Siding serves as the protective skin of our homes, shielding them from the elements and enhancing their aesthetic appeal. With the myriad of siding options available, it is essential to understand the siding maintenance requirements of different materials to make an informed decision on which will be best suited for your home. This blog will focus on three popular siding choices: vinyl, composite, and aluminum. Each material has unique characteristics, and we’ll dive into their maintenance requirements.
Vinyl Siding: a Low-Maintenance Champion
Vinyl siding has recently gained immense popularity among homeowners due to its durability, affordability, and low maintenance needs. One of the standout benefits of vinyl siding is its resistance to rot, rust, and termite damage. This means it requires minimal attention to keep it looking great once installed.
To maintain vinyl siding, occasional cleaning with a mild detergent and water solution is usually sufficient. Sometimes, you may find using a power washer helpful for mildew or other stuck-on grime.
Cleaning vinyl siding involves using a specialized machine that sprays water at a high pressure to clean the surface. Washing siding with a power sprayer can help remove accumulated dirt, mold, mildew, and other pollutants that may have settled on the vinyl siding. It can restore the siding’s clean and vibrant appearance, making your home look fresh and well-maintained. However, it is important to exercise caution when using a power washer on vinyl siding. Here’s why:
Water Pressure: The high pressure of the water spray can cause damage to the siding if not used correctly. Excessive stress can strip away the protective coating, creating a rough surface. That rough texture is more susceptible to dirt buildup in the future. If you have an extra piece or two of siding from installation, it is a good idea to test the pressure setting of the power washer before starting on the house. Another thing to be aware of is that using too much pressure can forcefully push water under the siding, leading to potential water damage or mold growth.
Angle and Distance: The angle and distance at which the power washer is held are crucial. Holding the nozzle too close to the siding or aiming it at an incorrect angle can result in the water penetrating through the gaps of the siding or causing damage to the underlying materials.
Loose Siding: If any sections of your vinyl siding are loose or damaged, power washing can exacerbate the problem. The force of the water can further detach the loose siding or cause it to break, requiring additional repairs.
To avoid these issues, it is recommended to follow manufacturer guidelines when power washing vinyl siding. They have the expertise to guide how to adjust the water pressure, angle, and distance to ensure a thorough cleaning without causing damage. Regular visual inspections are always recommended to identify areas needing repair or replacement.
Composite Siding: a Blend of Strength and Maintenance
Composite or engineered wood siding balances wood’s natural look and engineered materials’ durability. While composite siding requires more maintenance than vinyl siding, it still provides several advantages.
Durability: Composite siding is known for its durability and resistance to impact, warping, cracking, and swelling. It can withstand harsh weather conditions and maintain its appearance for extended periods.
Low Maintenance: Compared to other siding materials, composite siding requires minimal maintenance. It is resistant to pests, water damage, and fading, reducing the need for constant repairs and upkeep. Cleaning the siding periodically is usually sufficient to keep it in good condition.
Versatility: Composite siding is available in a wide range of colors, styles, and finishes, allowing homeowners to achieve the desired aesthetic for their homes.
Moisture Resistance: Composite siding is designed to resist moisture infiltration, helping to prevent issues like rot, decay, and mold growth. While not completely impervious to moisture, composite siding is more resistant than materials like wood.
Eco-Friendly: Many composite siding products are made from recycled materials, reducing the demand for new resources and contributing to sustainable building practices. This can make composite siding an environmentally friendly choice for homeowners.
To maintain composite siding, periodic cleaning with soap and water is necessary to remove dirt, mold, and mildew. The siding should be inspected for any signs of moisture damage or rot. That damage is most likely to occur at the joints if they are not properly sealed, so checking those joints should be a part of your periodic inspections.
Composite siding must be adequately sealed to prevent water infiltration and prolong its lifespan. The sealant helps protect the siding from moisture damage. Over time, the sealant may deteriorate and require reapplication. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for sealant maintenance and be proactive in resealing any areas of concern. Keeping the siding properly sealed is also essential to prevent water infiltration and prolong its lifespan.
Aluminum Siding: the Lightweight Contender
Aluminum siding was once a popular choice for homeowners due to its affordability and resistance to fire. However, its maintenance requirements have caused its popularity to decline in recent years.
Aluminum boasts excellent resistance to fire and is a long-lasting material. It can, however, be prone to oxidation and fading. While aluminum siding is rust-resistant, it can still rust and oxidize over time. This can result in a dull appearance and compromise the protective properties of the siding. As with the other forms of siding mentioned above, regular cleaning and using non-abrasive cleaners can help prevent corrosion and oxidation.
Avoid High-Pressure Cleaning: High-pressure cleaning should be avoided with this material as it can cause damage to aluminum siding by denting or deforming the panels and causing the paint to strip off or fade more quickly.
Install a Protective Coating: Applying a protective coating, such as a clear sealant or wax, can help protect aluminum siding from fading and oxidation. These coatings can also help prevent scratches and reduce the buildup of dirt and debris.
Repaint Regularly: Over time, the factory finish on aluminum siding can fade, making it necessary to repaint the siding. Repainting with high-quality outdoor paint can help prevent further fading and protect the siding from damage caused by exposure to the elements.
It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when cleaning or applying protective coatings to aluminum siding to avoid causing damage to the siding or affecting any warranties.
All types of siding, whether composite, aluminum, vinyl or any other material, require some level of maintenance to ensure their longevity and appearance. Homeowners must consider each siding option’s pros and cons when planning a new installation. While some materials like aluminum or vinyl may offer low maintenance requirements, they may not provide the same aesthetic appeal as composite siding. It ultimately comes down to individual preferences, budget, and the time and effort homeowners are willing to invest in maintaining their siding. By understanding the maintenance requirements of different siding options, homeowners can make an informed decision that best suits their needs and priorities.
Before deciding which siding material to choose, it is advisable to consult with professionals. Trico Exteriors can provide expert advice based on your home’s specific needs and preferences. Contact us today if you’d like to discuss your options or get an estimate. We serve Charleston, SC, Savannah, GA, and surrounding areas. With proper installation, maintenance, and care, your siding will protect your home and enhance its curb appeal for years to come.