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For the average homeowner, a home is the single most valuable asset they own. And while real estate has historically appreciated over time, there’s more to protecting a home’s value than simply sitting back and letting time pass. In order to ensure your home increases in value alongside the rest of the market, you have to commit to regular maintenance.

When it comes to your home, the interior may be where you spend most of your time, but the exterior is what draws people in – especially when it comes time to put your property on the market.

“In the real estate business, curb appeal is known as the frosting and refers to a property’s overall appearance from the street, incorporating its age, condition and design,” real estate expert Tricia Chaves points out. “Home seekers often do a drive-by, either virtually or in person to narrow down the best prospects and quickly eliminate undesirable options.”

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A number of components go into curb appeal. This includes landscaping, windows and doors, driveways and walkways, and roofing. However, it’s hard to argue against the importance of siding. Siding accounts for the largest percentage of a home’s visual appearance and it’s imperative that homeowners keep it well maintained and clean.

Your typical homeowner doesn’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about cleaning his siding, but it’s a necessary task if you want to maintain a vibrant curb appeal and protect your investment. In this article, we’ll take a look at how you can clean and maintain three different types of siding, beginning with fiber cement siding.

Fiber Cement Siding

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One of the wonderful benefits of working with James Hardie fiber cement siding – or any fiber cement siding, for that matter – is the fact that it’s extremely durable and requires very little maintenance and ongoing care. With that being said, you will eventually need to clean your siding. (Though the frequency of cleaning will largely depend on your location and other geographical factors.)

If you’re dealing with dirt, dust, or other natural debris, cleaning fiber cement siding is quite simple. Grab a soft cloth, paint brush, or microfiber cloth and merely add some water and scrub. You can then rinse the siding with a garden hose and let air dry. If there’s oil, grease, or other sticky contaminants on the siding, you’ll need to mix together a simple solution of mild liquid dishwashing soap and water.

When it comes to mold or mildew, take a slightly more aggressive approach. While still using a soft cloth or brush, mix together a fiber cement siding-safe mildew cleaner. (James Hardie recommends using something like Mold Armor or Jomax.) Be sure to rinse the siding off with a garden hose after cleaning.

Here are two additional things to remember:

1. Never allow any type of cleaning solution – whether it’s dish soap or a mildew cleaner – to dry on the siding. Always keep the siding wet and liberally rinse with a garden hose.

2. If using a pressure washer, keep the pressure low and use a wide spray tip. Stand at least six feet back and avoid spraying in one area for too long.

Vinyl Siding

“Even though vinyl siding is a low maintenance material, it still needs cleaning from time to time to remove dirt and grime,” home improvement expert Danny Lipford notes. “In humid climates vinyl siding may also develop mold or mildew, which should be removed as well. Cleaning instructions are usually available from the vinyl siding manufacturer, and are often found on the siding warranty.”

But even if you don’t have specific written instructions, you really only need to understand a few basic concepts.

When it comes to dirt and loose debris on your vinyl siding, you can simply spray the siding down with a garden hose or pressure washer (set on a medium spray pattern). Start by washing at the bottom and gradually work your way up. Then, start at the top and work your way down. You should also try spraying in the direction of the overlapped joints for best results.

If water alone doesn’t do the job, Lipford suggests a cleaning concoction consisting of 1-gallon water, 1/3 cup powdered laundry detergent, and 2/3 cup of trisodium phosphate cleaner. Apply the mixture with a soft bristle brush and then rinse off with a garden hose.

If your vinyl siding has mold or mildew, cover all of your nearby shrubs and plants with a plastic sheet and then spray a diluted bleach cleaning solution onto the affected areas. Let the bleach solution stay on the siding for roughly 10 minutes and then scrub with a soft brush. Finally, rinse the siding with a garden hose.

Stone Siding

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Stone veneer, or cultured stone siding, is quite popular in many areas of the country. And while it’s supposed to be maintenance free (and, quite honestly, can get away with being dirty for some time), you’ll eventually have to clean it. The good news is that it’s quite easy.

To clean stone siding, all you need is a bucket of soapy water and a soft-bristled brush. (Avoid using hard bristles or you could permanently scratch the stones.) Scrub the dirty areas and then rinse down with a garden hose or pressure washer (on a low setting). Make sure you never use an acidic-based cleaning product and never stand closer than six feet when using a pressure washer.

Contact Home Design Exteriors Today

At Home Design Exteriors, we believe in honesty and transparency, and let these two driving factors guide the way we relate to our customers. Whereas most of the industry operates on the basis of sneaky sales tactics and massive markups, we’re committed to keeping overhead down and passing on the savings to our clients.

If you’re interested in learning more about any of our services – including siding, window, and door installation – then please don’t hesitate to contact us today. We would love to give you a no pressure demonstration and price quote, while also showing you why we have an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.