If you’ve recently taken the step of buying new siding in Kansas City, Liberty, or Lee’s Summit, MO, the last thing you want to do is let it go without maintenance for the next 20 years. After all, you’ve just made a substantial investment in the look and comfort of your home, and the neighbors are green with envy! Although many companies tout vinyl siding as “maintenance-free,” the reality is that any siding needs a bit of maintenance here and there to keep it looking good and performing well. But how do you take care of the outside of your home once the siding installation project is finished? Read on for more information. The siding professionals at Energy Pro Windows and Siding have a few suggestions to get you on the right track.
Since your siding is new, it may be difficult to imagine needing to maintain it – but your siding will last much longer if it’s taken care of from the beginning. While today’s siding is very durable and resistant to all kinds of weather conditions, it’s not indestructible. Eventually, it’ll get dirty and start wearing down. This happens gradually, so you may not even notice it. But air pollution, car exhaust, dirt – even pollen and bird droppings – can be rough on your home’s siding.
Lawn chemicals also have a negative impact. Herbicides, insecticides, fertilizers and other chemicals can stain the surface of the siding, and even though you take care to keep these chemicals away from the house, a small amount of overspray is inevitable. Also, homeowners who live in damp climates may experience mold and mildew growth over time. Taking measures to reduce the impact from all of these factors from the beginning helps extend the life of your siding.
Most siding professionals agree that an annual cleaning is a great way to not only keep your new siding looking spic and span but also prevent it from breaking down over time. Removing all the grime and toxic elements that build up during the year will help ensure that your new siding performs as it was originally intended to.
Wondering how to go about washing your siding? Here are a few tips from the experts at Energy Pro.
Use the right tools. Use a soft-bristled brush or soft cloth to wash down your siding. Don’t be afraid to put a little elbow grease behind it. You don’t have to worry about scrubbing off the color of the siding. The color permeates the material that makes up the boards, meaning it can’t be washed off. It can still be damaged, however. Stiff bristles can cause small scratches in the surface of the siding that then let sunlight and water into places they shouldn’t be.
Use the right cleaning solutions. A bucket filled with a mixture of 70% water and 30% white vinegar is all you need to get most dirt, grime, mold, and mildew off the surface of your siding. If you have stubborn spots that aren’t coming off, try mixing together a quart of liquid laundry bleach, a gallon of water, one-third cup of powdered laundry detergent, and two-thirds cup of powdered household cleaner.
Start scrubbing from the bottom of the house and work your way up, rinsing thoroughly as you go. This helps avoid streaks.
To pressure wash or not? Many people swear by power washing when it comes to cleaning their siding. After all, it gets the job done a lot quicker, and it’s just water, right? What can it hurt? Most pros agree that power washing is an option if it’s done correctly. If it’s not done right, it can cause damage to the siding and allow water to infiltrate underneath the siding, causing long-term issues for you in the future.
If you do choose to power wash, check with your siding professionals first to see what they recommend for your particular brand of siding. If you decide to move forward, learn to power wash correctly. Wear the proper protective clothing (including eyewear), prep the area around the house, and cover landscaping to protect it. Remember that anything that’s washed off the house at high pressure will splatter the surrounding area. Start with low pressure until you get a feel for what you’re doing. And make sure you keep the head of the sprayer pointed straight at the siding or at a slight downward angle. Don’t point it upwards or you risk shooting water up under and behind the boards which will cause moisture and mildew problems in the future.
If this sounds like a lot of work…it is. You can always hire a professional to do the job for you. Since they do this on a regular basis, they know what precautions to take, and they’re typically much faster at it than you will be, especially the first time you try it.
In addition to a yearly washing, there are other things you can do to take care of your siding so that it lasts a long time.
Keep away from open flames. Siding is designed to protect your home from the harsh sun’s rays, not from open flames. Make sure you locate your grill, outdoor stove, or fire pit as far from the house as possible to reduce the chances of the siding being damaged by the heat of open flames.
Prune landscaping. Landscaping adds an extra element of beauty to the property. But plants that are allowed to grow wild can cause damage. Make sure you prune bushes and shrubs each year to keep them neat and tidy. You should allow a space of 2 – 4 feet between shrubbery and the side of the house, depending on the type of shrubbery you have. This keeps branches off the siding and also ensures that moisture can drain away from the foundation of your home.
Avoid hitting it with sharp objects. While this may seem obvious, it’s often overlooked. When working in the yard, don’t lean tools against the side of the house. Take care when unloading heavy or bulky items from the car. Make sure you allow enough clearance when doing outdoor projects. Today’s siding is quite durable, but an accidental jab with a sharp object could leave a hole that compromises the integrity of the boards.
If you’re considering siding installation or have questions about how to maintain your existing siding, give the hometown professionals at Energy Pro a call. They’ve been keeping the Kansas City metro area snug and secure since 2003 – from Olathe and Leawood to Overland Park and Prairie Village, KS, as well as the whole Kansas City, MO, side of the state line. They’ll be glad to help with all your siding needs!