Vinyl siding is available in a wide range of colors, profiles and architectural trims and is the number one choice of homeowners across America wishing to clad the exterior of their homes.
The exterior cladding of a home is expected to perform two main functions-- protection from the elements and to look aesthetically pleasing. Vinyl siding is capable of sustaining its looks for many years while remaining durable. However, homeowners can increase the life cycle of their siding by knowing the answers to several simple cleaning and maintenance questions.
How do I wash my vinyl siding?
Wash vinyl siding with a soft cloth or ordinary long-handled, soft bristle brush. For textured surfaces, use only a soft bristle brush to keep the grooves in the texture stain-free. For best results, start at the bottom of the house and work up and rinse the cleaning solution completely before it dries. If your house has brick facing, cover the brick so that it is not affected by the runoff. Note: Don't use paint thinner, nail polish remover, spot removers, paint remover, straight chlorine bleach or furniture cleaner on vinyl. These types of cleaners can damage the surface of the vinyl siding.
Can I use a power washer?
Yes, using a power washer can shave time off the cleaning process. Though, you should read the washer instructions carefully before use. When cleaning, hold the power washer straight at eye level to keep the water on top of teh siding where it can clean most effectively. Be careful not to aim the power washer upward as water may be driven behind the siding. You should also follow the specific siding manufacturer's recommendations. Some manufacturers don't want pressure washers used on their products at all. Some manufactures allow them, but suggest limitations on the amount of pressure and the cleaners that can be used. Either way, use caution if you plan on utilizing a power washer for your vinyl siding cleaning needs.
How does heat affect my vinyl siding?
Vinyl siding is made from organic materials and can melt when exposed to a significant heat source. Vinyl is a combustible material, but will not readily ignite unless exposed to flames from an existing fire. Home and building owners with all types of siding should always take precautions to keep heat sources such as barbeque grills, and readily ignitable materials such as dry leaves, mulch, and trash away from the structure.
Heat from reflected sunlight can affect vinyl siding. Abnormally concentrated sunlight reflected onto vinyl siding by windows can result in surface temperatures far exceeding those caused by direct exposure to the sun. Temperatures necessary to cause significant distortion of vinyl siding are not routinely achieved, even when vinyl siding is exposed to both direct sunlight and the reflection from normal, flat window glass. In some conditions, the glass in energy efficient windows can become concave, forming a mirror that concentrates sunlight in a small area Temperatures in this area can be greater than many building materials, including vinyl siding, are designed to withstand. The best way to avoid or reduce this problem is to implement anything that blocks the path of sunlight either to the window or between the window and siding.
What causes vinyl siding to fade and oxidize?
The primary causes of vinyl siding surface deterioration are UV radiation, acid rain, improper cleaning chemicals and cleaning techniques (high pressure over 500 psi). When vinyl siding fades and oxidizes, the surface is then subject to becoming brittle. The oxidation creates a rough surface that absorbs moisture, which makes it a perfect breeding ground for the growth of mold, mildew and fungus. You can slow down the deterioration of your vinyl siding through proper preventive maintenance. Vinyl siding manufacturers recommend regular scheduled cleaning of your vinyl siding using low pressure with non-caustic or acidic cleaners and then applying a protective sealer.
How can I protect my vinyl siding from discoloration?
Cover vinyl siding when using stains, sealants, and wet concrete as part of other home renovation projects. Certain insecticides or herbicides can potentially stain vinyl siding. Consult the product labels and/or the insecticide or herbicide manufacturer before applying.
As you can tell, vinyl siding is a low maintenance addition to any home. We recommend consulting with your home contractor if you have any questions about maintaining the integrity of your vinyl siding. Download our free ultimate guide to vinyl siding to learn more about vinyl siding for your home.