Once again, the cold winds and freezing temperatures of winter have come to greet us. But while you’re curled up in the house with a mug of hot chocolate, your home’s exterior is exposed to all of the unpleasant weather conditions that the winter months can bring. Vinyl siding is known for its durability, but winter weather can be brutal and neglecting regular maintenance can significantly reduce your vinyl siding’s lifespan. So what sort of winter maintenance for vinyl siding can homeowners perform to ensure the exterior of their home is ready for the cold season? Keep reading to find out some valuable vinyl siding maintenance tips for winter!
Keep an Eye on Your Vinyl Siding
By far the easiest thing that you can do to keep your home’s siding in good shape is to inspect it regularly. This way, small problems can be taken care of before they get out of control. This can (and should) be done during any time of year, not just in winter. When checking the exterior of your home, look for signs of damage or holes. Holes in the siding can cause all sorts of problems, such as letting in insects and other unwanted critters, water damage, mildew, and decreasing the energy efficiency of your home.
You can also look at the overall siding installation during your inspection. Check for any siding panels that are loose or becoming detached. Vinyl siding should not be installed tight, and there should be room for movement with the natural expansion and contraction of the house during warm and cold weather. If a panel is coming off, this leads to the same problems as a hole in your siding material, but on a larger scale.
Give Vinyl Siding a Wash
Winter doesn’t seem like a great time to wash your vinyl siding, but it’s actually better to clean in the winter than let the grime build up to wash it in the spring. The constant moisture on your siding helps mold grow, and as the snow melts, the dirt in the snow is left on your vinyl siding. After repeated snow cycles, the accumulation of material on your siding becomes quite heavy and is a much tougher cleaning job by springtime.
Cleaning vinyl siding is a simple process. All you need is a long-handled bristle brush and a cleaning solution. You can make your own cleaner by mixing three parts water and one part bleach. If you don’t want to use bleach, you can also make a vinegar and water mixture out of 70 percent water and 30 percent white vinegar. A small amount of laundry detergent diluted in water is another option. Then, all that you need to do is start scrubbing! Although it may seem counterintuitive, washing your siding from the bottom to the top is the best way to prevent streaking. If you have stone or brick facing in addition to vinyl siding, consider covering it up to prevent staining.
Using a power washer to wash your vinyl siding isn’t recommended, as the force of a power washer can cause water to become trapped under your siding, or even damage the siding itself. Plus, if you’re cleaning your vinyl siding on a regular basis, you don’t need the extra power of a power washer.
Washing your vinyl siding isn’t something you have to do every week, but it’s good to give it a scrub about every month, even in winter (just don’t pick a day when it’s too cold)!
Other Winter Vinyl Siding Tips
To help keep your siding looking its best, you should be checking your gutters and downspouts on a regular basis. Clogged gutters can cause dirty water to overflow and run down your siding and into your home’s foundation. Keeping your gutters free of leaves and other debris ensures that rainwater gets to your downspouts and away from your house, and also prevents your gutters form being jammed full of ice in winter as the sun melts water from your roof.
Vinyl siding should never be painted. Not only does it look messy and unprofessional, but painting vinyl siding can void many manufacturers’ warranties. Paint does not adhere to vinyl siding well, and within a year you will probably see peeling paint. Rather than painting your siding, either clean it using the tips we’ve already mentioned or consult a professional vinyl siding company to replace your siding.
To help keep your vinyl siding looking great all year round, you should cover your vinyl siding when performing outdoor construction work, especially jobs that are using concrete, chemicals, or dyes. These can cause your siding to become discolored, stained, or otherwise damaged.
When in Doubt, Seek a Professional
Even if you’re inspecting and washing your vinyl siding regularly, it’s still a good idea to consult a siding expert and have your siding inspected annually by a reputable siding company. They’re the professionals who deal with siding every day and know what to look for and how to get problems solved. Make sure to do your research, and consult resources like the Better Business Bureau, as well as online reviews. When you consult with a company you trust, you can be confident in their decision if they tell you that you need a large amount of repair work or new siding.
Don’t Ignore Your Vinyl Siding in Winter
Winter maintenance for vinyl siding is crucial to protect your house from being damaged by the elements. With a little maintenance and upkeep, your vinyl siding will continue to keep your home protected for decades and through every season. When the time comes to replace your vinyl siding, contact us at Factory Direct Siding and experience the classic look of shake siding without the hassle of wood siding!