The exterior siding of your home is both a great first impression and a tasteful declaration of your personal style. Because of exposure to the elements, however, siding can lose its sheen rather quickly. If your siding is starting to look run-down and dingy, you can take steps to clean it and repair it—no matter if it’s aluminum, vinyl, or stucco—without having to drop dough on a full-blown replacement.
Cleaning Your Aluminum Siding
Aluminum siding can dull over time because it gathers mildew. Wash your siding with a low-pressure power washer to restore its former glory, but be careful: When the pressure gets too high, water can seep beneath your siding and rot underlying wood. If mildew is already growing on your siding, mix a little bit of bleach with your water in a bucket. If the mildew covers a large area, spray it down with a pressure washer, but if it’s in a small area give it some attention with a scrub brush. For a step-by-step process of how to give your aluminum siding some luster, check out How to Clean Stuff.
Washing and Repairing Vinyl
Vinyl siding is almost maintenance-free, making it an attractive option for most homeowners. However, it’s still a good idea to give it a wash every once in a while. You can either go the pressure washer route or do it the old-fashioned (and eco-friendly) way with a hose and buckets. The latter approach requires a little elbow grease, but it’ll save water and prevent any possible rotting underneath your siding. It also makes it easier to focus on areas where there may be mildew or other mold problems. Check out this tutorial on how to patch it up yourself without having to hire a pricey professional.
Stucco is one of the most durable siding options available (it typically lasts anywhere from 50 to 100 years!), and many older neighborhoods prominently feature homes adorned with it. Because of its bumpy and uneven surface, dirt tends to get lodged in stucco’s nooks and crannies. Experts recommend taking steps to wash stucco exteriors at least once a year. Make sure not to get too close to the surface when you’re hosing it down, as it can chip under high pressure. Stucco is also difficult to repair, so you may want to hire a professional. But for the intrepid DIYer, here’s a how-to-repair guide courtesy of This Old House.
Until next time,
The Home Know-It-All