LESLIE: Sheldon in Washington, D.C., you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you?
Cleaning Vinyl Siding
SHELDON: I live in about a 12-year-old house with vinyl siding. It’s never been cleaned but all of a sudden we’re getting all kinds of literature or advertisements in the mail. They say our siding needs cleaning. And I’m not sure. Does it need cleaning? Does it need cleaning in the spring or in the fall? And how do I do it? Do I hire the guy that says he uses high-pressure steam or do I hire the guy that says, no, he has cold water but it’s got chemicals in it and that’s what we need?
TOM: Well, first of all, is your siding dirty?
SHELDON: There is a spot that has some dirt on it. I think it’s from the shade.
TOM: If it’s a small area and you can clean it yourself, Sheldon, then you don’t have to hire a guy to do it. I mean the advantage of hiring one of these housecleaning guys is they’ve got the gear to do it; they’ve got the tall ladders, they’ve got the pressure washers and so on.
LESLIE: Yeah, they’ll get every nook and cranny and you don’t have to worry about falling off of anything. But if you’ve got one spot of some mildew growth on there from a shady area, that’s something you can definitely tackle on your own.
TOM: Yeah, it’s not that hard to do. Now, if you do want to hire somebody, they’re going to probably want to use a pressure washer and if that’s the case, you have to make sure they don’t use too much pressure because the convenience of that pressure washer is really that it just has a very long spray so it can reach up into tough areas. With vinyl siding, though, it’s very, very soft; so if you don’t use sort of a fan spray on it, then you could damage the siding. So really, the skill; not so much the amount of pressure that comes to play here.
In terms of any type of a house wash, there’s different types of siding washes that are mildicides and certainly those can be effective in helping keeping the house clean. Some companies prefer just to use bleach but whatever you do, you need to kind of protect the plants around the foundation because if you put too many chemicals in there, they’re going to be damaged. OK, Sheldon?
SHELDON: Thank you very much. I had one more question. They say I also need a sealant, some kind of wax sealant, after it’s washed. You recommend that?
TOM: I don’t think so. (chuckles) No, I don’t think so. You don’t have to wax – you don’t have to hot wax your siding, OK?
LESLIE: Could you imagine? (chuckles)
TOM: (chuckles) No, the siding is fine just by itself; so if anyone is telling you that you need a sealant on vinyl siding, that would be the guy that I do not hire.
SHELDON: Well, thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Sheldon. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.