Can You Prevent Mildew From Growing on the Exterior of Your Home?
Here in the Pacific Northwest, specifically the Seattle, WA area, it isn’t surprising to see discolored spots on the siding of many homes. These shadowy looking spots can be brown, gray, green or even black, and they make the exterior of your home look dirty. But unlike dirt, you can’t wash them off by hand or by pressure washing. The culprit is mildew, it’s related to mold but not the same. If it’s left to grow, it may penetrate through the paint and into the wood.
We all know that mold and mildew grow when it’s wet, warm and dark…with that in mind, we also know there are ways to prevent mildew growth on the interior of your home, but how do you protect the exterior of your home – it’s outside!
Believe it or not, there are things you can do to inhibit mildew growth on the outside of your home too.
Protecting the outside…
The outside of your home is designed to cope with “the elements”, it’s intended to get wet, be dry, get snowed on and blown on, but it has its limits. Sometimes the siding gets wetter than it’s intended to, especially the north side which is the side that typically doesn’t get as much sun light to dry it out like the other 3 sides. And while you can’t eliminate the north side, you can do things to help protect it.
- Plants encourage and accumulate moisture, which will encourage and help accumulate mildew. Avoid planting and growing bushes too close to the walls of your home, keep them pruned back.
- Try to keep a good amount of airspace between plant and house, it’s recommended to have 2 feet. Not only is this going to help keep the side of your house a little dryer, but when it’s time to clean windows, outside walls, or paint, your shrubbery won’t get in the way or get damaged.
- Trees that hang over your roof need to be trimmed back. Not only is the debris from the tree not good for your roof, but an overhanging tree adds moisture and prevents the sun from drying the walls.
- The important thing about keeping trees and bushes away from your house is circulation…keep damp air moving and don’t give it a chance to linger on your siding.
- Prevent mildew from beginning in the first place by cleaning the walls thoroughly and regularly.
- If you’re going to be painting the exterior of your home, don’t paint over mildew growth thinking that will solve your problem, it will quickly grow right though the new paint.
- If you live in a particularly humid or wet area, be sure your paint is mildew resistant.
- If mildew is detected before it has a chance to really take over, you may be able to have it cleaned properly and avoid a sooner- than-planned-on paint job. There are mold and mildew cleaners on the market that can help you clean and keep clean the outside of your home.