Cedar is a naturally occurring type of wood and, as such, is susceptible to water damage, which may lead to it peeling or warping over time. This guide will cover how to properly clean your cedar siding so that you can preserve its natural beauty for years to come.
Cleaning Cedar Siding: How To Remove Mildew Stains And Grime From Your Home’s Exterior Walls – The DIY Way!
Keeping your home’s exterior looking great doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult. You can maintain the outside of your house without breaking the bank, including using vinegar and baking soda on mildew stains and grime. But before we get into those tips, let’s talk about the different types of cedar siding you may have on your house so you know how to target mildew.
Trimwork vs. Paneling: What’s The Difference?
There are two main types of cedar that are used for exterior walls—trimwork and paneling. While they both share many similarities, there are some key differences between them as well. This can make a big difference when it comes time to clean because each one can handle water and mildew stains differently.
Trimwork siding has a tongue and groove design and is nailed onto the exterior of your house with small wooden shims in between each piece. This makes for a great seal against weather and bugs, but it also makes the boards easy to replace if one becomes damaged or rotted over time.
Regardless of which type you have or how long you have lived in your home, it is good to take a ride around the exterior from time to time to look for any loose or broken boards that should be replaced. Remember, these can end up costing you money if left unchecked.
The second type of cedar siding that is used on homes is called paneling. This type of material is similar to trimwork except that each board touches at least one other board, and there are no shims included. While this style usually lasts longer than trimwork because there are no gaps, it can make cleaning a little more difficult since moisture gets trapped between the boards.
Look For Signs Of Water Damage When Cleaning Your Cedar Siding
Look To The Base OfThe Boards
When inspecting the exterior of your home for damage, it is important to look at both the top and bottom edges of each board. If you notice that water stains or black mold are growing along either part, then it is likely due to moisture getting trapped between the boards rather than an actual issue with the wood itself.
Look For Visible Damage
As mentioned earlier, any indication that one or more boards may be damaged is reason enough to repair them as soon as possible. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they need to be replaced entirely; it could just mean that they are slightly warped and need reinforcement before being reinstalled on your house’s exterior walls.
Think Of The Last Time It Rained
If the last time you remember rain was three days ago, and you notice water spots on your siding, then this is most likely due to rain and not a leak or mildew issue. When in doubt, it’s always best to check with a trustworthy contractor who can inspect the exterior of your home for any leaks before deciding on the best course of action to take.
Start By Cleaning The High Up Spots On Your Siding
For cedar siding that has been in place for several years, there will be some stains and dirt buildup along each board’s top and bottom edges. To remove these stains without completely removing all of the old grime from years past, you can use baking soda and vinegar combined in a mixture of seven parts water to one part vinegar.
Start by wetting the area with a mixture of water and white distilled vinegar before applying baking soda to the same spot. The key here is to use a lot of baking soda, which you will then scrub into the wood using an old toothbrush or other soft-bristled brush.
If this technique doesn’t remove some or all of the dirt and stains, try looking for a mildew-removal product at your local hardware store to more easily target and remove any kind of mold and mildew buildup on your siding.
It’s A Good Idea To Clean Your Cedar Siding Once Or Twice Per Year
Even if you don’t use harsh chemicals that may harm plants along the exterior of your house, you should still take some time to clean your siding at least once every spring or summer.
Start by moving all of the furniture away from the exterior walls of your home so that you have access to both the top and bottom edges of each board. Using a garden hose, wet each board before spraying a mixture of white distilled vinegar and water onto any stains along the grooves in between each stud or board
Scrub lightly with an old toothbrush or other soft brush until all of the dirt has been removed from crevices, and then let it dry for at least thirty minutes before applying a fresh coat of cedar stain to protect against harmful UV rays.
Cedar Siding Is Not Water Proof
Even if your cedar siding has been treated to make it more water repellent, this doesn’t mean that all of the gaps will be sealed off. As a result, any moisture trapped between each board will cause mildew and mold to form over time. Since time is not on your side when it comes to removing these types of stains, you’ll want to start by scrubbing the affected areas with white distilled vinegar before finishing up by washing it down with warm soapy water.
If any stubborn stains won’t come off, try experimenting with a sponge scrub made of half baking soda and half water before being rinsed away with another offering of warm soapy water.
Once the area is completely dry, you can either apply a fresh coat of cedar stain or wait until next time to protect your siding against future instances of mold and mildew growth.
As mentioned earlier, clean cedar siding can help prevent problems caused by mold and mildew formation, which can lead to costly repairs down the road. However, if not cleaned twice per year (preferably in the spring and summer), this type of wood will become harder to clean as it accumulates dirt over time.
While it’s not an issue for most people, some homeowners who live in colder climates may notice that rain and melted snow will freeze against the exterior of your home. This can cause water to form ice dams along your roofline and then drip down onto the siding below. If this is a recurring problem in your area, you can cover high-risk areas with plastic drop cloths so ice dams won’t form during the winter months.