Keeping your home’s siding in good repair and power washing it every year will keep it looking great, helps avoid pricey replacement costs, in general extending the life of the siding. With preventative maintenance your siding could actually last for over 50 years.
Any type of home siding gets dirty over time, however a power washer will quickly restore your home to its original beauty. In addition, according to real estate appraisers, great curb appeal can add as much as a 10% to the value of your home – power washing definitely helps enhance curb appeal.
Choosing the Best Power Washer
If you’re cleaning a one story home, an electric power washer will be powerful enough to leave your siding sparkling clean. Home owners with a two story home should go with a gas powered power washer because they have the ability to reach high, hard to reach areas.
Power Washing Precautions
• Avoid spraying electrical components unless you’ve turned them off, being especially careful around electrical service entrances, conduit and lines that feed the meter. Central air conditioners are additional high voltage shock hazards.
• Angle the spray away from windows, vents, doors and windows.
• Avoid spraying at an upward angle under siding flashing and laps and avoid getting too close to the gutters.
• Don’t hold the washer’s nozzle so close to the siding. The pressure from the power washer spray can damage the wood and the finish from hardboard siding.
Inspecting Siding for Damage
Before you start cleaning your siding you should repair defects. Regularly inspecting your siding will help protect your home from the moisture infiltration that leads to dry rot which causes mold to form inside of your walls.
Brick and Mortar
Look for eroding mortar joints. If you see a problem, patch any damaged joints and let them for at least a week before you power washing.
Look for chips and cracks, patching as necessary, also allowing them to dry for a minimum of a week before power washing.
Look for peeling or chipped paint as well and cracked trim and boards. Repair as needed. If the repair requires it, let dry before power washing.
This siding is resilient and much more durable than other siding options so you won’t have to worry about common siding issues/repairs.
Siding is susceptible to water infiltration where it fits against doors, windows and corner moldings. Look for any caulk that’s cracked as a result of age or has pulled away from adjoining surfaces, leaving gaps. If necessary, reapply exterior chalk in a color that matches the exterior. For the best results, apply chalk on warm, dry days.
Soap and water is always a better option when it comes to cleaning siding than using water alone. Most power washers come with an injector that will mix the cleaning solution into the jet stream. Don’t use anything except solvents that’s label says “approved for power washer use”. Unapproved solvents aren’t typically environmentally sound and can potentially damage power washer components.
Mold and Mildew Problems
If the siding is showing the signs of mold and mildew, using a little bleach mixed with water (1 part household bleach/10 parts water) is necessary. After cleaning, rinse away the mold and mildew with lots of clean water and a sponge. Using bleach on siding can be challenging, so start with just a little and wash it off quickly.
After you’ve cleaned your home’s siding, flush out the area surrounding your home with clean water to dilute any left over cleaning residue. You’ll also need to take care of the power washer which should have come with an instruction manual that includes directions. Follow these instructions to ensure that your power washer is ready when you need it again.