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) - Just as your car gets dirty, so does your home's siding. The good news is that if your home has vinyl siding, it's almost as easy to clean as your car.
Imagine, with nothing more than a hose and water, mild soap and a long-handled soft bristle brush, you can keep your home looking its best.
"When it comes to beauty, value, and ease of maintenance, nothing comes close to vinyl siding
, which is why it has been the leading exterior cladding in the U.S. and Canada since 1995," said Jery Y. Huntley, president & CEO of the Vinyl Siding Institute.
Vinyl siding is the exterior cladding that demands the least amount of time and resources to maintain. And for time-starved homeowners, that's one less thing to worry about.
Compare that to your neighbors' houses:
* Brick requires re-pointing of mortar.
* Fiber cement siding requires periodic painting and caulking.
* Wood siding requires frequent painting and staining.
* Stucco requires painting and sealing.
But vinyl siding ... well, here's how easy it is to make your vinyl siding clean and the envy of the neighborhood:
First, mix your cleaning solution in a large bucket. Four gallons of water and 1/4 cup of dish soap should do the trick.
Start at the top, and work your way down to prevent streaks, hose off a section to remove any loose debris, then wet your brush in the cleaning solution and scrub the siding.
Be sure to rinse away the soapy water before it dries, or it will leave marks on the siding.
Small spots of mold and mildew can be cleaned with common cleaners such as Fantastik or Windex.
Have stains? Try a solution of 30 percent vinegar and 70 percent water.
Be sure to spot check any general or stain-specific cleaner before using it on a large section of siding. After removing the stain, rinse thoroughly with water. Do not use cleaners containing organic solvents, undiluted chlorine bleach, liquid grease remover, nail polish remover or furniture polish or cleaners. They can affect the surface of the siding.
If using a pressure washer, be sure to keep the stream at eye level and pointed straight at the siding, not at an angle. That way, you won't drive water in behind the siding, which could cause mold to develop. Also, use caution when using a pressure washer around openings like windows, doors and plumbing connections.
Take note that some manufacturers don't want pressure washers used on their products at all. Others allow them, but have limitations on the amount of pressure and the cleaners that can be used.
With just a little bit of time and effort, vinyl siding can be kept looking "like new" and will provide many years of trouble-free beauty for your home. To learn more about vinyl siding, visit www.vinylsiding.org