Wouldn’t it be great if you’re new vinyl or fiber cement siding could stay new forever? Well, with proper maintenance and regular cleaning, it sure can look that way.
Getting dirty, that’s the problem. Okay, that’s a bit simplistic. The elements that lead to dirty siding, be it vinyl or fiber cement, are numerous. It also depends on what’s on your property or type of work you may do on your property near your home. The common notable problems are:
- dirt and yard debris blowing or splashing onto the siding
- pollen floating in the wind and sticking to your siding
- bird or critter droppings
- spider webs
- and all sorts of chemicals that may result from work done near or around your house
Addressing the Problem – The Basics
Let’s assume you care enough to maintain your siding on an annual basis. Depending on where you live, twice a year would be ideal. Either way, the steps are about the same. It’s as simple as:
1. Inspect the siding – walk around the home, get a feel for what areas need special attention, make note of that. If it’s been awhile since you’re last cleaning, don’t skip this step.
2. Devise a plan of action – Here’s where Fixing the Problem(s) noted below comes in. A basic cleaning is just that and if that’s all that your siding needs, then you can skip this step. But if there are troubled spots, then take time to decide how you’ll tackle things. Also take a few moments to determine what on your property could use covering up, such as nearby flower beds or gardens and any brick or stone siding you might have in addition to your vinyl / fiber cement siding.
3. Get ‘er done – Execute the plan. The basic cleaning involves removing what you can with a brush, then sudsing everything up, followed by a thorough rinsing and a final wiping. Sometimes though, more is needed.
Fixing the Problem – Beyond the Basics
The materials for any cleaning are fairly simple. This includes
- a brush of some sort (they make siding brushes)
- cleaning solution
- water (of course)
- cloths (plural) – one for cleaning with the solution, and one, or ten for wiping it dry
- plastic drop cloths and tape to seal off anything you don’t want to get wet and sprayed with cleaning solution
- optionally a pressure washer to apply water and cleaning solution. Note though that misusing a pressure washer by applying too much pressure could void warranties for your siding.
via Yawata Company
The cleaning solution is obviously the key to bringing out the color of your siding and restoring it to a like-new condition. The simplest solution is a mixture of 70% water and 30% vinegar. This works for both vinyl and fiber cement.