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How to Clean Fiber Cement Siding

A close up look at grey vinyl siding on the side of a home.

Most people try to keep their homes looking nice inside and outside. That said, when the spring and summer months arrive, individuals get the urge to go outside and start cleaning off the dirt and pollen that has built up on the exterior of their houses. This may lead some homeowners with fiber cement siding to wonder how to properly clean and maintain this material, as they do not want to damage it with the wrong cleaning techniques.

What is Fiber Cement Siding?
According to the American Ceramic Society, fiber cement siding was created in 1901 in Austria. It originally went by “Eternit” and comprised cement and asbestos fibers. However, when the United States began warning about the dangers of asbestos in the 1970s, a company called James Hardie Industries came up with a new type of fiber cement containing no asbestos fibers. The new fiber cement was developed in the mid-1980s and has been used outside of many homes. Here are several of the benefits that come with this type of siding:

It is easy to clean and maintain.
It is long-lasting.
It does not rot.
It is insect resistant.
It looks great on the exterior of homes and commercial properties.
It is less likely to burn if the fire reaches it.
It does not experience much damage from snow, hail, tornadoes, or hurricanes.
How to Clean and Maintain Fiber Cement Siding
The good news is that fiber cement siding is one of the best materials a homeowner can choose if they are looking for something easy to clean and maintain for years. However, this does not mean you do not need to clean or maintain it. Every type of siding will eventually look bad if it is improperly handled.

The cleaning and maintenance instructions for cleaning fiber cement siding are mostly simple and uncomplicated if you have cleaned the exterior of a house before. If you are wondering if you should hire a professional to clean it, it depends on how much time and effort you put into it.

However, you can usually clean this type of siding with the proper equipment and items that most people already have available in their homes. The following are eight steps to successfully clean and maintain your fiber cement siding:

Gather your safety equipment, materials, and tools: You will need safety goggles to protect your eyes and gloves to keep your hands from contacting any chemicals or debris. Having something to protect your respiratory system, such as a mask, is also essential because you do not want to breathe in harmful chemicals, mold, or debris.
Cover up or move any plants or valuable items close to your home: The last thing you want is for your new, blooming flowers or items to become damaged by water or cleaning chemicals. Therefore, you should cover them with a tarp or move them away from the home before cleaning the siding.

Get your cleaning supplies ready: Depending on the type of cleaning you want, you may need various cleaning supplies.
If you need to clean grease or oil off your siding, mix dishwashing soap and water, turn on a water hose, and grab a soft washcloth.
If you need to get rid of mold or mildew, you may need to purchase a special fiber cement siding cleaning product from a local store and mix it with water. You can also use bleach, salt, ammonia, or baking soda if you prefer not to go to a local store.
If you need to remove dirt or debris, all you need is a washcloth, a water hose, a soft paintbrush, and a siding brush to complete the job. You do not need any soap.
Start with a small area: Many people may think they should clean as big an area as possible. However, the truth is that you should start with a small space. Once you finish the small space, you can move on to another small space.

Clean in the direction of the planks: Use your cleaning supplies to clean in the direction of the planks. Do not scrub too hard. Instead, you can use your washcloth or brush to lightly clean the area. Then, rinse thoroughly. Depending on how dirty your siding is, you may need to do this twice.
Work your way from the top to the bottom: It is always recommended to start with the top and work your way to the bottom when cleaning your home’s siding. This will prevent dripping water and soap from messing up what you have already cleaned.

Never allow the cleaner to dry on your home: Whether using dishwashing soap or a cleaning product you bought from a local store, you should never allow it to dry. Always spray the siding with a water hose until you are sure it has been fully rinsed.
Do not use high-pressure water: While you may think a pressure washer will get the job done quicker, it is highly recommended that you refrain from using it on your fiber cement siding. This will only damage your siding. If you insist on using a pressure washer, you must make sure that it is on a low setting and that you are standing several feet away.

How Often Should You Clean Your Fiber Cement Siding?
If you clean and maintain your fiber cement siding, it should last you for a long time. This means that you should take the time to clean it at least once or twice a year. That said, we think every six months is a good timeframe to aim for when it comes to cleaning your fiber cement siding.

Call Capital Construction in Boston Today
Capital Construction has over two decades of experience installing fiber cement siding. Therefore, our team has the necessary skills, knowledge, training, and qualifications to install these products. We take these tasks very seriously and promise you will be more than satisfied with the results. Fill out our contact form to speak with a professional and get a free quote today.

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