The appeal of vinyl siding was that it was never supposed to require any maintenance. And, while it may be LOW maintenance, saying it is NO maintenance might be stretching the truth a tad. The real truth is, like everything else, including us, unfortunately, it just looks older and more haggard over time. But, that being said, it’s easier to bring vinyl siding some new life than it is to do the same for ourselves.
At the most basic level, a simple, twice-a-year rinse with a garden hose should keep vinyl siding looking new. If it’s been several years since the siding has been rinsed, then rub it down with a mixture of 3 parts water to 1 part bleach. Just be sure to cover your plants before doing so. Contrary to popular belief, it is NOT recommended that you use a power sprayer. The force of the water can actually bend the pliable material just enough to let water sneak in behind it, which is NOT what you want.
Sometimes cleaning alone is not enough. If your old vinyl siding could use a new topcoat, then a paint job might be in order. A painting contractor will probably charge $2,000 – $3,000 to prepare, remove debris and mildew, wash, and paint a 1,000-square feet of siding. But if you are a “Do It Yourself” kind of person, following these steps can help ensure a successful paint job.
Preparation – Use soap and water to scrub the old siding , making sure to thoroughly rinse it clean. Again, do not power wash vinyl siding as water can get behind the vinyl siding. If you spot mildewed surfaces, use an oxygen bleach cleaner. Then rinse, rinse, rinse!
Understand your painting surface – Remember that vinyl siding was designed to be installed so that it slides back and forth just slightly at its overlapping seams as the siding expands and contracts. When that happens and the siding contracts in cold weather, you may have a slight color gap at the seams. This is perfectly normal.
Choose the right paint – It is best to choose a paint with blend of urethane and acrylic resins, which will provide excellent adhesion. You want an acrylic latex exterior paint that will be flexible and withstand climate changes, and still provide a good bond to the vinyl siding. Latex also applies easily and has leveling properties, so it adheres to both smooth and textured surfaces. And latex paint makes for easy cleaning of brushes and rollers.
In terms of choosing the color, remember that the vinyl siding plastic composition was designed at the factory for a specific amount of heat absorption. As a result, do not pick a color shade much darker than the original, or you may end up with warping or buckling if the darker color absorbs more heat than the original vinyl siding was designed to handle. Stay in the same light/dark color range as the original color.
If you can, and if it’s in your budget, it’s always best to leave this type of work to the professionals . . . .especially if there is more than one level to your house. But, the point is, there IS hope of renewal for your old vinyl siding. And sprucing it up with a good cleaning or a new paint job can actually increase the value of your home.
If only it were that easy to spruce OURSELVES up with new life!