Our homes’ exterior sidings are 24/7/365 stylish sentinels protecting our American Dream from what every angry weather Mother Nature sends its way.
Cision reports more than half of America’s homeowners (53%) have turned to new siding for their homes’ exterior protection. But even ever-ready, ever-vigilant protectors need occasional TLC and have a retirement age.
“Your home is under constant attack from Mother Nature,” Modernize’s Emily Bloch writes. “Unfortunately, your exterior siding takes the brunt of her wrath including heavy rainfall, storms, freezing temperatures, dry heat, ice and snow. Aside from climate concerns, a host of dirt, grime and stains can dull the appearance of your siding.
“… Understanding how to clean siding on a regular basis will help to extend its lifespan and better protect your home.”
Dirt and mildew alone shorten the lifespan of siding. They also put your home’s curb appeal, which House Logic notes can add 5-10% to the value of your house.
When cared for, today’s cutting-edge house siding is designed to be energy efficient and trouble-free for as long as 40-50 years or more. Siding TLC is as simple as giving your siding a regular annual bath to remove the grit, grime and mildew it accrues while safeguarding your home.
The Home Siding Wash Guide
- Start with a bucket of warm, soapy water: Mix a half cup of trisodium phosphate (TSP) with one gallon of water.
- Divide Your Siding Into Cleaning Sections: Break your siding down into 10-foot cleaning areas. Scrub each section with a soft-bristled brush attached to a long handle. Work from bottom to top to avoid streaking. Rise repeatedly to remove soap.
Power washers can reduce the time and effort required to thoroughly clean siding, but know the risks if you are not familiar with the tool.
Power washers can strip paint, gouge softwoods, loosen caulk, and eat through mortar.
When in doubt, call in a siding professional for assistance. Average industry siding cleaning rates run $300-$500.
A Siding Health Checkup
Spring is the ideal time to give your home’s siding a full checkup. Be sure to repair any issues before cleaning and make sure you’ve given your siding a twice-over health inspection. Repairs to wood, vinyl and fiber-cement require professional assistance.
Be sure to look for cracks, rot, gaping holes, mold, mildew, rust or discoloration. These are siding issues that can make your home look aged and weathered.
Wood Siding: If you have wood siding, inspect for evidence of rot, mold and pests, and act quickly if you discover any damage signs. Wood siding should be refinished every five years. Failure to paint, stain or seal wood siding as scheduled leaves it vulnerable to moisture, which does not mix with wood. Moisture damage can cut wood siding’s lifespan and lead to expensive, extensive damage to your home itself.
Remember, whether stucco or vinyl, wood, brick or old school aluminum, your siding is your home’s frontline defense against weather’s harshest elements. Make sure it’s healthy, looking sharp and ready for the job this spring and summer.
Aluminum Siding: A throwback to 20th century houses of yesteryear, aluminum siding can last for decades. But its effectiveness and curb appeal can be lost if its enamel coating fades, becomes chalky and washes away in the rain. Occasional repainting is necessary.
Vinyl Siding: America’s most popular siding delivers the classic style of wood siding without the work. It’s nearly maintenance-free and it doesn’t easily scratch or dent. But even vinyl needs regular cleaning.
“There’s a reason vinyl has become the most popular type of siding in America,” Sears Home Services product manager Jim Eldredge tells This Old House.
‘Keep It Looking New’
Your home’s siding is a multi-faceted sentry for your home, enhancing its curb appeal and value, protecting it from weather’s worst offenders and keeping it energy efficient. Make sure it is in the best shape to perform its job to the best of its design and ability for your home and family.
“Your home’s exterior is visible to everyone, so you want to keep it looking like new,” The Family Handyman’s Brad Holden stresses. “To do that, fix the little things. Doing so will protect your home, keep it looking sharp, and avoid big problems requiring major work.”