The relation between a homeowner and their home can be considered symbiotic. The house provides the resident with warmth during winters, shelter from rain & snow, protection from the sweltering heat. In exchange, all the house needs are constant care and occasional repairs that increase its longevity. This is why most buyers tend to buy houses that are maintained well. A house’s exterior affects the curb appeal of the house when selling it. So it is important to make sure that the exterior of your house, including the vinyl siding, is properly maintained. Thankfully, vinyl sidings are made to be durable while being insulating and low maintenance; you don’t need to do much for proper vinyl siding maintenance.
How to Properly Maintain Your Vinyl Siding
Periodic Extensive Inspection
Vinyl siding is built to be low maintenance and a top choice for remodeling and new construction in the United States. Vinyl siding is not prone to defects arising in other materials such as warping, rotting, cracking, or denting but a sealant gap can be a victim to moisture-related issues that can escalate if left unchecked. Hence, it is important to periodically inspect the siding for any suspicious streaking or stains that mark the presence of leakages. In case of leakage, there may be a mold infestation between two siding layers if not cleaned.
Another issue is that if the nails used to hold the siding in its place lose their grip on the underlying foundation wall, the siding could easily dislocate at the first sign of high-speed winds. Physical check for gaps and caulks in the siding profile by running your fingers around the overlap.
Wash it Once a Year
The overlaps between two siding layers is an easy hiding spot for dust and grime. A shady area is also an ideal place for mildew to grow. While pressure washing might sound like a good idea, you can do more damage to your siding if not done carefully. Read the manufacturer’s recommendation to know the allowed water jet’s pressure and always use it from the eye level to keep the water on the siding’s top. Make sure to not aim the water jet to the underside of the siding as the water may get collected there and damage the foundation wall. Ideally, use a fine bristle brush or cloth to wipe the dirt from the bottom-most siding and work your way up. Also, divide your wall into smaller sections to manage the cleaning efficiently.
Regarding the cleaning chemicals to use, a homemade solution can work in the absence of professional solutions. The components in a homemade cleaning solution are:
1/3 cup powdered laundry detergent
2/3 cup powdered household cleaner
1-quart liquid laundry bleach
Keep the runoff from any cleaning products away from any brickwork or landscaping to avoid damages.
Keep Away from Heat
Vinyl has a lower melting point than other materials and can easily wrap (and lose shape) if kept in proximity of an open fire or a heat source. While grilling, always keeps your grill at least 2-3 feet away from the siding. Moreover, if sunlight is concentrated on a patch of siding, the heat can warp the area. While you may wonder how this can happen, this is a rare occurrence when the windows become concave and concentrate the sunlight in a small space. Applying a protective screen layer can reflect less energy.
Recommended: 6 Signs You Need New Siding
Use Good Exterior Latex Paint (only if needed)
Vinyl siding comes in different colors applied on the exterior layers. With time and constant exposure to sunlight, the color might fade a little till a point where the fading is evident. In such a use case, you can use light-colored exterior latex paint on the vinyl siding. The reason behind recommending light colors is that dark colors will absorb more sunlight and cause the siding to warp from the absorbed radiation’s heat. Stick with light colors like white, gray, or light yellow.
Prevent Physical Trauma
Vinyl sidings are sturdy enough to hold their form in the strongest wind or rain, colliding at high speeds. Yet, it is not completely immune to physical trauma, and since they don’t dent like aluminum sidings, they can easily break. Be careful while parking vehicles, using lawnmowers, or any similar machinery. Periodically trim away any branches or vegetation that can easily break and damage the siding. Immediately replace any siding that shows signs of crack or are broken.
Things to Avoid
To properly care for your vinyl sidings, do the tips mentioned above but also try to avoid the following:
Waiting long before considering replacing vinyl sidings or taking preventive measures
Trying replacing or painting over vinyl siding yourself instead of opting for a professional contractor
Not trimming away the foliage or branches
Overlooking any discolorations and patches developed on the siding
Blasting through the siding in the pursuit of removing the stubborn grime using a power washer
Using non recommended cleaner solutions that end up ruining the top layer