Aluminum siding first began to be used for covering home exteriors in the 1940s and continued to be used through the 1970s. Because producing aluminum siding used a lot of energy and raw materials, its production and use began to decline in the 1970s. Despite this decline in use, aluminum siding is one of the most common types of siding you will find on homes today, so you may have it on your own home. Your aluminum siding is long-lasting and can last from 40 years to the life of your home. However, it should still be maintained well. Here are some cleaning and maintenance tips to help you keep your aluminum siding looking great and lasting as long as possible.
Wash Siding to Maintain and Prepare for Painting
One of the benefits of aluminum siding is that it does not corrode into an orange-brown rust. Although, over time, your aluminum siding can oxidize and corrode in the sun as a chalky white film forms over its surface. For this reason, it is a good idea to clean your aluminum siding each year to remove and prevent oxidation build-up, and remove any dirt and debris.
It is also recommended to repaint your aluminum siding every five to ten years to keep it maintained. If your siding is in need of a new coat of paint, be sure to remove any oxidization from its surface so the new paint can adhere onto the siding's surface. You can do this using a pressure washer, or your garden hose, a nozzle sprayer attachment, and a nylon bristled cleaning brush. You will also need an acidic cleaning solution to remove the layer of oxidation.
Make An Acidic Cleaning Solution
Make your own acidic cleaning solution by mixing equal parts white vinegar and water in a cleaning bucket. The acid solution removes the chalky-oxidation build-up and is also a good way to clean off any mold and mildew growth on your siding. Be careful not to spray the solution on any of your outdoor vegetation as it will kill it. If this occurs, wash off any sprayed vegetation with clean water as soon as possible.
Prepare and Wash Your Siding
First, close any windows and screen doors on your home before rinsing your aluminum siding. Spray the exterior of your aluminum siding beginning at the top and working your way down. This is to remove any dirt and other debris particles.
If you are using a power washer for this step, make sure to use a 15 degree washer nozzle so you don't damage your siding. If you spray the aluminum siding with too much force, it can leave dents in the siding you won't be able to remove. Also, don't spray the pressure washer at an angle, but always spray it straight on. Spraying at an angle can force water under the siding where it will become trapped and cause moisture damage, mold, and mildew.
Remove the Oxidation
If you are using a power washer, spray the acid solution onto your siding using a low-pressure tip, then scrub off the aluminum oxidation with a long-handled nylon brush. Work in sections as you spray on the acid solution and scrub with the brush so the solution doesn't have a chance to dry on the siding. If you do not have a pressure washer, dip your brush into the acid solution and scrub the siding.
After you have removed the oxidation with the solution, rinse the siding clean with your hose or power washer and a 15 degree or greater washer tip. If your siding has gone several years without being cleaned, you may need to repeat this cleaning process with the acid solution to remove all the oxidation build-up.
If any areas of your aluminum siding have become rust-stained from contact with a metal object containing iron, use any commercial rust removing product to clean the orange-brown stain from the aluminum. Then, rinse this with clean water.
Now your siding has been washed and cleaned for the year and is also ready for a new coat of paint, if needed.
For more information, or if you feel you cannot do this on your own, contact a professional siding contractor, such as those at Miller Roofing & Guttering Inc..