5 Tips for How to Clean and Maintain Your Siding

Ebonee Williams
Written by Ebonee Williams
Updated October 21, 2021
Striking green siding with cedar shake on small house
Photo: David Papazian / Corbis / Getty Images

Doing what you can to extend the life of your siding can save you money and keep you safe inside your home

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Your siding is up, it looks great, and you want to keep it looking that way for years to come. We’re going to look at the most common siding and how to maintain it so that it stays clean and keeps you safe. Check out our top five tips to prolong the life of the siding on your home, from vinyl to stucco siding.

1. Inspect Diligently

While you may love wood for its beauty, it can be a lot to maintain. Pests, weather, and normal wear and tear can easily (and majorly) damage your wood. So, it’s important to inspect and treat wood about every six months, especially if you start to notice signs of decay. 

When it comes to vinyl, you won’t have to worry about rotting. But you will need to make sure there are no cracks or loose pieces trapping moisture behind the surface. 

You might have heard that fiber cement siding is 100% maintenance-free, but it isn’t.

Weather can damage fiber cement, just like the other siding options. Watch out for warping, cracks in the siding and paint, and any signs of mold.

2. Paint and Seal Often

Be sure to stain your wood siding every five years to protect it, or opt for a clear sealer. These sealers stop moisture damage and help wood retain its natural color, but you must apply them at least every two years. 

The color of your vinyl won’t last forever, but there’s hope. You can save the color on your vinyl by applying high-quality exterior latex paint. But make sure to use a lighter color; darker colors absorb the sun’s heat and cause your siding to warp. Use white, gray, or pale yellow to paint your vinyl siding. 

One of fiber cement’s strengths is holding paint, so typically, you won’t have to think about painting for another 10 to 20 years. If you plan to switch up the color, make sure to use only exterior-grade acrylic paint. 

3. Wash Regularly

Woman spraying the siding on her house
Photo: Ozgur Coskun / Adobe Stock

Dirt and mildew are not your friends. To remove dirt, use warm soap and water with a soft-bristled brush. You’ll need a heavy-duty solution to remove mildew. Instead of using soap, use one part bleach and four parts water to get rid of any mildew. You should clean wood siding at least once a year. Cleaning vinyl siding is easy; simply use a garden hose with a decent amount of pressure once a year.

However, fiber cement siding can withstand the power of a pressure washer better than other siding options. If you have one, it’s a great tool to use every few years if you live in an environment with a lot of dust. But be careful not to get too enthusiastic and start taking the paint off! In most cases, your garden hose can get the job done.

4. Protect Your Siding

Keep bushes, tree branches, and shrubs away. None of these should touch your siding. Moisture loves to find its way into cracks and crevices of wood siding, and foliage is the freeway it uses.

Your vinyl won’t dent, but it can crack or break—especially if you run into it while you’re mowing the lawn. If you happen to spot a cracked section, it’s best to replace it sooner rather than later.

5. Keep Heat Away

Watch out for all forms of intense heat—like barbecues and fire pits—if you want to keep your vinyl from melting away. Most siding options can withstand significant sun exposure, but additional heat can cause some serious damage if you’re not careful. So, be sure to give your siding some space when you fire up the grill next spring. 

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