Does your aluminum siding look old, grimy and dingy? Well, that's a lot to be said about the appearance of your home. Thankfully, there are a lot of things you could do yourself to improve the aluminum siding, and one of these is to paint it over. Another way is to inspect the siding for chalk or for mildew; these naturally appear if the aluminum siding is more than a few years' old. If you notice that there does seem to be chalk in the aluminum siding, here are some steps to deal with this situation:
- Know what cleaning formula to use. Use high-quality laundry detergent soap, although it's best to buy specially-formulated commercial aluminum siding solution, which you could buy in hardware stores and home improvement shops. If you do opt to use laundry detergent soap, simply mix one part soap to about six parts water in a bucket.
- Prepare your home. First, you will need to make sure that all doors and windows are closed to ensure that water will not get indoors. If there are garden plants near your home, it's a good idea to cover them first with plastic (but do remember to uncover them as soon as you're done cleaning!) so that they won't be dripped on with the cleaning solution.
- Prepare the materials. You will need the following: a hose; a ladder (to get to the higher areas); a soft-bristled, long-handled brush; and the detergent or aluminum siding solution.
- Know how to clean the aluminum siding. Clean the aluminum siding in 5-foot sections, to give you a more systematic approach to this project. It's also best that you clean from the top going down. Scrub at the aluminum siding in each 5-foot section, and use the hose to rinse off the cleaning solution. Concentrate on scrubbing away the chalk. If you suspect that there's also mildew apart from the chalk, you could scrub in bleach in the spot, as well. Do remember never to let the soap solution dry on your aluminum siding; as soon as you scrub off the chalk and dirt, rinse it off right away with the hose. Otherwise, the aluminum siding will be left with unsightly white spots.
- Opt not to use a pressure washer. Some experts suggest that you use pressure washer to remove chalk and stubborn grime, but the problem with this is that it could cause the aluminum siding to become weaker. If you do decide to use a pressure washer, it's best that you set it in the lowest possible setting.
- Remove chalk before it gets severe. Do know that chalk, once it's left to build up and adhere more strongly to the aluminum siding, will become very hard to get rid of. That's why it's important that you make it a point to regularly inspect your home's exterior for chalk and mildew build-up, and address the problem as soon as it occurs. It's recommended that you clean your home's aluminum siding at least once a year.
There you have it! These are some of the most important guidelines to remember in order to remove chalk from aluminum siding. This is actually surprisingly simple to do, but you will definitely have to allot a few hours – about three or five, depending on the size of your house – to complete this activity. Good luck!