How to Clean Vinyl Siding

A quick cleaning to get your vinyl siding looking great again. Watch the video above.

How to Clean Vinyl Siding

Don’t rush into it. Clean vinyl shingles should be completed in a supervised environment.

(This article originally appeared on Wise Bread.)

Over many years, I’ve seen one step of the vinyl siding repair process cut and applied incorrectly. The lightest and smallest of the vinyl appointments can often result in the worst of siding damage.

The most common type of siding repair job is the foam impregnation. Impregnation involves mixing a water-based acrylic adhesive and water on top of a polystyrene foil molding. The mix is placed under the vinyl to form a topcoat.

“Think of it as the strongest cheap plastic wrap on the market,” says Ruth Burgett, president of Plexibattix, an Indoor and Exterior Siding Department. “The installation needs to be handled carefully and safely.”

Overstressed or deteriorated vinyl siding increases the production of explosive gases known as diatomic carbon dioxide (DCO) and carbon monoxide (CO). DCO dissolves solid acrylic fibers and bonds to paint.

Additionally, sulfurs (chemical compounds known to react with CO) can cause cracking. Those who have ever been surprised by severe weather or a sudden tree fall will understand how all that can happen quickly.

The way to make vinyl repair a regular job that doesn’t create instant problems is to use moisture-absorbing tools to lubricate the adhesive. Moreover, the physical wear of being exposed to rainwater or floodwater can increase the durability of the vinyl by an estimated 30 percent to 50 percent.

One simple solution is using a water-proof tape to press vinyl under the adhesive and seal cracks. A second medium-weight coating can also be used to further enhance the longevity of vinyl siding repairs.

Another significant issue is that vinyl has already become scorched before being impregnated. Any heat it is exposed to for hours before being cured will ultimately create a fire hazard.

There is an only one way to clean the vinyl siding. To do this, use a hydrogen peroxide to water mixture. “As a chemical agent, hydrogen peroxide works on a molecular basis to remove defects caused by moisture and fuel,” says Ron Nuss, a Ventura, California, contractor who provides tile, siding and plaster work. “It is used in the automotive industry to improve vehicle polish, and it can be used for abrasive applications as well.”

The application of this chemical solution is a best practice for at least one reason. A pocket of scorched plastic on an exterior siding job can be carcinogenic. You can also relieve stagnation in the cold-water treatment tube of an expert vinyl-siding restorer with a spray-on bleach solution.

According to Jim Kemp, owner of Neighboring Construction, a construction firm that restores vinyl siding in Ventura, “When it comes to vinyl siding repair, it doesn’t take much to ruin it. What you need to do to keep your work sites clean is to roll the tape down well before anyone has to touch the siding. And only apply the material to the areas that you need, such as cracks or edges.”

There are all sorts of tips out there on how to stop and clean vinyl siding jobs that you see on YouTube, or the home improvements pages of the internet. There’s no excuse to confuse a siding fixer with the professionals: There’s no need to fumble around.

Take control of your siding job by using the best available control and foam cleaning supplies and an expert compound to protect against your worksite disaster.

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