How to Protect Vinyl and Metal Siding from Rust Damage

calander Dec 15 , 2021 user-icon Nash Painting

Your house exterior is exposed to all kinds of environmental threats, including wind, rain, extreme temperatures, and more. As if these hazards weren’t threatening enough on their own, they can combine forces to wreak even more havoc on your home. Oxidation (better known as rust) is a prime example of this collusion. When oxygen and moisture meet on metal surfaces, the chemical process known as oxidation begins. Depending on the temperature, moisture level, and material in question, this process can occur gradually or rapidly. Either way, rust is a common feature on homes that harbor metal siding -- especially those in humid environments and/or near water. Of course, rust can also affect vinyl siding, just indirectly. Metal components above your siding such as gutters and roofing materials can rust and leak downwards, leaving unsightly stains on your home’s exterior.

In its early stages, rust isn’t much more than a cosmetic flaw. As time goes on, however, rust can eat away at surfaces, weakening their integrity and even posing health risks for those who might come into direct contact with it. For all these reasons, it’s imperative to prevent rust from taking over your siding (and other features) and remove rust whenever it rears its ugly head. Let’s go over some strategies for protecting your vinyl and metal siding from rust damage.

Ways to Protect Vinyl and Metal Siding from Rust Damage

Don’t Wait to Act

Before we get into the nitty gritty of rust prevention and removal, it’s crucial to note that time is of the essence. As mentioned above, trace amounts of rust don’t necessarily pose a threat to your home, but they should also be taken as harbingers of bigger problems to come -- that is, if you don’t take swift action. When caught early, rust stains can be eliminated with relative ease (some homemade cleaning solutions can even do the trick, which we’ll discuss more later on). If you notice signs of rust damage on your siding but don’t know what to do, you can always call local professionals to assess your home’s exterior and deliver an estimate. Whatever the case, don’t neglect rusty siding -- do something about it.

Keep Your Siding Clean

Periodic cleaning is key for keeping your home beautiful and protecting it from virtually every threat, including rust damage. When your siding is filthy, it can be difficult to notice budding problems -- after all, differentiating dirt from rust isn’t always easy, especially from afar. So, you might miss some important warning signs by neglecting to clean your home. Moreover, poorly maintained homes are more likely to rust in the first place, as they may contain cracks and crevices for moisture to linger. And if you want to restore your home’s appearance after it’s already taken on some rust stains, you’ll need to give it a good cleaning anyway. The question, of course, is how should you go about cleaning your vinyl or metal siding?

As you might imagine, different siding materials often require different cleaning solutions and techniques. Warm water and adequate pressure will always play a role here, but the detergents and other cleaning agents used need to be selected carefully so as not to damage the siding material in question. Household products and homeone cleaning solutions can be effective for general cleaning and rust stain removal for both vinyl and metal siding. For instance, white vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda are useful ingredients for cleaning vinyl or metal siding and removing stains. You can make an even more powerful cleaning solution with laundry detergent powder, liquid laundry bleach, and cleaning detergent (with water).

Be sure to research proper ratios for these solutions or look into dedicated cleaning products for your specific type of siding to reduce the risk of damage.

Is Power Washing Too Powerful?

Pressure washing is an important part of the discussion surrounding siding cleaning strategies. And while power washing siding is an efficient method for removing stains and debris from your house exterior, it’s not always recommended for every situation. Indeed, the heat and pressure delivered by power washing can potentially damage your siding and its coatings. Whether you plan on power washing aluminum siding, vinyl siding, etc., note the importance of the nozzle(s) you use, the angle at which you aim the nozzle, the selected pressure settings, and the detergent with which you fill the machine. Making a miscalculation in any of these departments can lead to bigger problems. Likewise, note that pressure washing can harm your landscape and other exterior features if you’re not careful in your approach.

Maintain Quality Coatings

The frequency with which you repaint your property’s exterior depends on several factors. If you live in a temperate region and clean your siding at least twice a year, you might not need to hire exterior painting services for 10-15 years. On the other hand, homes in harsher environments might benefit from a fresh coat of paint every 5-7 years. Specifics aside, when it’s time to paint your siding, don’t skimp on quality. If you want to protect your home from rust damage, coating its surfaces with high-quality, rust-resistant paint is one of the best things you can do for its appearance and longevity. There’s no shortage of waterproof and rust-proof paint products on the market, so take your time comparing manufacturers, prices, and perks. And before hiring local painters, ask them about the products they use for exterior projects so you know your home will receive the highest level of protection.

When in Doubt, Consider Rust Removal Products and Repair Services

No matter how vigilant you are, it’s possible to miss instances of oxidation on your home exterior. By the time you finally come across the rust, it might already be eating away at your surfaces. Though unfortunate, this revelation isn’t the end of the world. There are always ways to resolve a rust-related problem, no matter how severe. In many cases, a powerful rust removing product like Calcium, Lime, and Rust Remover (CLR) can get rid of even the most stubborn rust stains. Home painting services can also paint over rust in some instances, though this usually isn’t advised, as this will only conceal, not solve, the underlying issue. In the worst case scenario, repair professionals can cut away rusted siding and replace the affected area with new, matching installations. These repairs and replacements are more costly than preventative measures, so it’s always ideal to prevent rust damage in the first place.

Is Your Home Feeling Rusty?

Oxidation is a natural chemical process that can be difficult to tame once it takes hold. That said, you don’t have to leave your metal or vinyl siding to nature’s whim. By staying on top of exterior maintenance and employing the right cleaning and painting products and strategies, you can keep your siding well-protected from rust damage and other outdoor threats. If you don’t know where to begin with rust prevention or removal, the experts at Nash Painting are here to help. We’ve served countless homes and businesses across Nashville, Brentwood, and Franklin, TN.

To learn more about us, our services, and our values, call us at 615-829-6858 today!