Got vinyl siding? If so, you made a good call. Modern vinyl siding is relatively inexpensive in comparison with other siding materials, comes in many vinyl siding types and configurations, offers lots of color and texture options, and generally doesn’t require an extensive amount of maintenance.
Siding is an important exterior feature that serves many functions. Besides helping to define the curbside appeal of your home, siding also protects from various weather elements, defends against both moisture and pest infiltration, and can contribute some needed insulation value.
But even though vinyl siding is engineered to be a low-maintenance product, that doesn’t mean it never needs some amount of maintenance.
If you’re like most people, you probably don’t give your vinyl siding a whole lot of thought on a daily basis. As long as you don’t notice any glaring problems whenever you pull in and out of your driveway, you likely assume that everything’s fine with your siding. And as long as you chose a quality vinyl siding product and had it installed by a capable siding contractor like Skywalker Windows & Siding, everything probably is fine.
Even so, most experts agree that you should give your siding a good cleaning at least once a year to remove any dirt, film, and mildew buildup. As is the case with most things, an ounce of prevention can be worth a pound of cure!
Before we talk about the best ways to clean your siding, you may be wondering how vinyl siding ever gets dirty in the first place? What would make siding start to look dingy? That’s a great question; here are a few factors that can come into play:
Depending on how your house sits, and on where it does and doesn’t tend to receive sunlight, you may find that your siding tends to get a little greener on one or more of your home’s outer faces. Why is this? Mildew, mold, and moss all tend to thrive in cooler, damper areas, and a shaded area of your home can be a perfect breeding ground for mildew. This is especially true in a humid climate, like what we typically experience in the Southeast.
If your exterior foundation sits low to the ground, it can be susceptible to backsplash whenever it rains. Over time, this can put a significant amount of dirt and film over the lower sections of your vinyl siding. If you have a taller foundation built up with brick, stone, or concrete, you can still experience some backsplash, but the effects on your siding tend to be more greatly minimized.
You know this from experience if you’ve ever done the laundry: it’s simply harder to keep whites and light colors clean. If you’re like me, barbeque sauce just seems to be naturally attracted to your white shirts and shorts! The same principle applies to white siding and light-colored siding as well. Light colors just tend to show more dirt, period. That being the case, you should probably be prepared to have to clean your siding a bit more often if you didn’t opt for a natural or dark color.
There are several ways to clean vinyl siding, and the good news is that they don’t all involve a brush and old-fashioned elbow grease. We should note that the Vinyl Siding Institute still says the best way to clean vinyl siding is with a soft cloth or a soft-bristle brush, but there are some other spray-and-rinse alternatives that may do the trick just fine:
• A mixture of 70% water and 30% white vinegar makes a great all-purpose vinyl siding cleaner for removing light mold and mildew stains.
• For a stronger solution, you could try mixing one-third cup powdered laundry detergent, two-thirds cup powdered household cleaner, one-quart liquid laundry bleach, and one gallon of water.
• Concerned about potential negative impacts on your landscaping? You can also create a vinyl siding cleaner solution comprised of one gallon of water and one cup of oxygen bleach (like OxiClean). The oxygen bleach should help to clean the vinyl without doing any damage to your landscaping.
• Simple Green also offers an environmentally friendly cleanser that’s specially formulated for use on vinyl and aluminum siding, stucco, terra cotta roof tiles, and painted wood. It’s non-toxic and biodegradable, and can be used manually or with a spray washer.
• General household cleansers can also be used on tough dirt and stains, and rust stains may be removed with products designed for this purpose (like Super Iron Out or Instant Rust Out).
• Applying a paste of equal parts baking soda and water, and then using a soft cloth or bristle brush to gently scrub the area is another effective method of removing dirt and mildew. Once you’re done scrubbing, you can simply spray off the vinyl siding from top to bottom with a garden hose.
This is one of the most common questions that comes up whenever it comes to cleaning siding, and there’s really no one universal answer. Cleaning vinyl siding can certainly be easier with a pressure washer, but some manufacturers actually advise against it. If you’re not careful, the force of the pressurized liquid can push moisture right into your underlayment and sheathing, which can result in structural damage over time. And just to be clear, Skywalker Windows & Siding doesn’t recommend the use of a pressure washer to clean vinyl siding, either. A cleaning solution combined with a soft scrub brush and a garden hose sprayer is the safest approach, in our experience.
But if you do decide to make use of a pressure washer, here are some helpful tips. Ensure that the stream is applied at eye-level, pointed straight at the siding and not at an upward angle. Spraying at an upward angle, tends to drive water behind the siding, especially if your siding is applied in a horizontal orientation. In order to leverage a pressure washer for cleaning siding successfully, you’ll have to get up on a ladder for anything taller than what you’re able to reach at ground level. It’s also best to place the pressurized washer on the lowest pressure setting. In addition, you’ll want to use special caution around openings like doors, windows, side vents, and any plumbing connections.
With proper care and maintenance, your home’s vinyl siding should provide you with many years of reliable service. But even regular cleaning & maintenance won’t overcome a botched siding installation! Choosing the right siding contractor for vinyl siding replacement is vital. Make sure to do your homework first. Who do your friends, family, and neighbors recommend? Take the time to read some real customer reviews on Google, Facebook, BBB, and third-party review sites as well.
If you’re located in North Carolina or Virginia, there aren’t any siding contractors who will treat you better than Skywalker Windows & Siding! Our team has extensive experience working with vinyl siding, and we’re also trained and equipped to work with fiber cement siding, composite siding, synthetic siding, wood shake siding, and all popular siding material options. We serve all of the NC Piedmont Triad, Piedmont Triangle, Lake Norman area, and southern VA regions. You can reach out to us online through the link above, or for a faster response, just give us a call today at (336) 627-5596. Let us show you the Skywalker difference!
Luke Wilson started working on roofs with his dad when he was a teenager, and eventually launched Skywalker Roofing in 2003. Skywalker operates in 5 locations across NC & VA, and now includes windows, siding, and other exterior services. Luke also hosts the popular Roofing Mythbusters series on YouTube.
301 South Elm Streen, Ste 523, Greensboro, NC 27401, USA Call us at +1 (336) 850-0027
555 Fayetteville St, Suite 201, Raleigh, NC 27601, USA Call us at +1 (919) 800-0496
257 Ram Loop Stokesdale, NC 27357, USA Call us at +1 (336) 627-5596
1518 Carlisle Ave SE, Roanoke, VA 24014, USA
Call us at +1 (540) 212-7255
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