No matter what climate you live in, your home’s siding is your first line of defense against the outdoors. By keeping your siding clean and regularly maintained, you can help prevent the erosion of your exterior paint and protect your siding’s all-weather sealant.
A common misconception is that vinyl and plastic siding don’t require any maintenance. While these materials do require less maintenance than others, a little extra care will extend their life and keep them looking great.
If water gets behind siding of any type, it will eventually lead to wood rot – especially at any joints and corners. A regular cleaning schedule should be a part of every home improvement routine. By staying consistent, you can keep your siding strong, and your wooden framing, drywall, and insulation protected.
To maintain your house’s curb appeal and keep your home safe, let’s explore the three most common causes of dirty siding and the best ways to address them.
Dirt, Pollen, and Smog
Any combination of storms, traffic, lawn mowing, or falling leaves can inevitably lead to dirt collecting on the surface of your home’s siding. If these layers of dirt build up on your siding, the dirt will eventually wear your siding down, no matter how durable it is. It is impossible to entirely prevent dirt from accumulating, but buildup can be minimized by maintaining a regular cleaning routine. You can also help keep your siding strong by doing an extra cleaning after a big storm, a windy day, or yard work.
When cleaning dirt off of your siding, start with a non-abrasive sponge, brush, or cloth to remove the first layer of dirt. Next, use your hose to spray off any remaining dirt and make sure it isn’t blown from one side of your home to the other. It’s a relatively straightforward process!
If you’re tempted to reach for your power washer, don’t! We recommend avoiding pressure washers, as they can do more harm than good if used for DIY siding cleaning. The power behind a pressure washer can inadvertently push dirt or water into cracks in your siding and even damage your exterior paint.
Mold, Mildew, and Algae
If mold, mildew, or algae accumulate on your siding, it’s both unattractive to look at and potentially dangerous for your health. Even though the mold begins on the outside of your home, it can eventually reach your framing, drywall, or insulation through small cracks or crevices in your siding.
The best way to prevent mold from growing is to regularly hose down your siding to make sure that all organic particles – which promote mold growth – are consistently washed away. This home improvement routine is especially important if you have any landscaping that comes in contact with your home. We encourage you to keep trees and bushes trimmed so that contact with your siding is minimal. Pay special attention to any side of your home that is shaded for the majority of the day, as moisture will thrive in these cooler environments.
When mold, mildew, or algae are noticeable to a passerby, it’s a sign that the accumulation has already gotten pretty bad. To clean your siding, mix a combination of water and bleach. This mixture will kill the mold, making it easier to clean off the rest of the surface using a sponge or a non-abrasive brush. Like with dirt, it’s important to hose down your siding at the end, moving from the top to the bottom.
Grease, Oil, and Soot
If you regularly grill in the spring and summer, or if you have a fully outdoor kitchen, you’ve likely found that cooking oil, grease, or soot can splatter onto your home’s siding. As long as you continue to enjoy these outdoor meals, there’s a chance that these messes will continue to happen.
We love a good cookout, so we recommend that you continue cooking but remove grease from your siding as soon as you notice it. Combine warm water, vinegar, and dish soap, then use a non-abrasive sponge dipped in the mixture to scrub the splattered area. This quick action will help keep the oil from leaving any stains on your home’s exterior. If you find that this is happening regularly, it may be a good idea to move grilling tools further away from your home so that this issue doesn’t keep interrupting your cookouts!
Ready to Make Your Siding Shine?
No matter what type of siding you have on your home, dirt, mold, and grease can accumulate, wear down your protective siding, and lead to more extensive issues. Whether you have fiber cement wood plank, brick, or stucco siding, we encourage you to wash your home at least once each year.
Home improvement and home maintenance don’t have to be complicated. It’s simple to keep your house looking fresh if you establish and maintain a cleaning routine. However, if you’re not happy with your current siding or needing a professional to take a look at some problems, the Rolox Home Service team is here to help. Call our team today to keep your home safe and your curb appeal high.