Cleaning outside of House
By: Danny Lipford
Cleaning and repairing the outside of your home doesn’t have to be a spring project, though it is nice to get outside and enjoy the warm weather after a long, cold winter spent inside. Here are some often neglected outdoor maintenance projects you might want to consider tackling.
A pressure washer can make quick work of cleaning the outside of your home, but be careful since the extremely high pressure can damage wood and other softer materials.
While scrubbing is not necessary with a pressure washer, adding detergent to the reservoir on the machine serves to loosen stubborn dirt and get the job done faster. Be sure to use a cleaner that is made for pressure washers and intended for the type of surface you’re cleaning. Cleaners are available for specific applications such as siding, decks, and masonry surfaces.
If mold or mildew is present, spray it with a product such as SporiCLEAN or Concrobium. A mixture of 1 part bleach to 4 parts water can also be effective on mold on nonporous surfaces. Wear protective clothing and rubber gloves when working with bleach or other harmful chemicals, and cover or wet down any plants or grass with water before applying. Allow the bleach mixture to remain on for 10 – 15 minutes, then wash it off with a hose or pressure washer.
Driveways and sidewalks need periodic maintenance, too.
- Start by removing any grass or weeds that are encroaching on the driveway or growing in cracks.
- Follow this by a thorough cleaning with a pressure washer to remove dirt and grime.
Wood decks take a lot of abuse from the elements, and they need a good cleaning from time to time to look their best.
- Start by applying a specially formulated deck cleaner in a pump up sprayer.
- Rinse the deck, and allow it to dry.
- If refinishing is needed, apply a sealer or stain with a pump up sprayer, going over it with a brush to smooth it out.
- Allow the sealer to dry thoroughly before using the deck.
Clean and Repair Screens
Window screens can be cleaned by soaking them in a child’s wading pool filled with soapy water, followed by a gentle scrubbing with a soft scrub brush on a flat surface. As a final step, rinse the screen with a garden hose using a fine spray setting to keep from damaging the screen.
To repair small holes in screens, flatten the fibers out and brush on several coats of clear fingernail polish for a seamless repair. Large tears or holes are best fixed by removing the rubber spline from the screen frame and installing a new piece of screen using a screen spline roller tool.