Oxidation On Vinyl Siding: Causes And How To Remove And Prevent It?

Being inexpensive and low-maintenance, vinyl siding is still one of the most popular siding options in the modern day. But oxidized vinyl siding can be a reality after a few years.

Not just the fading appearance and the eyesore it causes, it can damage the vinyl sidings too.

In case you are wondering what causes oxidation on vinyl siding – it happens when the oxygen interacts with the chemical (polyvinyl chloride or PVC) of the vinyl (after sunlight exposure) and the discoloration begins to show up.

Prolong exposure to sunlight, sudden acid rain, wet or damp weather usually leads to such issues. In this article, I will talk about this in detail including removing oxidation from vinyl siding.

What Causes Oxidation On Vinyl Siding?

oxidation on vinyl siding

Vinyl is affordable and low-maintenance but vinyl is also susceptible to oxidation. Even if you have aluminum siding, you will experience the same issue.

Now, why does this happen?

Well, anything on the exterior of your home will be exposed to extreme UV rays of the sun. Vinyl siding is on the exterior and exposure to the sun causes oxidation.

The northern or western facing sides of your home will experience the oxidation most. Run your wet finger on the dry section of the vinyl siding and you will see the chalky residue on your finger.

The chalky white substance on your finger indicates that the oxidation process of your vinyl siding has already started. Oxidation won’t happen unless your vinyl siding is a few years old.

Usually, the oxidation process won’t start for a longer period if you have lighter color vinyl siding. But for grey or blue color siding, it will appear sooner than you think!

Most people know this problem as vinyl siding discoloration. But oxidation is not just about the fading color, it has an impact on the vinyl itself too.

If you don’t take the necessary steps soon, oxidation will break the vinyl brittle and easily breakable.

Oftentimes, you may notice the appearance of haze but if your siding has mold and mildew, you may not see the haze.

How To Remove Oxidation From Vinyl Siding?

oxidized vinyl siding

To avoid the deterioration or degradation of your exterior cladding, you need to remove the oxidation ASAP.

Now, you can either hire a professional pressure washing company to remove the oxidized layer or do it yourself. I will tell you exactly when to call a professional but let’s see you can remove it yourself:

  • Identify The Oxidation

If you have darker-colored vinyl siding, you can easily identify the chalky substances. For other colors, run your finger across the surface of the vinyl siding to check the oxidation.

  • Cleaning Solution Preparation

Household items like vinegar or dish soap work well for removing oxidation from vinyl siding. You can create a cleaning solution using one of these common household items.

And I will show you how to do it with these common household items. Only the water and vinegar should do the trick, but let’s make the mix more powerful!

Here are two separate recipes that you can use, but do not mix them together:

Vinegar Solution:

  • 1 gallon of water
  • 5 cups of vinegar
  • 1/3 cup of laundry detergent

Bleach Solution:

  • 1 gallon of water
    4 cups of household bleach
    2/3 cup of household cleaner

The proportion of these items is important.

DO NOT MIX VINEGAR WITH BLEACH. Individually, they are not dangerous when handled carefully and won’t harm the vinyl siding. But together they will create toxic chloramine and chlorine vapor that will hurt you.

Once the solution is properly mixed, pour it into a spray bottle.

  • Wear Protective Gear

You do not want any of the cleaning items to get into your eyes. You certainly don’t want the oxidation to get into your eyes either.

So, wear safety goggles to protect your eyes during the entire process. If you have protective clothes, wear them too to prevent your skin exposure to the oxidized vinyl siding.

  • Pre-Rinse The Siding

To remove or loosen up the dirt and other sticky stuff, hose down your siding. You can use your garden hose.

  • Apply The Solution By Small Sections

Once they are pre-rinsed, it’s time to apply the cleaning solutions you just made.  Start spraying the solution.

You don’t want the cleaning solution to dry out quickly. So, spray in small sections.  Then use a soft-bristled brush to scrub your vinyl siding.

To avoid blotchy marks, you should start from the bottom and work way up gradually. That’s the right approach to take care of your chalky oxidation problem.

  • Rinse Your Vinyl Siding

Use your garden hose to rinse off your vinyl siding to clean the cleaning solution as the last step. As you are hosing down the vinyl siding, make sure the water is removing the debris too. And you are done!

Now, watch this video to learn how to do it effectively.

  • Yearly Maintenance

You need to call a professional pressure washing company to solve the large-scale oxidation problem. DIY approach won’t be fruitful against such large-scale oxidation.

It becomes large when you forget to inspect your vinyl siding for a long time.

So, always look for the signs of such oxidation! And don’t forget to low-pressure wash your vinyl siding for every 1 or 3 years to remove the mold, mildew, and such chalky oxidation.

Lastly, I don’t want to be a nut-breaker but vinyl siding oxidation is a continuous process. Meaning, you will have to repeat the above steps several times a year.

Let me explain why…

Oxidation destroys the protective outer layer of the vinyl siding. The restoration process of the oxidized vinyl siding will fix the problem temporarily only.

In fact, your vinyl siding will oxidize at a faster rate even after the restoration process.

But, don’t be disappointed. You must remove the oxidation as soon as they appear! Normally, cleaning the vinyl siding twice a year is common. But do it whenever you notice the first sign.

Repainting Vinyl Siding

There are plenty of alternatives to vinyl siding. But many people choose it over other types is because of its durability and low maintenance.

Vinyl siding can keep its color for a long time. It is engineered and made that way. So, in most cases, repainting your siding is not necessary.

Also, large-scale oxidation can structurally damage the vinyl siding. Really old or buckling vinyl siding won’t last at all. So, repainting them will be a loss project.

In that case, installing new vinyl siding will be a wiser decision.

However, if the vinyl siding is in better condition and you are not happy with the color of it, you can go for repainting them. But you should check whether painting your vinyl siding will void the warranty or not first.

When To Call The Professional Pressure Washing Company?

what causes oxidation on vinyl siding

Undoubtedly, pressure washing is costly but sometimes, home solutions won’t work against the oxidation when it’s already gone beyond control.

Also, not all cleaning solution works against oxidation. And such a DIY task is very time-consuming and tedious. Besides, if you have a multi-story building, you should not be doing this yourself.

Yes, professional service is expensive but you will save more in the long run if you schedule their appointment.

They know better than anyone how to restore your vinyl siding and only they have the right tools for that.

So, you need to call the professional when the home solutions seem impractical. And keep in mind that calling the pressure washing company has many advantages.  

Depending on the amount of oxidation, only a professional knows what sort of adjustment of technique is required. They can do it effectively and efficiently.

While hiring the professional, talk about the total cost and what type of cleaning technique they are gonna use.

To save time and money, the pressure washing company is the best in these circumstances. You don’t need to buy that costly equipment and cleaning products yourself.

It’s a time-consuming tedious task. Let the professional handle the headache!

And, pressure washing the oxidized vinyl siding has some downside too. It happens to a few, but the more you wash and put high pressure on the oxidized home, it may deteriorate the look of your home!

That’s why you should talk to them first and make sure they use low-pressure to avoid unpleasant scenarios.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do you remove oxidation from vinyl siding?

If you don’t hire a professional to remove the oxidation, you can use homemade solutions like vinegar, bleach, or dish soap to remove it.

How do you fix oxidation on siding?

Mix 5 cups of vinegar with one gallon of water to clean the oxidation on the siding. Rinse, scrub, and rinse!

Can you paint over oxidized vinyl siding?

You can but you should not if you are happy with the current color. If you are not happy due to the faded vinyl siding, you need to prepare the siding first and use the right paint afterward.

Will T.S.P. remove oxidation?

Yes, T.S.P. can remove the oxidation. You can also use dish soap and vinegar as well.

Can you use Clorox on vinyl siding?

Yes, you can but you need to dilute it properly and rinse the surface afterward thoroughly to avoid any harm.

Closing Remarks

Oxidized vinyl siding is surely indicating the wear and tear of your entire house. And you can prevent the oxidation for a longer period if you choose the right paint in the first place.

Also, think about getting high-quality vinyl siding for your home from the beginning as well.

Now that you know what causes oxidation on vinyl siding and how to remove it, I expect you to spread this article with your friends. And don’t forget to share your thoughts and suggestions in the comment box!

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2 thoughts on “Oxidation On Vinyl Siding: Causes And How To Remove And Prevent It?”

    1. Mixing vinegar and bleach is not recommended, as it creates toxic chloramine and chlorine vapor. Choose one of the two solutions for cleaning your vinyl siding. Remember, do not mix vinegar with bleach to avoid creating toxic fumes.

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