How to Safely Pressure Wash Vinyl Siding on Your Home
Get Your Vinyl Siding Bright and Clean Without Voiding Your Siding Warranty
One of the most common types of residential siding we clean is vinyl siding. Vinyl is a popular choice for siding in the Maryland area. From season to season, this type of surface attracts dust, insect droppings, grass stains, pollen, and algae, resulting in a green, dingy look.
The grooves and texture in vinyl siding are particularly prone to accumulating residues, blue-green algae and insect droppings. Occasionally we see mold and mildew form in dark speckles. The north side of the home is especially prone to growth due to reduced exposure to sunlight, and often we do the north side of the home twice.
Fortunately, if vinyl is cleaned on a routine basis, these unsightly stuck-ons can be removed without causing any long-term stains. Here’s how we approach pressure washing vinyl siding.
Precautions to Pressure Washing Vinyl Siding
Cleaning a home with vinyl siding is not something to be approached haphazardly. While a pressure washing machine is extremely powerful, there are serious risks to using one to clean a home.
- No pressure washing company should use the strength of the water itself to clean vinyl siding. Vinyl, which is designed for rain, is fragile and is easily damaged.
- Shock hazards are present with outdoor electrical components, such as an electrical meter, the lines/conduit around it, outlets, and air conditioning unit, which should not be sprayed directly.
- Gutters, flashing, soffits, windows, doors and trim shouldn’t be sprayed directly due to the risk of water injection and water damage.
- Dangers of mixing and inadvertently inhaling or exposing one’s body to concentrated chemicals
- It is extremely dangerous to attempt to use a ladder for pressure washing vinyl siding. Our technicians use high-strength equipment that allows them to reach high areas.
Prepare the Work Area
The best way to be productive, efficient and safe is to prepare the work area ahead of time.
Remove furniture, décor and protect adjacent plants with a tarp or clean overspray. If it is an extremely dry and/or windy day, a siding pre-rinse may be helpful. Then, prepare a chemical mix according to the type of siding and residue that needs to be removed.
Cleaning Vinyl Siding
We start by mixing a cleaning solution and spraying the siding in a fanning motion with the solution. The mix is powerful enough to kill any organisms growing on the surface and loosen other residues. In heavily soiled areas the technician may use a synthetic bristle brush to further agitate the stuck on debris.
A technician should never direct a high-pressure stream of water toward the siding at a close distance. Not only are cracks and holes a real risk, using improper pressure washing techniques can result in the void of most vinyl siding’s warranty (typically 50 years to lifetime warranty).
The detergent does the heavy lifting, NOT the power of the pressure washer. We allow approximately 10-15 minutes for the detergent to activate and work prior to rinsing. That allows the chemicals to kill mildew, mold, and algae, making them much easier to remove from vinyl siding. It is important to not allow the chemicals to dry on the surfaces.
Spraying always occurs in a top to bottom motion through a wave action. The technician will use a wide, fan spray and stand at least 6 feet from the siding. Vinyl is not meant to receive water sprayed upward from the ground. It is designed to handle light rain water falling downward from the sky. Shooting water upward can easily inject water between the siding strips, trapping moisture and causing damage to the wood beneath. Our technicians are careful to spray at a safe distance and angle, with precise, soft-spray nozzles to avoid any damage to the vinyl siding.
Once the job is done, the technician gently rinses the nearby plants again and allows the surface to air dry.
Frequently Asked Questions
How often should I clean vinyl siding?
We recommend cleaning vinyl siding at a minimum, every two years. In some cases it is better to wash it annually, especially if the weather has been particularly wet or your home is in a wooded, shady lot. This prevents too much growth and build up that could result in a permanent stain.
What if my siding is older?
If you have a home built before the 1970s, there is a chance that lead paint and/or asbestos may be present on your home’s exterior. Due to the risks of disturbing these surfaces and exposing anyone to these chemicals we would recommend getting these surfaces tested prior to pressure washing services.
Why is there mold and mildew on my siding?
The natural sugars in organic materials, like pollen, organic dusts and leaves accumulate in a thin layer on exterior surfaces. Microscopic mildew and algae actually feed on these sugars! They are not necessarily harmful to you but they should be removed to prevent further growth and stains.
Considering a Pressure Washing Company to Clean Your Vinyl Siding?
Pressure washing vinyl siding is definitely a project many homeowners could do themselves. However, if you’ve never done it before or don’t have the correct cleaning equipment, we recommend calling a professional exterior cleaning company.
Renting pressure washing machine will cost you approximately $75 to $100 per day, not including the cost of the chemicals. Many homeowners burn the entire weekend trying to rent the equipment and get the entire project done in time.
Then there’s the hassle of finding the correct detergents, nozzle angle, and water pressure strength for the surface they want to clean.
Occasionally, the pressure washing project results in more harm than good as they puncture the vinyl siding or can’t get an even clean over the whole house.
Sometimes the homeowner starts cleaning the vinyl siding only to discover they really should also have their deck, patios, windows and roof cleaned too. With the time, cleaning agents, and tools needed to finish the job, they turn to a pressure washing company like us.
With an excellent, 5-star reputation, we serve the greater Baltimore area with our residential and commercial pressure washing services. We’d be happy to provide a free quote and answer any questions you may have!
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