Keeping the inside of your home clean is a big enough job that it may be easy to forget that your home’s exterior requires periodic cleaning and maintenance as well. Exterior siding is exposed to everything that weather and nature can throw at it, so it’s no surprise that dirt and grime accumulate over time. Your home’s siding is your first defense against the elements and the most visible part of your house, and proper upkeep is important. Keep it looking its best and lasting its longest by following the maintenance steps below once or twice a year.
Vinyl siding is popular for a reason: it’s cheap, durable and virtually maintenance free. The material requires no refinishing, is not susceptible to rot or termites and is easily washed. Cleaning vinyl siding requires nothing more than simply rinsing it down with a garden hose.
One of the oldest building materials, wood is still prized today for its warmth and beauty, but maintenance can be a challenge. For starters, wood must be painted or stained every five years or so to maintain its appearance and protection from the elements. Because the material naturally expands and contracts, you’ll also need to regularly check and reapply any caulk as needed. Wood siding should be washed by scrubbing with a soft-bristled brush using soapy water for general cleaning or a bleach solution (one part bleach, four parts water) to remove mold, mildew or algae. Avoid using a pressure washer as this can harm wood surfaces.
Stately brick has a well-earned reputation for strength and durability, but cleaning and maintenance is still important. So long as the brick remains in good condition – free of chips, flakes and cracks or crumbling mortar – simply spraying the walls down with a hose is sufficient. However, areas that don’t receive much sunlight may be prone to mold, mildew or moss growth. Inspect shaded areas for those issues, and if you discover any growth, hose down the wall to make the brick more absorptive before scrubbing the problem areas with a mixture of one cup bleach to a gallon of water.
Age-old stucco has a long tradition in beautiful architecture, and it remains popular today for its versatility. However, the material’s rigid composition makes it vulnerable to chipping and cracking. Though patching or repairing stucco can require skill, cleaning it does not. Simply spray the exterior with warm, soapy water. Start at the foundation level and work upward so the base of the building doesn’t absorb a torrent of dirty water.
No exterior siding lasts forever, but by giving yours a regular cleaning, you can help ensure that it looks its best and lasts its longest.