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How to Clean and Repair Your Home's Vinyl Siding for an Improved Look

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After years of sitting in the sun and weather, your home's vinyl siding can become quite dirty and damaged. Bird droppings, insect stains, rust discoloration, dirt, and grim can all make your vinyl siding look old and dingy. As part of restoring the look of your siding, it is necessary that you remove all these types of stains and residues. Then, any holes and cracks in your siding should be repaired to avoid damage to your home's exterior. Here are some instructions to help you clean and repair your vinyl siding to improve its look.

Clean the Exterior

A regular garden hose and a sprayer attachment are perfect for wetting your siding to prepare it for cleaning. Then, use a soft-bristled, long-handled brush to apply a mixture of 30 percent laundry detergent with 70 percent water to your siding, scrubbing any stains and stuck-on residue. Then, rinse the siding clean with your garden hose, beginning at the bottom and working your way up. Starting at the bottom of the siding and working up prevents any area on your siding from drying prematurely to create streaks.

You can use a power washer to clean your siding, but be careful what type of power-washer tip you use as to not damage your siding. Make sure to use a attachment nozzle that is not going to gouge into your siding. Good choices include a universal green-colored 25-degree tip and a low-pressure, universal black-colored tip. Use the green-colored tip to rinse the surface, then the black-colored tip to spray on your siding cleaning mixture of laundry detergent and water. Following the application of the cleaning mixture, rinse with clean water with the green-colored tip.

Make sure you only spray the water directly at the siding with your power washer and not at an angle. Spraying at an angle can force water behind your siding panels, causing water damage to your home.

Repair Damage

Once your siding is clean and has dried completely, patch and repair any holes, cracks, and tears with vinyl siding caulk in a matching color. Any puncture holes in your siding left over from siding hooks, screws, and other attachments on your home's exterior, you can fill in with caulk. You can find vinyl siding caulk at most local home-improvement stores.

Press the tip of your caulk tube into the hole and squeeze it until it has filled the space behind the siding around the hole. Over-fill the puncture hole slightly and level off the filled hole with the tip of your finger. This repair will prevent water from getting behind your siding and causing damage to your home. 

For a crack in your vinyl siding, you can repair it with a two-part vinyl epoxy filler, also found at most home-improvement stores. Combine the two parts to the filler and press the mixture into the crack of your vinyl siding with a putty knife. Next, spread the epoxy over the vinyl siding to cover the crack and the area around the crack. Allow the epoxy to dry fully, following the package directions, and then sand over the surface of the patch with a fine sanding block.

If your vinyl siding has been damaged with a hole too large for you to fill in with caulk, you can patch the hole. Cut out a patch from an extra piece of siding to measure slightly larger than the hole in the siding so the patch overlaps the sides around the hole. Squeeze a liberal amount of vinyl siding caulk onto the back of the patch, and then press it centered over the hole. Use some masking tape to hold the patch onto the siding until the caulk completely dries.

If you don't like the condition and appearance of your cleaned and repaired siding, you can paint the siding with a new coat of exterior siding paint. Make sure you prepare the surface with primer to help the paint adhere fully.

Talk to a company such as Miller Roofing & Guttering Inc. for more information.