As a homeowner, maintaining your home is of utmost importance, and summer is a time when many homeowners tackle these crucial tasks. However, summer is also a time for fun and relaxation, and nobody wants to spend summer vacation toiling away at home upkeep. Creating a list of home maintenance tasks and prioritizing those that are the most essential can help ensure that the important work gets done while still allowing for all the fun that summer provides.
Summer Checklist for Vinyl Siding
Many outdoor home repairs and upkeep tasks are best done in the summer. The worst of the sometimes-unpredictable spring storms have come to an end, and longer days allow you more time to accomplish essential task like taking care of your vinyl siding. Severe seasonal weather can do a number on your home, and your siding is one of the first defenses your home has against high winds, hail, heavy rain, snow, and other debris.
Once summer’s more predictable weather sets in, begin by assessing the health of your vinyl siding. Then, create a summer checklist to ensure your siding is performing at peak levels. Here are a few tasks you should consider:
Clean Your Siding
When summer hits, you’ll want to take the time to thoroughly clean your vinyl siding. Over the course of a year, a buildup of dirt, dust, debris, and pollen can get trapped on your home’s exterior. Buildup like pollen can lead to stains, while other grime can trap moisture that, left unchecked, can cause mold and mildew. The easiest way to clean your siding is with a brief scrub down with a vinyl-appropriate cleaner followed by a rinse with a power washer. You’ll want to keep your power washer on a lower setting to avoid causing any damage. If you don’t want to buy or rent a power washer, a spray attachment for a common garden hose can also get the job done well.
Avoid Harsh or Abrasive Materials
Cleaning your vinyl doesn’t have to be complicated, but it is important to avoid cleaners that include solvents, bleach, or other harsh chemicals. These chemicals can strip paint, discolor vinyl, and speed up the decomposition process. Worse, chemicals can wreak havoc on your lawn and existing landscaping. The same concept applies to the cleaning tools you use to remove buildup from your vinyl. You should never use abrasive tools like steel wool, wire brushes, or paint scrapers. These tools can cause permanent scratches, fade any existing paint, and will eventually expose the under layers of your siding to the elements. This damage serves to further speed the decomposition process. In general, aside from a pressure or hose sprayer mentioned above, warm water, gentle dish soap, a dish sponge, and a bit of elbow grease is all you need.
Check for Fading or Chipping
With most vinyl siding, the color permeates the entire material versus simply being painted on the surface as with wood or aluminum siding. As a result, vinyl is much lower maintenance and will not require frequent repainting or replacing. However, vinyl siding may fade near the end of its life, indicating that it is time to consider updating your siding. Chipping can be caused by simple weathering but could also be an indicator of prior swelling and water damage. It is important to assess the potential cause of any chipping you find and take steps to avoid further damage. In some cases, you can match paint to the color of your vinyl siding and cover minor chips. However, we recommend painting only small, chipped areas, and not large swaths of your siding—in time, large areas of paint can bubble or peel.
Check For Weather Damage
As mentioned previously, Mother Nature can expose your home to a wide variety of stressors. Vinyl is a popular choice with homeowners because of its ability to withstand a wide range of extreme weather conditions. However, while it is extremely resilient, it is not indestructible. Between blizzards, high windstorms, and extreme heat, vinyl can warp as it reaches the end of its life. It is important to take the time to check for cracks, gaps, and any damaged or missing pieces. Replace damaged or missing pieces as soon as possible to avoid water intruding into your home.
Watch for Insect Damage
One potential drawback of the summer months is the increased presence of insects in and around your home. While termites and other insects thrive on wood siding—making vinyl an attractive alternative–insects can still cause damage to your home’s structural elements if left unchecked. Even vinyl siding should be rinsed on a regular basis to help prevent termites and other insects from trying to settle in. If you notice continued issues, there are plenty of liquid insecticides that are safe to spray on vinyl siding.
Mind Your Grill
Finally, while not technically a maintenance item, we recognize that summer and grilling go hand in hand. However, it is important to make sure that when you do set up the grill for your summer fun, you are keeping it a safe distance from your home. When you grill too close to your home, the heat from the grill can cause your siding to warp and melt. Keep grills at least three feet from your exterior walls while cooking and allow ample time to cool down before covering and storing your grill.
Maintenance Made Easy
Vinyl siding is a great option for your home for a variety of reasons. It doesn’t demand labor-intensive upkeep from you, and simple regular maintenance can help to ensure the longevity of your siding. Simple steps such as regularly cleaning your siding can help prevent not only dirt and pollen buildup, but it can also help to protect against insect damage. Checking for faded or damaged siding pieces can help to ensure that you aren’t putting yourself at risk for extensive issues.
Your maintenance checklist doesn’t have to take up your whole summer—in fact, you can address your home’s exterior in as little as a weekend. Taking the few small steps listed above can help you address your home’s appearance and weathertightness in one fell swoop. If you take the time to complete this simple checklist, you can get back to your summer fun with the peace of mind that comes with knowing your vinyl siding will be protecting your home through the harsher weather to come.