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Siding Maintenance Tips You May Never Have Heard Of

While the “WOW-factor” of almost every home improvement project fades with time, the brilliant look of your new siding doesn’t have to follow suit quite so quickly. Directly after installation, your new siding looks amazing! The boards are smooth and clean, the color is vibrant, and your house likely has never looked better. [Check out some pictures of our finished siding projects for some truly amazing results. Fast forward a few years without proper siding maintenance and even the highest quality siding will have started to fade. While some of this is unavoidable (Mother Nature and Father Time always get their way in the end), proper maintenance and a little knowledge can extend the lifetime of that bright new look. Here are some of the lesser-known tips that we like to share with our customers so they know how to keep their new exterior siding looking new for years to come.

Take A Pass On The Power Washer

Most homeowners know they need to clean their siding in some way but have no idea how to do it properly. Here are some easy steps you can use to clean your home’s siding to  make it look fantastic and last a lifetime.. 

Step One: Do not clean it every day (or even every week) – that’s just asking for unnecessary wear and tear. Instead, we recommend doing a thorough cleaning every 6-12 months. Maybe put it on the same schedule as replacing your smoke detector batteries.

Step Two: Match your cleaning method to the type of siding on your home. Different types of siding have different strengths and weaknesses, so you should use the method described specifically for your siding type found below:

  • Vinyl Siding – A 70/30 mixture of water and White Vinegar and a low-pressure sprayer should do the trick. You can use mild household cleaners for tougher stains but make sure to avoid anything too astringent like nail cleaner or undiluted bleach, as they can damage the protective coat of your siding. The same is true for using super abrasive scrubbers like steel wool[1]. JUST DON’T.

 

  • James Hardie and Stone Craft Siding – Use a soft cloth or soft-bristle paint brush to get rid of dust followed by using a simple garden hose. Work top to bottom and, while you can add mild dish soap or mildew remover when needed, never use force to clean your siding[2].

We understand that there will be some who will insist on using their power washer despite our warnings. There’s just something so satisfying about watching the bright clean surface appear, as though by magic, that some folks just gotta make it happen. We get it. We still advise against it, as do most siding manufacturers. Just in case you can’t stop yourself, please consider the following steps to help mitigate the damage you WILL do to your siding:

  • Keep the pressure low
  • Widen the spray pattern as much as you can
  • Never spray in an upward direction (the water will get under your siding and cause all kinds of trouble)
  • Don’t use harsh chemicals
  • Don’t use steam  

 

When it comes to siding, a good rule of thumb is to use a soft cloth and long-handled brush along with gentle cleaning solutions (when necessary) to wash your siding. (Always check your manufacturer’s guide for specific recommendations for your siding).

Beware of The Sprinkler

Sprinkler systems make our lives easier and, once in place, we rarely give them a second thought. Unfortunately, they can also damage your siding.

Yes, sprinklers.

Siding that is constantly wet will fade more quickly in the same way that people will get sunburns much more quickly when swimming. Water refracts light and concentrates the sun’s energy, so wet siding suffers more sun damage than dry siding.

Keep this in mind as you decide where your sprinklers send their water. Don’t let them keep your siding wet while the sun is beating down. If you can’t avoid getting your siding wet, then consider running your sprinklers only at night and when the sun isn’t around.  

Proper Plant Placement

As beautiful as trees, flowers, shrubs, and other plants make your home look, it’s good practice to ensure that they’re far enough away from the house that they down brush up against the siding. 

Also, be mindful that heavy wind can cause branches to bend, so plants and trees that seem like they’re far enough away from your home could actually make contact and damage your siding. 

Skip The Salt When It Snows

Consistent exposure to deicing salts can make the finish on your siding fade prematurely. So, during one of our Michigan ice storms, skip the de-icing salt on travel areas that butt up against your siding. Instead, store some sand or gravel near those areas for treating slippery spots.

Of course, if you only have a de-icer on hand, we hope you choose your safety over your siding’s finish and get rid of the ice. But, with a little planning, you won’t have to make that choice. 

Move the Grill Away

Your BBQ grill releases more than wonderful scents into the air. It also throws out a ton of heat and soot-filled smoke. If you allow your grill to close to your siding it can get damaged from the heat or get coated with soot. By the time you recognize the problem, the stains and warpage might be impossible to fully remove or repair. 

The same goes for fire pits. People love sitting right beside a fire pit – siding, not so much.

High-quality siding (the only kind we sell at Performance Remodeling) installed by experienced professionals (the only kind we have) will certainly look far better, for far longer than cheap siding installed by low-ball priced contractors. But still, the longevity of your siding’s appearance only partly depends on the type and quality of the siding you choose.

If you keep up with general recommendations and consider the siding maintenance tips above, you can expect to have your siding looking brand new for decades to come.



[1] https://www.bobvila.com/articles/how-to-clean-vinyl-siding/

[2] https://www.jameshardie.com/blog/tips-for-cleaning-your-siding?loc=refresh

 

*Our lower priced roofing packages have some guarantee restrictions, and our guarantee on decks also has a few limitations. Your consultant will clearly explain all this during your initial appointment.