will need to repaint it periodically, the same way that board siding has to be.
The most time-consuming—but thorough-way to wash all types of siding, from wood to vinyl, is with sudsy water, a hose, and a stiff-bristle nylon scrub brush screwed onto the end of a telescoping pole. For lower parts of the siding, you can just handhold the scrub brush.To make the work much, much easier, you can consider “power washing” it with a pressure washer, but only if you have vinyl, steel, or aluminum siding. Even with these, you have to be very careful not to damage the finish or the siding itself—a pressure washer can actually dent aluminum siding, and it can peel the finish off of any siding. While pressure washing done right can be a viable alternative to hand scrubbing, be aware that it may end up being the first step to re-painting your house if not done with care and skill.
Rinse with clear water as you finish each 20-foot section. Scrub in line with the siding panels (horizontally for typical lap siding).
Hand scrubbing a house is a big job. And the bigger your house, the more you are going to feel like you are in training. If your home is more than a single level, be sure you follow all ladder safety precautions. (For more about this, see Ladder Safety.)
If your siding is made of wood, brick, stucco, or has been painted with paint that may contain lead, don’t use a pressure washer as it can cause the paint to peel, erode the surface, and drive water into the interior of the walls. To hand scrub siding, mix TSP or a non-phosphate substitute with water according to label directions (often about 1/2 pound TSP to 2 gallons of water). Choose a bucket that the brush will easily fit into. Then, wearing rubber gloves and any other protective gear recommended on the detergent label, scrub the siding from the top-down, working in areas about 20 feet wide and the full height of the wall. If possible, work in the shade.