If you’re the proud owner of James Hardie siding products, congratulations on making an excellent decision for your home’s exterior. James Hardie siding resembles the beauty of real wood siding, but it is rot resistant, impact resistant and durable enough to withstand everything from Johnny’s home run hit to the unpredictable weather here in Denver.
While James Hardie siding boasts low maintenance requirements, it’s still wise to do a bit of cleaning, repainting, repairing and other maintenance as the years go by. When it’s time to maintain your siding, follow these tips for the best results.
Cleaning and Maintaining the Exterior of Your Home
Your siding is the first line of defense against the elements. It takes a beating from hail in the spring, UV rays in the summer, high winds in the fall and snowstorms in the winter. Cleaning and maintaining your siding is an important part of keeping moisture and pests out. It also sustains the curb appeal and value of your home.
The extent of maintenance you perform depends on the exact conditions in your area and what your home’s siding is exposed to. As a general recommendation, follow these cleaning and maintenance tips.
Wash the exterior
Every six to 12 months, break out the garden hose or low-pressure power washer and hose down the house. Work one section at a time and start from the top, working your way down, to prevent dripping onto cleaned areas. This is the easiest way to remove most stuck on dirt, grease, mold or other debris.
Now take a closer look at your siding. If you notice any stubborn dirt or stains, mix up a solution of warm water and mild liquid dishwashing soap in a bucket. Dip a soft rag, sponge or brush in the soapy water and gently scrub the area in the direction of the plank siding. Rinse with a hose to thoroughly remove any soapy residue. Inspect the results and repeat if necessary.
Mold discoloration, which often resembles dirt, looks dry even when wet. Mold is most likely to grow in damp, dark areas that experience prolonged moisture or humidity. Mix mildew cleaner with water according to the manufacturer’s directions. Wear gloves to protect your skin while cleaning. Lightly scrub the area with a soft brush and rinse with a garden hose. Inspect the results and repeat if necessary.
Clean and repair the gutters
You should remove leaves and other debris from the gutters every fall. This helps ensure the gutters drain properly instead of allowing water to drip down the siding. On that note, make sure the ground around your home slopes away for proper rainwater drainage.
While cleaning the gutters, check the condition of the caulk. When it begins to show signs of wear, reapply caulk to help prevent moisture from seeping out of the gutters and into the wall cavity. Use outdoor-rated, permanently flexible sealant for the best results.
Trim back vegetation and avoid deicers
Best practices suggest trimming back shrubs, bushes, and trees so they don’t touch the siding. This helps prevent vegetation residue from sticking to the siding and ensures that sprinklers don’t saturate areas near your house.
If you use deicing products on the driveway or sidewalks, James Hardie recommends using sand or gravel on areas next to the siding. This protects against exposure to deicing salts, which can prematurely damage the finished look of James Hardie siding.
Repainting James Hardie Siding
Before you think about repainting, try the above tips to wash the exterior and remove dirt and grime. You’d be surprised at the fresh color lingering under this debris! If you still want to repaint your siding, be aware that doing so will void the 15-year limited finish warranty. If your coverage has expired, there’s no penalty for repainting the siding.
Before you begin, remove any damaged, chipped or cracked paint. Then clean the surface using the tips above to remove any dust, dirt and mildew. Once completely dry, apply acrylic exterior paint following the paint manufacturer’s application instructions.
Don’t apply stain or oil-based paint to fiber cement products. Since stain is semi-translucent, its uniformity can vary widely depending on the method of application. Only someone with great skill and experience can produce a uniform finished product. Applying oil-based paint could result in surface roughness, adhesion issues, cracking or chalking.
General Siding Repairs and Patching
If your siding has a few nicks, scrapes or nail holes you need to patch up, don’t repaint the entire siding – simply retouch the area with touch up paint from James Hardie. This product comes in small bottles topped with edge coaters or touch up pens to make your job easy.
Paint touch up is only recommended if the damaged area is the size of a dime or smaller. If the affected area is larger, consider replacing that section with a new plank or panel.
Deeper dents, chips and cracks can also be repaired with cementitious patching compound. Find a product compatible with fiber cement before you apply it to your siding. Apply the patching compound with a trowel or other flat tool you can use to scrape away excess product. Allow it to dry, and then touch up the area with paint.
For more information about how to care for and maintain your James Hardie siding, check out The HardieZone Care and Maintenance Guide on the James Hardie website. If you don’t already have James Hardie siding installed, but you’re interested in making an upgrade, please contact us for a free quote today!