Cleaning & Maintaining Your Fiber Cement Siding

Posted on: 4 May 2017

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From planting grass and establishing flower beds to painting shutters and washing windows, these tasks are necessary for the curb appeal of your home. Although most homeowners understand the importance of cleaning and maintaining curb appeal, the exterior siding is not always a priority. Considering it is the basis of your home's exterior look and acts as a shell covering the inside, your siding is a truly important feature.

Thankfully, homes with fiber cement siding do not have a great deal of maintenance to worry about. However, periodic cleaning and painting every 15 years or so, your fiber cement siding will remain durable and attractive. With these tips, you will know when and how to clean and paint this imperative part of your home.

The 101 on Cleaning

One of the easiest ways to prevent heavy dirt and mold build up is by washing the siding off periodically. Removing light dirt, dust, grass clippings, mud, pine straw, and other debris from your fiber cement does not have to be a difficult process. Although spraying off the exterior with your garden hose is a good preventative measure, your traditional hose most likely does not offer a strong enough PSI, or pounds per square inch, of water pressure. To efficiently and effectively remove debris, consider using a light duty pressure washer that offers up to 2,000 PSI.

Connect the pressure washer hose to your outdoor garden spigot. Then, stand a few feet away from your siding and hold the sprayer nozzle at an angle. Use side to side motions, spraying the exterior of your house in a sweeping motion.

The pressure of the water will release heavy dirt and dust without the need for toxic chemicals.

Unfortunately, small spots of brown or black on your siding may be mold or algae. Although most common in warm, moist areas, mold and algae can develop in any type of climate. Not only does it affect your curb appeal and look, but the hazardous growth can also damage your fiber cement. This will reduce the durability and lifespan of your siding, so removal is essential.

Most homeowners will use bleach to kill the mold and algae, but safer options are available. In a large sprayer bottle, combine 2 gallons of water with 2 gallons of vinegar. Mix the liquids together before spraying on patches of mold or algae. The acidic properties of vinegar will eat through the residue while killing the bacteria to prevent further growth.

Since mold ad algae are toxic, be sure to wear rubber gloves, eye goggles, and a respirator mask. This gear will prevent exposure to the harmful growth.

Restoring 101

A few coats of fresh paint will restore the look of your fiber cement. You can choose to match your existing color or choose an entirely new color for a different look for your home. If you want to keep the same color, bring a small sample of your siding to your paint department so they can match up the color and tone.

If you choose to change the color of your siding completely, you may also need to purchase paint for your shutters and trim. Paint for your shutters and trim should complement, not match,  the color of your siding.

Paint should be acrylic latex that is specifically designed for use on exterior surfaces. Be sure to purchase enough paint to allow the application of two coats. This will ensure a smooth and thorough paint application, which will create an attractive and durable shell for your home.

Fiber cement is a durable option for your home's siding, but you will need to conduct periodic cleaning and maintenance. To learn more, contact services like Lifetime Exteriors.