There are several important components of a given home or building that can see their overall quality and lifespan improved simply through regular cleaning, and a great example here is your siding. From maintaining curb appeal to actually limiting repair or even replacement needs, there are several ways that cleaning your siding provides value — provided you’re going about it correctly, that is.
At Becker’s, we’re happy to offer wide-ranging siding services for all your needs, from vinyl siding to wood siding, stucco siding and more. We’ll also provide you with general expertise on the care of any siding on your home, including simple cleaning tips and many related areas. Here are some basic recommendations for how to clean your siding safely and effectively.
Timing for Siding Cleaning
There’s no “ideal” time for cleaning your siding; rather, when you do it should largely depend on how long it’s been since the last cleaning, as well as the current state of your siding. In general, you should aim to clean your siding at least once a year, though more frequent cleanings (perhaps every few months) may be necessary in some cases.
Inspect your siding periodically throughout the year to see if it looks like it needs a cleaning; if so, plan to do the job as soon as possible. Siding that goes too long without being cleaned can become stained or even mildewed, and this may require more work (and potentially harsher cleaning solutions) to resolve.
Importance of Safety
Before you even get started, and throughout the cleaning process, be sure to keep safety in mind at all times. Siding is generally safe to clean, but any time you’re working with chemicals or climbing on a ladder, there’s potential for accidents.
Be sure to wear gloves, long sleeves and pants while cleaning your siding; this will protect your skin from any harsh chemicals you’re using. If you’re working with a power washer, be sure to wear eye protection as well.
Closing Vents and Openings
Before you begin applying any cleaners to your siding, take a few moments to go around your home and close any vents or openings that lead inside. You don’t want any cleaning chemicals or water getting inside your home, so it’s best to be safe and close everything up before you start.
If you fail to do this, you may end up with cleaning solution and water inside your home, which could potentially cause water damage or other issues.
Moving Interior Items
Especially if your siding is older and you’re unsure how well it will repel moisture from reaching the inside of your home, it’s a good idea to move any items that are close to the exterior of your home away from the wall.
You don’t want anything close by that could be damaged by water or cleaning chemicals, so it’s best to play it safe and move these items well away from the siding before you start.
Gas or Electric Power Washer?
Firstly, you should determine whether or not you even need a power washer for the job at hand. If your siding is only mildly dirty, you may be able to get away with just a garden hose and some elbow grease.
However, if your siding is very dirty or stained, a power washer may be necessary. When making this determination, also keep in mind that power washers can be dangerous if not used correctly, so be sure you understand how to use one before proceeding.
If you do opt for a power washer, you’ll need to decide whether to use a gas-powered model or an electric one. Gas models are more powerful and can thus handle tougher jobs, but they’re also more expensive and require more maintenance.
Electric models are less powerful but also easier and cheaper to use and maintain. If you’re not sure which is right for you, consult with a professional siding contractor before making your decision.
Once you’ve determined that you need to clean your siding and have gathered the necessary supplies, it’s time to make your cleaning solution.
If your siding is only mildly dirty, you can generally get away with just using water and a little bit of soap. A mild dish detergent or laundry detergent is usually all you need.
For tougher jobs, you may need to use a more powerful cleaning solution. You can purchase commercial siding cleaners at most home improvement stores, or you can make your own by mixing water, bleach and trisodium phosphate.
Be sure to read the labels on any cleaners you use to be sure they’re safe for your particular type of siding. Some cleaners may damage or discolor certain types of siding, so it’s important to choose the right one.
Once you’ve mixed your cleaning solution, it’s time to apply it to your siding. If you’re using a power washer, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to avoid damaging your siding.
If you’re not using a power washer, you can apply the cleaning solution with a garden hose or a bucket and sponge. Start at the top of your siding and work your way down, being sure to rinse the solution off completely as you go.
If you’re using a power washer, you’ll need to be extra careful not to damage any windows, doors or other fixtures on your home as you clean.
In most cases, siding should simply be allowed to air dry after it’s been cleaned. If you’re in a hurry, you can speed up the process by using a leaf blower or other type of fan.
Be sure your siding is completely dry before you close any vents or openings that lead inside your home, as you don’t want any moisture to get inside.
With the right simple steps, you can keep your home’s siding clean and free of any major issues. To learn more about this, or for any of our siding services, roofing services or other solutions, speak to the team at Becker’s today.