Handyman: Give your home’s exterior a spring bath
Now that spring is in full bloom, you have probably wandered around the exterior of your home and noticed how dirty everything has gotten over the winter. From the siding, brick, patio, deck and windows, your home’s exterior could use a serious bath.
But as always, using the right tools and cleaning products makes the job easier and more effective. Here are some of the ways to get your home’s exterior sparkling again.
While using a power washer to clean the exterior can work well if done by a professional, I don’t recommend for homeowners because it is too easy to damage surfaces if you use too much pressure. Most exterior cleaning jobs can be accomplished with the force of the humble garden hose paired with a long handled car wash brush and a few specialty items detailed below.
There are many good products on the market that make it easier to clean your home’s exterior with just a little elbow grease. Concrobium House & Deck Wash, concrobium.com, Zinsser Jomax House Wash by Rust-oleum, rustoleum.com or 30 Second Outdoor Cleaner, 30secondscleaners.com. Start from the bottom and work up to avoid spots and streaks.
Masonry — To remove everyday dirt and grime from brick pavers, stamped and broom finished slab concrete use either Krud Kutter Driveway Cleaner & Degreaser or you can put 4 heaping tablespoons of TSP-PF per gallon warm water . Scrub with the car wash brush and rinse it off with a garden hose.
Deck — If you want to clean up your wood deck, use products like Wolman DeckBrite, rustoleum.com, or SuperDeck Exterior Wood Cleaner, superdeck.com. For a composite or PVC deck that could use a freshening up, use a mild detergent with a soft bristled brush and rinse with the garden hose. Look at cleaners like Concrobium House & Deck Wash, concrobium.com, and Krud Kutter Multi-Purpose House Wash.
Roof — Streaks are caused by algae growth, especially if it faces north or you have a lot of trees around your home. Wet & Forget Outdoor, wetandforget.com, removes moss and algae stains gently from roofs, without scrubbing or pressure washing. You just spray it on the roof and just let the weather do the rest.
Windows — Here’s where we can use some specialized equipment. Brushtech Brushes (518) 563-2401, brushtechbrushes.com, feature several products that come in very handy. Their Revolving Wide Faced Screen Brush is 7 inches wide and makes quick work of cleaning window meshes. The Super Sturdy Track Cleaner removes dirt and mold from the tracks of your doorwalls and windows.
If your windows have lots of dirt on them from the winter, you can use my window washing method. To clean windows, use a solution of 4 ounces of vinegar and 1 teaspoon of liquid hand dishwashing detergent to a gallon of warm water. Apply with a sponge and then remove the solution with a rubber squeegee. Wipe up drips from sills with an old bath towel.
Obviously you won’t get all these cleaning chores done over a weekend, so as always, some proper prior planning is important. For example, if you do plan to clean your home’s brick or siding, you should do that before you clean your windows, deck or patio, because the drips from the cleaning solution will surely find their way onto these areas.
But once you have a plan and get into the exterior cleaning mode, you will soon have the cleanest home on the block with increased curb appeal.
If you would like to suggest a question for this column, e-mail email@example.com. If you want to talk to Glenn Haege, call his “Handyman Show” on WJR-AM (760) at (866) ASK GLENN, (866) 275-4536 between noon and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. “The Handyman Show” can be heard on more than 130 radio stations.