How to Clean Aluminum Siding

How to Clean Aluminum Siding

Aluminum siding was invented in the 1950’s and used on millions of US homes up until the late 1980’s.

If your home has aluminum siding it would be over 40 years old at this point.   That’s a minimum of 14,600 days exposed to the sun and other elements all of which deteriorate the painted finish on the siding.

On most aluminum sided homes you can expect to see heavy oxidation, which is chalking paint and  also static bonding and pitting , which are caused by dirt and other corrosives attaching to the paint and not being washed off.

Cleaning aluminum siding will not remove pitting, static bonding or all the oxidation from the paint. It will however remove green mold, loose dirt and mildew.

There were several kind of aluminum siding, seamless, jointed and vinyl clad all of which were sold with different benefits.  Some homeowners wanted the siding to look perfect with no seams so a method was developed to bring a large roll of aluminum to the job site in the color the homeowner wanted and cut it to length and bend it on site similar to the seam less gutter machines we have today.

When it became apparent that aluminum siding , which was being sold as “maintenance free”   was not actually maintenance free  and subject to oxidation and pitting the manufactures  went to vinyl clad aluminum siding.

The new vinyl clad aluminum siding was better but still had issues with the vinyl separating and peeling  from the aluminum just like a sticker would fall off an aluminum can.

Cleaning any of the types of aluminum siding can be tricky and requires the technician to have experience with all the different types mentioned above or things could go wrong really quickly and all the paint could be removed from the siding. Cleaning this type of siding is not a DIY project.

Cleaning aluminum siding requires experience, knowing how much detergent to use, how much pressure and how much hot water so the outcome will be the best under the circumstances.

If you want your aluminum siding to look new again the oxidation would need to be removed by high pressure washing with detergents made to remove oxidation, wire brushing and sanding of the static bonding and pitting and then a new paint job.   A new paint job would then be required every 7-10 years after that. Another option would be to remove the aluminum siding and reside the house with vinyl. This would cost a lot more than a paint job but as they say “vinyl is final”.

Setting realistic expectations, knowing what the problems are and the outcome you’ll receive are a must. Simply cleaning oxidized and pitted aluminum siding of green mold and dirt will not make it look “new” again.

A basic cleaning of a 2000 sqft 2 story aluminum sided house can cost between 250 and 480. Complete oxidation removal for paint prep in the same house would cost anywhere from $1600- $3000 depending on the height, topography, access and other factors.

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