You’ve had James Hardie siding installed on your home, and it looks great! When you arrive home, you think about how you made the perfect choice in your siding re-do. Neighbors have complimented your home’s new look and color, and visitors have spent time admiring it before coming inside. You’ve already started thinking about several months and years from now: You want your siding to keep its brand-new appearance for as long as possible.
We want to help! We’re going to discuss cleaning new siding so that you’re able to maintain yours long into the future.
Cleaning Your James Hardie siding
James Hardie has a (short!) Homeowner Care & Maintenance Guide on its website that explains cleaning procedures, offers general maintenance suggestions, and shares repair and painting procedures.
As a general guideline, you should wash your siding and trim once or twice a year; for example, every April during your Spring Cleaning routine and then every October as you do fall maintenance tasks. Or, maybe you’ll find that summer is the perfect time to clean your siding and only time you’ll need to do a dedicated job of it.
Of course, your home is subject to the elements all year long. It won’t wait until just before your planned cleaning to dirty itself. (If only!) Fortunately, James Hardie siding is easy to clean. That’s probably one of the many reasons that you purchased it.
After a particularly windy or stormy day, your siding is likely to have spots that are marked by dirt and debris. To clean them, you’ll need a garden hose and a soft brush or cloth. A hard metal brush or an abrasive sponge can damage the siding. An All Paint Poly brush, chip brush, or horsehair brush works well.
If you use a brush to clean the area, first brush away the dirt and debris, and then rinse with the hose. If you use a cloth, wet the cloth first, and wipe the spot side to side, in the direction of the planking. After the grime is gone, rinse with the hose.
You’ll want to start at the top and work your way down, so that you don’t cause streaks on clean planking, or inadvertently spread grime from a dirty area into a clean one. Cleaning in smaller sections will also help you to avoid these issues.
Cleaning Oil and Grease
After a barbeque, after working on the car, or in umpteen other circumstances, organic contaminants like grease and oil can end up on your siding. For these more pesky stains, water complemented with a mild detergent will do the trick. Use a soft cloth that is thoroughly wet with soapy water, and clean the stain, rinsing your cloth often. After you’ve gotten the detergent on the entire stain, rinse the area with your trusty garden hose.
Cleaning Mold and Mildew
These two are probably everyone’s least favorite surprises. Mildew can look like dirt, so make sure that you know which you’re dealing with. You’ll need a soft cloth or sponge. a cleaner that specifically cleans the mold or mildew, and your garden hose. Be sure to follow the cleaner’s directions completely, taking all safety precautions and using the cleaner as directed. Gently scrub the area and then rinse with your hose.
Note about using a pressure washer
If you have or plan to rent a pressure washer, make sure that you carefully read and follow the manufacturer’s safety and operation guidelines. Ensure that the pressure is below 1,500 psi. Use a fan tip attachment and stand at least 6 feet away from the siding when washing. Complement this with a soft medium bristle (nonmetal) brush. Acid and high pressure can damage your siding.
General Maintenance Suggestions
James Hardie also offers helpful maintenance suggestions for ensuring that your home does not sustain unnecessary damage from the elements:
- Install gutters and downspouts
- Check (and clean, if needed) gutters, blocked pipes and overflows
- Ensure that sprinklers are not overly spraying the walls of your home or continuously saturating the ground closest to your house
- Use sand or gravel rather than deicing salts near your home in winter, if needed, as these can damage the finish of your siding
- Ensure that required external ground clearances (typically 6 inches) and drainage slopes are maintained. Do not add landscape features against your siding.
Nashville-area homeowners, we’d love to help you with your siding projects! Contact us to get a free quote and learn more about our services.