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Polishing Your Home For Sale: Cleaning Siding

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By : Leslie Eskildsen    99 or more times read
Whether you are looking to clean up your house to put it on the market or have bought yourself a new home with a less than sparkling exterior, chances are your home could use a good wash down. Cleaning the outside of your home will improve its looks and increase its curb appeal. Be careful to clean your siding in a manner that is consistent with the type of siding you have to avoid damaging it.

Different kinds of exterior finishes require different types of cleaning. House exteriors can range from vinyl or aluminum siding to brick, stone, or stucco; all of these types of siding have their own particular issues and concerns.

Vinyl and aluminum siding can be cleaned in basically the same way; hose down the siding with a medium spray of water at a downward angle to avoid forcing water in the seams. Using a mixture of water and dish soap, scrub down the siding starting at ground level and working up to the roofline. Don't let the soap dry on the siding. Be careful with aluminum siding as it can dent if you press too hard on it.

Wood siding is a bit more delicate as it is a porous material and is usually painted or stained. If the paint is in good condition a gentle spray of water and light soapy scrub will likely take off most of the dirt. In some cases it may be necessary to use a pressure washer to remove dirt. High pressure or vigorous scrubbing may remove damaged paint or wood fibres from rougher cut wood siding. Be aware before you start that repainting or staining may be necessary once you've completed the cleaning.

Stucco homes should be inspected for cracks in the finish before you start cleaning. Cracks in the stucco can let water in under the stucco and cause rot in the wood underneath. For stucco in good condition, use a cleaner made for the particular type of stains that your stucco has and a power washer. Do not power wash pebble-dash stucco as you could remove the stones and damage the stucco. Historical houses may have an older type of stucco that is quite different than the modern portland cement type. If in doubt, call in a professional cleaner.

Brick houses are fairly simple to clean in comparison. Hose down the brickwork on your house to rinse off surface dirt and use a weak bleach solution on any areas that appear blackish or green from algae, moss, or mildew from damp shady areas. Make sure to not use a wire brush when scrubbing the bleach solution over the bricks to keep from scratching the brickwork. Rinse well to remove any traces of bleach from the bricks.

For stone work on the outside of your home or cultured stone veneer your best bet is to talk to a professional about what cleaners would work best on your particular type of stone or brand of cultured stone product; decorative stone can be made from many different types of stone which may have quite different requirements to avoid damaging or staining it.

Ideally before a house goes on the market it should have a good cleaning, inside and out. A clean house has better curb appeal because it shows a prospective buyer that you maintain your home inside and out so that they are less likely to encounter any unpleasant surprises. And let's face it, no one wants to buy a dirty house!
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