Like many of us, you likely take pride in your home's curb appeal and are grateful for its protection when the weather turns. If that's the case, you owe it to your home to properly care for its exterior surfaces. This can include cleaning, maintenance, and properly preparing it for the changing seasons.
How to Properly Care for Your Home's Exterior Surfaces.
Home maintenance can change depending on various factors, such as the climate where you live and the materials used to build your residence. However, the maintenance tips, like cleaning and protecting, generally remain the same.
Cleaning and Protecting Your Home Exterior
There are a variety of substances that can build up on your home's exterior. Whether you have brick, siding, or wood, the outer walls of your house are regularly exposed to moisture that can lead to mold or mildew. Additionally, pests and creatures can deposit unwanted substances into your home. All of these things necessitate an excellent cleaning.
Brick homes are susceptible to climbing plants or vines, mold and mildew, and efflorescence ( a white deposit caused by salts in water). You'll want to clean these things from your home's walls. Ensure that any plant killer and cleaning agents you use are safe for brick. A stiff brush and a rinse with the hose are generally effective.
After cleaning your brick, take care to protect it from the elements. Check mortar joints, caulking around windows and doors, and weep holes. You should check for cracking, obstruction, and the breakdown of materials annually. Re-caulking and sealing may be required every three years or so. Also, make sure to never use a pressure washer directly on your windows! It can damage caulking and the gas seal which will eventually lead to seal failure and moisture build up between the glass panes of Argon gas insulated windows.
If your home is sided, either with vinyl or composite, it should require minimal maintenance. That is as long as you take care to protect it. You'll want to keep moisture away from your home as much as possible, moving away sprinklers and adjusting gutters or downspouts. You should keep plants, landscaping, and hot items like grills a couple of feet away from your siding. Once or twice a year, regularly inspect your siding for cracks, mold, loose pieces, caulk issues, or other forms of damage.
Post-cleaning of your siding is a great time for inspection. To wash the siding of your house, use a soft-bristled brush, your hose, and cleaning agents recommended by the manufacturer. Harsh brushes and chemicals, along with pressure washers, aren't recommended. After cleaning, you can fix any issues and reapply caulk as necessary.
Stucco homes are another popular option for their durability. Though like siding, you want to take care in keeping moisture, plants, and hot objects away. Hairline cracks are a part of the facade, but large cracks can be an issue. Carefully inspect your home annually for fractures big and small. They'll need to be patched to maintain the safety and security of your house. Mold and mildew can also affect stucco siding. Thankfully, you can scrub these types of build-up away.
o remove debris, mildew, or mold, clean your exterior walls with water and a gentle detergent, like laundry soap and a deck brush. Mixing 50% bleach and 50% water, you can create a mildew remover to apply to any spots. Let it sit for ten minutes, and then rinse thoroughly. Pressure washing isn't recommended for stucco.
Don’t Overlook Other Exterior Elements
The walls may account for most of your home's exterior, but don't overlook other areas. Regularly inspect your roof and clean away any branches or other debris. Check and clean your gutters and downspouts so water can freely flow away from your home. Inspect your windows for insulation and seal issues. Outdoor living spaces such as decks and patios regularly require cleaning and the re-application of stain or sealant as well.
While maintaining the exterior of your home can seem like a monumental task, it isn't so overwhelming if you break it up into portions. The alternative, a house with damage that looks unappealing and doesn't protect your family from the elements, is much more daunting!