Cleaning the Exterior of Your Home
Cleaning the exterior of your home is not something most homeowners give much thought. But it’s so important to not only keep your house looking its best but to prevent pesky problems like algae growth and soot buildup. Below are some of our best tips for cleaning the exterior of your home so that it sparkles!
Power Washing 101
Cleaning the exterior of your home sounds so easy. Just pressure wash it, right? Well, maybe not. Pressure washers have the potential to damage your home due to their intense high-powered stream of waters. They have been known damage brick, stucco, and even stone! Vinyl or wood siding homes can typically handle pressure washing. If you hire a professional to pressure wash your home, expect to spend the national average of $360 (for a 1,200 square foot home).
If you choose to pressure wash your home (and do it yourself), use a washer with a 40-degree angle and a low-pressure nozzle. Before you get started, protect your eyes and keep children and pets away from the project. Be sure to keep the nozzle at least six inches away from the house. Start pressure washing at the top of your house and work down. Direct the water downward and work laterally. Avoid spraying the windows.
Do not power wash your roof! Even the lowest pressure settings may loosen or damage roof shingles. To keep your roof looking its best, just give it thorough sweepings as needed. If your roof has black streaks from algae growth, you’ll need a specially formulated product (such as Wet & Forget) to remove them.
You can power wash driveways, walkways, porches and decks and remove dirt and moss from these surfaces. Keep in mind that if you have moss on a wood surface, it will grow back unless you treat it with a solution that contains powdered oxygen bleach (i.e. OxiClean). You can make your own solution with two gallons of warm water, two cups of OxiClean or similar product, and a quarter cup of liquid dish soap.
You can also go the old-fashioned route when leaning the exterior of your home. Clean vinyl siding by rinsing it with a hose then using long-handled brush and soapy water to scrub away the grime.
If your deck has mildew, add one cup of powdered borax to this solution (add at the same time you add the oxygen bleach). Stubborn stains? Mix warm water with a small amount of powdered oxygen bleach to make a paste. Apply directly on the stain with a stiff brush. Leave the paste on for a half-hour, then rinse.
Use a clay-based cat litter or a baking powder solution to tackle oil-based stains. If you’re dealing with rust or fertilizer stains, be sure to use specially-formulated products that won’t damage your concrete or pavers.
For dirty windows, use an exterior window cleaner that attaches to your garden hose. While the windows are still wet, use an extendable squeegee to remove the moisture and prevent streaking (read more of our window cleaning tips here)
To remove soot from the outside of your chimney, create a cleaning solution with a bucket of hot water (about ⅔ full) and two cups of white vinegar. Using this solution and some steel wool, start at the top of the chimney and work your way down. Stubborn stains may call for a wire brush. Next, scrub the chimney with just soap and water. Lastly, rinse the chimney with just water from highest pressure on your sprayer.
The Bottom Line
Whether you’re preparing to move or staying put, it’s important to always keep your house looking its best. Take the time now to clean the exterior of your home – before the cold winter weather sets in!
Need recommendations for these or any home improvement projects? Considering a move? Please let us know. We are always happy to help and discuss what makes the most sense for you.
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