Like any outdoor product, even the ultra-durable James Hardie fiber cement siding needs a little TLC every once in a while. Dirt and filth from bird droppings, dust, and pollen can accumulate on the siding’s exterior surface, diminishing the look of your house.
James Hardie siding doesn’t need to be cleaned very often. It is resistant to mold, mildew, and fading but can get dirty over time. Luckily, it’s extremely easy to clean. However, before you start cleaning, you should understand there’s a right way and a wrong way! That’s why the team at Opal Enterprises is here to teach you how to clean James Hardie fiber cement siding.
Put Safety First When Cleaning Your Fiber Cement Siding
Like any at-home project, it’s important to take appropriate safety measures. Before your clean your James Hardie fiber cement siding, make sure you’re wearing the following safety apparel:
- Comfortable clothes
- Closed-toe shoes
- Personal protective equipment (PPE), including thick gloves, goggles to protect your eyes from soap and debris, and a face mask to filter chemical fumes or dust
Depending on what you’re scrubbing off your siding, you could expose yourself to toxic debris or chemicals that harm the skin and eyes. Be sure to take extra precautions when dealing with mold or mildew. Other safety measures you should take include:
- Making sure children or pets are far away from your work area
- Moving outdoor furniture or other objects
- Having your friend or spouse hold your ladder
Safeguard Your Landscaping and Home Interior
The next thing you should do is inspect your fiber cement siding. Walk around your home and check for damage caused by natural hazards or falling branches. Once you’ve made sure your siding is in good condition for cleaning, be sure to close your doors and shut your windows to prevent soap and water from entering your home.
In addition to protecting yourself and your family from potential hazards, make sure to cover your plants, potted flowers, and landscaping from debris or soap splatter. Using a thin plastic tarp should work fine. This is especially important if you plan to power wash or use stronger cleansers.
Additionally, disconnect power cords from your home, turn off light switches, and protect your light fixtures with duct tape and plastic.
Check the Weather Before Cleaning
You’ll want to choose a day that isn’t raining but has very little direct sunlight. Try to time your cleaning on a day that’s overcast or cloudy. Otherwise, the sun can dry the water on your siding quickly and unevenly.
Standing on a ladder and cleaning your James Hardie fiber cement siding in inclement weather can be dangerous. A gust of wind or wet ladder steps could cause you to lose your footing and fall.
Refer to Your James Hardie Maintenance Guide
Before you start cleaning your fiber cement siding, be sure to read any instructions outlined in your James Hardie maintenance guides. If you’ve misplaced your guide, you can find a copy on our care & maintenance page.
Questions? Call 847-380-8868 in Des Plaines and 630-355-6557 in Naperville
Begin Cleaning Using a Soap and Soft Brush Method
After familiarizing yourself with your product’s specific cleaning tips and precautions, it’s time to assemble your cleaning equipment. One of the most crucial things to keep in mind is never to use an abrasive sponge or a hard-bristled brush. Doing so could damage your siding or its finish.
To wash your James Hardie fiber cement siding properly and safely, follow these cleaning methods:
- Choose a mild biodegradable soap like dish soap
- Use a soft brush or cloth
- Reel out the garden hose
Many hardware stores sell extension poles with brushes or sponges to make the job even easier. Avoid products containing harsh chemicals that could damage your siding when choosing a soap.
Remember, a little soap goes a long way. Start scrubbing your James Hardie siding from the top and follow the direction of the siding. Use a side-to-side motion when cleaning horizontal planks. Be sure to rinse it free of any soap residue thoroughly.
How to Clean Mold and Mildew Growth on Fiber Cement Siding
Unfortunately, many homes are targets for mold and mildew buildup. These fungi are similar and breed in the same places, so when you see one, you often see the other. When dealing with mold and mildew buildup, you’ll need your soft sponge or cloth and your water hose, plus a mild cleanser that’s safe for fiber cement siding.
Depending on which cleaning product you use, make sure to follow the provided safety recommendations to avoid injuring yourself or damaging your siding. Be sure to avoid coming into contact with the solution and wear your PPE. If your mildew or mold cleaner comes in a concentrated form, be sure to dilute it with water.
Next, use your soft sponge or cloth and lightly scrub the mold or mildew with the cleanser. Once it’s clean again, use your water hose to rinse the area thoroughly. Repeat on other affected areas until your James Hardie fiber cement siding is looking clean and mold-free.
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Can You Power Wash Fiber Cement Siding?
If you have a large dirty area on your siding and decide to clean it using a power washer, you should take extreme caution. A power washer can damage your siding and void your James Hardie warranty if used incorrectly. Hire a professional if you’re inexperienced in using a power washer. If you feel confident in your abilities, follow these helpful tips:
- Use a low-pressure spray of less than 1500 psi
- Utilize wide fan tips
- Don’t use your power washer any closer than six feet
If there isn’t much dirt or debris on your James Hardie fiber cement siding, clean it using soap, a brush, and a garden hose before using a power washer.
Before using a power washer for the first time, you should consult with your siding contractor. They can further advise on cleaning the siding without causing any damage.
Get a free virtual consultation for Naperville or Des Plaines exteriors
Installing New Fiber Cement Siding From James Hardie
While cleaning your James Hardie fiber cement siding often and keeping it well-maintained will help it last for a long time, there’s always the possibility that you’ll need new siding in the future. If you’re planning on replacing your old siding, Opal Enterprises can help you.
To browse our inventory of attractive and durable sidings, visit one of our showrooms in Naperville or Des Plaines. Our in-house staff can walk you through our siding options and answer any questions you have. They’ll even help you pick a siding that suits your home, needs, and budget.
Once we’ve found a siding that works for you, we can give you an initial quote and schedule your installation day. Our installation specialists are specifically trained to install James Hardie siding, so you can expect a flawless finished product.
Our Installation Team Is Highly Trained
At Opal Enterprises, we’re proud to say that we are one of James Hardie’s Elite Preferred contractors. That means we specialize in recommending and installing all of the company’s exterior renovation products, including panels, shingles, planks, and trim.
Our installation specialists are trained in how to install James Hardie siding the way it’s supposed to be installed. Once they’ve put in your new siding, you’ll see why we’re one of the company’s few Elite Preferred contractors.
Once your new siding is installed, our team can stick around to answer any questions you may have about your new siding. They’ll inform you on how to maintain and clean your new James Hardie siding and provide you with information on our lifetime labor warranty.
Our Lifetime Labor Warranty
If you’re unhappy with how your new siding was installed, please consider taking advantage of our lifetime labor warranty. While the warranty doesn’t cover product defects, it can help correct errors that were made on installation day. To activate your warranty, fill out the form on our service request page.
Follow Opal’s Tips for Cleaning Your James Hardie Siding
Following Opal Enterprise’s tips for cleaning your James Hardie fiber cement siding can prolong the product’s life and beauty. Remember, work in small areas from top to bottom to avoid streaking, and be sure to always wash in the direction of the plank. If you follow our simple instructions, you’ll have your siding looking like new in no time!
For any questions about your James Hardie siding or any products we install, contact Opal Enterprises by filling out our online form. We’ll provide the information you need to keep your home’s exterior looking amazing all year round.
Are you ready to transform your home? Schedule your free virtual consultation