When you invest in James Hardie fiber cement siding, or Hardie Board siding, you have made an excellent decision. When properly cleaned and cared for, James Hardie siding should last for 30-50 years. But it’s important to make the right maintenance moves to ensure you don’t accidentally do anything that voids the warranty. We have assembled the top 7 tips to cleaning your James Hardie siding.
As an experienced siding contractor, our team at John McCarter Construction believes Michigan homeowners deserve the very best in their home exterior products, for as long as possible — so you get the most out of your investment in your home renovations. That’s why we’ve put together this list of tips for properly caring for your beautiful James Hardie siding.
Follow these tips from James Hardie and make the most out of your home siding investment, and love the way your home looks and performs over the long term.
Tips for Cleaning James Hardie siding:
1. Wear proper protective clothing.
Any time you clean an area of your home, including siding, it is wise to dress accordingly.
- Protective eyewear prevents any loose dust or dirt from getting in your eyes.
- Gloves guard your skin against any allergic reactions to cleansers.
- A respirator work mask can keep you from inhaling any mold or mildew that’s on your siding.
Also, cover any bushes and flowers near the home with a protective tarp or covering so they do not get damaged.
2. Clean dust, dirt, and debris.
These culprits accumulate on any home exterior because they’re in the air all the time. Over time, they’ll dull the appearance of your siding. To get rid of any dirt, dust, and debris, clean your siding gently once or twice a year using the following method:
- Gently wipe away any loose dirt and debris with a soft, non-metal horsehair or paintbrush.
- Wet a soft cloth and gently wipe away remaining dirt and dust, moving with the grain of the siding, and working from top to bottom.
- Rinse the siding from top to bottom with a garden hose, using low pressure.
3. Remove grease and oil.
At times, grease and oil can end up on your siding, and that takes a little more effort to remove. Remember, you still want to be careful so as not to damage the fiber cement siding.
- Create a gentle cleansing solution made of mild dishwashing soap and water.
- Wet a soft cloth with the cleaning solution and wipe the greasy stains.
- Rinse the siding with a low-pressure garden hose.
- Repeat as necessary for any stubborn, oily stains.
4. Do get rid of mold and mildew.
Moist, humid regions are particularly susceptible to mold and mildew, but these culprits also tend to grow in damp, shady areas surrounded by trees. To remove mold and mildew while protecting your James Hardie siding:
- Do a visual inspection regularly to look for red, black, green or brown spots that signal mold and mildew growth.
- Get a mold/mildew remover that is safe for use on fiber cement. You can typically find this at a home improvement store.
- Follow the instructions on the cleanser precisely, watering it down as instructed.
- Wearing protective clothing and using a soft cloth or sponge, wipe the affected areas of your siding with the cleanser.
- Rinse the residue away with a garden hose.
5. Don’t ignore maintenance.
While it’s true that James Hardie fiber cement siding is low maintenance, it’s not a no-maintenance siding. Remember:
- It still needs to be cleaned yearly, or twice a year if you live in an area where your home exterior gathers a lot of dust and dirt.
- It’s smart to inspect your James Hardie siding regularly to make sure there are no unexpected problems to address. (Your siding contractor can do this for you, or show you what to look for.)
6. Don’t use harsh cleaning materials and products.
Fiber cement siding may withstand the tests of time, but it still needs gentle care so that it doesn’t get damaged in ways that void the warranty. Follow these guidelines:
- Use only soft cloths, sponges, and non-metal brushes.
- Use a garden hose on low pressure.
- Don’t use a pressure washer, which can be too harsh and end up damaging the surface of the siding.
- Don’t use acid, as it is much too harsh for any form of siding.
- Use only cleansers designated for use on fiber cement products. Carefully read labels to be sure what you purchase is appropriate for James Hardie siding, or visit James Hardie’s website for additional tips.
7. Don’t work against your siding.
To make the most of your cleaning, follow these simple additional tips that work with your efforts, rather than against them:
- Always clean and rinse from the top of the siding to the bottom, so that grime gets washed away instead of spread around on the siding.
- Don’t let soap or cleansers dry on the siding. This can make cleaning harder and even potentially cause damage.
- Regularly rinse out the cloth or sponge as you work, to avoid spreading any grime around on the siding.
- Use only products and tools approved by your siding contractor and James Hardie for use on your fiber cement siding.
Love Every Inch of Your Home Exterior
A beautiful, long-lasting, low-maintenance home is no accident. All the little details of caring for your exterior — from siding to windows, doors, and more — ensure you have the home of your dreams. As you use these tips to clean your James Hardie siding, you may realize other areas of your home exterior, such as roofing or windows, need some attention too. Our team is here for you when that happens. Reach out to us anytime for a free consultation.