Caring for Vinyl Siding

If you own a home with vinyl siding, then you know how low-maintenance it is. And it’s probably the main reason you selected vinyl as the cladding material for your house exterior in the first place. But to keep it looking new throughout the years does require some upkeep. Here are some useful tips on caring for vinyl siding.

Tools for Cleaning Vinyl Siding

Most types of dirt you will encounter on vinyl siding such as soil, grass, grease, motor oil and crayon/chalk/pencil can be removed with a solution of mild liquid dish detergent and water. When removing mold, mildew or algae from vinyl siding, add bleach to the dish detergent and water solution. Use a brand of non-toxic bleach to prevent toxic runoff from damaging your landscaping.

For tougher stains that don’t easily disappear use a solution of 1/3 cup (75 ml) of laundry or dish detergent, 2/3 cup (158 ml) of household cleaner (Mr. Clean/Spic & Span/Pine-Sol, etc.), and 1 gallon (4 litres) of water. When using powdered detergent, make sure it is thoroughly dissolved before using.

You will need a ladder, a garden hose with an adjustable spray nozzle, and a soft bristle brush. To make cleaning vinyl siding easier, use a soft-bristled brush on a telescoping pole such as a long-handled car washing brush or the type used to wash RVs and house trailers.

Protect Vinyl Siding from Heat Sources

While vinyl siding doesn’t warp or burn like other siding materials, it will eventually melt and lose its shape if it regularly comes into contact with heat. Any outdoor appliances such as fire pits, grills, smokers, or portable outdoor heaters should be a minimum of 10 feet away from your vinyl siding.

Protect Vinyl Siding while doing Home Maintenance

When you’re working in the garden or maintaining the lawn, take care that chemicals aren’t splashed up onto the siding. You can’t dent vinyl siding but it can split or crack under pressure – avoid accidentally hitting it with a lawn mower, tools, etc.

Protect your vinyl siding from overspray when painting the fence or staining the deck. Some liquids only stain the surface. But chemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers can also damage vinyl siding by weakening its protective finish, reducing its durability and impact resistance.

Regular Cleanings and Inspections

A house in a residential neighbourhood generally needs a thorough cleaning at least once a year. However, if you live in an agricultural area or in a community next to a plant or warehouse, it might be necessary to clean your vinyl siding twice or even three times a year, depending on the accumulation of environmental pollutants.

To properly care for your vinyl siding, regular cleanings should be supplemented with periodic inspections. Checking up on what’s going with siding is a good way to prevent potential problems from becoming even bigger ones. Since vinyl siding expands and contracts with changing temperatures and climatic conditions, including other ways it can be damaged, look for:

  • loose vinyl siding panels
  • sections of siding have moved or shifted
  • cracking or splitting caused be some kind of impact (wind, baseball, etc.)
  • buildup of mold or mildew

Power washing can push water up and behind siding panels, where, if moisture remains, might encourage mold or mildew to grow. If you do use a power washer to clean vinyl siding, avoid aiming the nozzle upward; instead keep it straight at shoulder height or eye level. Use a low setting to minimize impact.