ressure washing your home’s vinyl siding is one of the best ways to restore its original luster. If you are looking for the biggest bang for your buck and aren’t afraid to roll up your sleeves and invest a little sweat equity, then keep reading!
Choose your weapons wisely! The proper chemicals, combined with the right pressure and a few simple techniques are the best tools to wash the grime and mold from your vinyl siding. When performed properly you can really turn your home’s exterior from drab to fab!
Choosing the right solvent/chemical cleaners can be a daunting task. There are mainly two types of dirtiness that you will be fighting. The first thing you are going to be up against is dirt and grime, the second being mold and mildew. Take a close look at the siding to identify the presence of mold or mildew. If there is mold or mildew present on your vinyl siding, then a fungicidal component to the solvent will be necessary. De-greaser alone will not do the job thoroughly. Check your local hardware store for the right solvent.
The pre-soak is the key to not having to scrub. After you have chosen your solvent, you will have to apply it to the vinyl siding. The best way to do this is to use a pressure washer with a solvent mixing capability. Most pressure washers that you can rent or buy at the hardware store have this feature included. You can also use a pump sprayer to apply the solvent. Just make sure to read the directions on the solvent packaging carefully before attempting to apply chemicals to your home’s siding.
Prevent streaking, start from the bottom and work your way up! Starting from the bottom will help prevent streaking as the solvent will drip downwards and have a tendency dry quickly, especially in direct sunlight, or if the solvent is not kept damp. It is very important to keep the area where the soap has been applied damp using a broad coverage (wide) nozzle. Work your way up vertically instead of side to side. The trick here is to use enough water to keep the entire work area damp without actually rinsing the solvent away. Once you have reached the top follow up with a rinse of the entire work area vertically from the top down to make sure none of the remaining contaminants that have dripped down from the earlier work can dry and re-deposit on the clean areas.
1) Remove all objects near the house and work area. Seal off all exterior electrical devices such as lamps and outdoor power outlets using plastic sheeting and duct tape. Trim shrubs and plants back away from the house to prevent any chemicals from drying on foliage.
2) Start out with a small inconspicuous area around 5′ by 5′ square. This will help you to determine the amount of work that will be required to actually remove the dirt and mildew. This will also help you calibrate your pressure/power washer to the most effective pressure settings and nozzle choice.
Remember! We don’t want to blow the siding off the house, we just want to “scrape” the contaminants away on a sheet of water!
3) Apply the chemical solvent using a pressure washer and let it soak for the manufacturer’s recommended time.
4) Rinse the solvent at the recommended time interval at around 1200 psi with a 40 degree nozzle. Use a side to side sweeping motion being careful not to aim upwards and risk getting moisture behind the siding. Never pull the trigger on the power washer when aiming at the house as the initial high pressure pulse can crack and severely damage the vinyl siding. If a higher pressure is required to lift the contaminants away from the siding slowly increase the pressure taking care not damage the vinyl. When attempting to calibrate your pressure washer for the most effective power keep in mind that as you hold the nozzle closer to the siding, more of the pressure is focused on a smaller area. It is very important to keep a consistent 12 inches away from the surface at all times. Keeping this consistent distance will produce nice even results and lower the risk of damage.
5) Repeat steps 1-4 until you reach the top of the house while being sure to keep the entire vertical work area damp to prevent streaking and redepositing of contaminants and solution. By now you should have approximately a five foot wide column of clean siding all the way to the top of the house.
6) Follow up with a final rinse of the entire vertical work area working from the top to the bottom. Feel free the increase the size of the work area larger than 5′x5′ at a time as you become more confident, just don’t bite off more than you can chew! The important thing is to work in vertical “chunks” to prevent soap and contaminants from drying and redepositing on clean areas, as this will result in streaking.
If you don’t want to go to the trouble to do this type of work yourself, contact a professional pressure cleaning contractor. Our company specializes in exterior house washing and can safely and effectively remove mold and mildew from your vinyl siding. We also offer hot wax treatments which add longevity between cleanings.