Siding makes your home look good while being durable enough to repel the elements. Popular siding materials are vinyl, wood and aluminum. Different types of siding behave differently in winter. Vinyl siding can crack from expansion and contraction in extreme climate conditions. Wood siding is prone to rotting, warping and splitting in fluctuating wet and/or cold. Aluminum siding is easily dented by hail, high winds or heavy rain. But whatever type of siding you have, you can get it ready for the coming winter months.
While some siding materials expand and contract less than others, they all do it as seasons change and temperatures go from warmer to colder. This process has a number of effects on siding such as shifting siding panels or allowing gaps to form between the back of the siding and the wall. Inspect siding for cracks, holes and gaps that might create the ideal environment for mold, mildew or pests. Signs that siding is damaged in some way include: chipped or flaking paint; loose siding panels; and soft spots in wood siding that might be an indication of rot.
After inspecting the siding for cracks and other kinds of damage, plan to take action. Make any necessary repairs right away. If you don’t address them as soon as possible, winter conditions will only make them worse. To avoid water getting in where it shouldn’t, repair first before washing the siding. When you’re not sure how to fix what’s wrong or you know you just won’t be to get them done any time soon, call a siding professional.
Remove surface dirt with a garden hose. Skip the power washer or use it cautiously on the lowest setting – it can do more harm than good if water is forced into cracks or behind siding panels. Depending on the thickness (or thinness) of the aluminum panels, pressure washing also can dent the siding. For more stubborn stains, apply a cleaning solution with a sponge or brush. Use the appropriate solution for the type of siding that is being cleaned. If you need to remove mold or mildew, add one part bleach to five parts soapy water – check the siding manufacturer’s care and cleaning instructions to ensure that bleach won’t harm your siding material.