Posted on: 17 March 2015
Owning a home can be pretty stressful. From the initial purchase to cleaning and maintenance, the challenges are easy to see. Unfortunately, many homeowners do not place much time and effort into their home's exterior. Considering exterior siding is an imperative part of your home's appeal and value, choosing the best option is key to protecting your investment. If you are searching for a valuable, durable, and attractive siding option for your home, consider fiber cement. With this guide, you will understand the benefits and learn the best techniques to clean your home's new exterior.
Fiber Cement 101
Constructed out of wood pulp fibers and cement, fiber cement creates a durable, protective shell for your home's exterior. It is available in a variety of colors, so there is an option for your specific personality.
Also known as James Hardie siding, fiber cement siding adds architectural details to any home with its natural appeal. While more expensive than traditional vinyl, most manufacturers offer a warranty of between 30 to 50 years. With proper cleaning and maintenance, your fiber cement exterior will offer a large return on your investment.
Your home's exterior will encounter a great deal of abuse over time. Dirt, debris, pollution, and other particles will quickly build up, so washing your siding periodically is smart. To remove this light surface residue, a pressure washer is your best option.
Rent or purchase a traditional pressure washer to rinse your home's exterior. Avoid excessive water pressure since it may loosen or break the fiber cement.
Stand a few feet away from your home's exterior and move the sprayer wand in a side-to-side motion across the siding. Work your way around the entire home.
Visit your local home improvement store or discount retailer and you will see a large selection of cleaning products for your home. While most are effective, a more involved cleanser may be necessary for your home's exterior. Consider the following cleaning solutions for your fiber cement siding:
Trisodium Phosphate, or TSP, is an effective option for removing stubborn areas of dirt and debris. However, take precaution when using this harsh chemical by wearing rubber gloves and safety goggles. In addition, use plastic sheeting to cover surrounding shrubs, flowerbeds, and trees before washing your siding with TSP.
In an outdoor pump sprayer, combine ½ cup of TSP with every gallon of water. Shake the container to mix before pumping the handle to create pressure. Douse the solution on one section of siding at a time. Allow it to soak for 15 minutes before rinsing with your pressure washer.
Although common in warm, moist climates, mold, mildew, and algae can wreak havoc on homes in any part of the country. If you are dealing with these dark, greenish patches of growth on your siding, your first inclination may be cleaning with bleach.
Bleach is an effective option for cleaning and mold removal. Unfortunately, chlorinated bleach also poses some health and environmental concerns. It can irritate your skin and eyes, while also causing respiratory issues. Lastly, using bleach on your home's exterior will create a toxic environment for your children, pets, and wildlife and damage surrounding landscaping.
To remove mold, mildew, or algae from your fiber cement siding, consider vinegar. In your outdoor sprayer, combine the following:
- 2 gallons of water
- 2 gallons of white vinegar
Spray the vinegar solution on patches of mold, mildew, and algae. Allow to sit for 30 minutes. Use a soft-bristled brush to scrub stubborn areas away. Rinse with your pressure washer or garden hose.
Fiber cement siding enhances your home's curb appeal and value tremendously, but proper maintenance is key. Using this information, you will have a better appreciation for your new siding.Share