In the grand scheme of home improvements, siding is one of the greatest investments that a homeowner is bound to make. Each type of siding material comes with its own set of rules and instructions for proper upkeep, and of course, some materials require more maintenance than others.
Vinyl is an appealing siding option for many homeowners because it is relatively maintenance- free. However, vinyl does require a good power wash at least once a year. On top of this, if you notice that a certain section of your vinyl siding has gotten dirty, then a simple hose cleaning to remove the grime is a good idea. The longer the dirt fits there, the more it is likely to set in. So it's better to tackle the problem shortly after you become aware of it. You'll also want to make sure that any cleaning solution you use will not harm the siding or strip it of its color. Your siding contractor can advise you on what types of cleaners are suitable for siding maintenance, or you can ask an associate at your local hardware store for a recommendation.
Stucco is another low-maintenance material that requires little effort on the part of the homeowner. Usually, the occasional power wash will usually do the trick. However, if you begin to notice cracks in your stucco, then be sure to get them repaired as soon as possible to avoid bigger problems down the road.
Fiber cement is another type of siding that does not demand a great deal of maintenance. But a regularly-scheduled power wash is certainly in order. Homeowners with fiber cement siding should also make sure to repaint it as necessary.
Of all the siding materials available to homeowners, wood requires the highest degree of maintenance. When it comes to wood, it is important to be proactive in tackling wear and tear. Many contractors will liken wood siding maintenance to that of hardwood floors; it requires consistent care, but offers a wonderfully aesthetic reward. To wash wood siding, it is preferred to use a hose and not a power washer. The key is to only apply light pressure so as not to cause the paint or sealant to come off. A safe cleaner for natural wood is oxygen bleach, as it will not strip the siding of its color or damage any surrounding vegetation. Of course, even with the appropriate cleaning materials, wood siding will still need to be repainted every number of years. It is also important that homeowners reapply stain and sealant as per the siding company and manufacturer's recommendations to ensure that the wood stays properly protected. The more protected the wood, the less likely it is to rot and degrade over time.
Every homeowner should remember that with siding installation comes an extended commitment on his part to properly maintain this rather significant investment. A modest yet consistent effort on the part of the homeowner can result in preserved siding that will last for many years to come.