Protecting Your Investment: How To Deal With Mold On Fiber Cement Siding

Your home's exterior can be a serious drain on your time and finances, but you're going to do whatever it takes to keep it beautiful. When it comes to protecting your investment of fiber cement siding, mold can be a constant consideration. Here's how to keep the problem under control and stop it from taking too much of your time and money.

What Causes Mold On Your Home's Siding?

The optimum conditions for mold to grow on your siding depend on three variables: water, humidity, and light exposure. If, for example, an area of your home is shaded, it's not likely to dry as fast as the areas in direct sunlight, making it more conducive to mold growth. Any section that sustains a lot of moisture, especially in the absence of sun-drying, is more likely to be problematic with mold.

Humidity and temperatures, too, can encourage mold growth, making the issue more likely to emerge in summer months. In addition to destroying the beauty of your home's exterior, mold and algae growing on any side can also be an indication of underlying moisture issues that are capable of rotting the materials your home is made of, both on the outside and towards the interior.

Specifically with fiber cement siding, improper installation can contribute to mold problems, so it's important to either be an expert, consult one, or hire one prior to adorning your home with this material.

How Do You Get Rid Of The Mold?

Before doing anything with your siding, check the warranty on it to ensure you don't commit any actions that could negate protective clauses in it. Also, consult your owner's manual for instructions regarding the dos and don'ts for your exact material. In general, though, mold can effectively be removed from siding through the following steps:

  • Choose your cleaner, such as a baking soda or vinegar-based mixture or professional product (as recommended by your siding manufacturer).
  • Equip yourself with large and small surface-safe (softer) brushes, long rubber gloves, sponges, a hose, and a size-appropriate ladder.
  • Divide the exterior into sections and clean them in an order that allows you to keep track.
  • Focus extra effort on the areas of mold with your cleaner, applying force with a brush.
  • Start your overall cleaning at the top of the home, so your cleaner can work on lower areas as it trickles down.
  • Rinse all solution away before it has a chance to dry, possibly damaging your siding in the process.
  • Be careful not to point the hose upward on siding, where water could possibly seep in.

Because siding is a major investment for any homeowner, you might also consider hiring a professional to clean it, particularly if you're concerned about tough stains, if using a chemical that could cause damage, or if taking this task on yourself leaves you vulnerable to injury. Ladders pose a serious risk to strong, able-bodied individuals; thus, if you have any physical limitations, cleaning all of your siding may be too dangerous.

Can You Prevent Mold On Siding?

Especially with the passage of time and according to your local climate, you can expect to see some discoloration and growth on your siding; however, there are steps you can take to minimize these issues:

  • If possible, avoid keeping your siding in the shade (you can do this by trimming trees and hedges that are blocking sunlight).
  • Most especially if you have hard water (which leads to hard water stains), keep sprinklers directed away from your siding.
  • Regularly clean your siding from simple build-ups, such as mud splatter from rains.
  • Keep your gutters in good working order, so that excess water isn't running down directly on your siding.
  • Try to prevent any vegetation from reaching the sides of your home, such as moss, trees, and grass, as this can result in biological transfer of matter.

Is Fiber Cement Better Than Wood Siding?

Beyond the pesky and potentially expensive issues with mold, fiber cement holds a few key advantages over traditional wood siding. It's important to keep these advantages in mind when you're replacing siding or facing circumstances where you need to choose the best material for your home's exterior:

  • Fiber cement siding will not rot the way wood can.
  • It's basically resistant to insect invasion.
  • Fiber cement siding is also more resistant to fire than wood.
  • Despite these major perks, fiber cement siding looks just as beautiful as real wood.

Fiber cement siding can be a beautiful and lasting addition to your home's exterior, and it will serve you much longer if you take these steps to protect your investment and deal directly with potential mold issues.

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