Real Estate News

Ask the Remodeler: Is it safe to power-wash siding?

Using the wrong kind of nozzle can ruin your siding. Send your questions to [email protected]

Using the wrong kind of nozzle can ruin the siding. Adobe stock

Q. I live on one side of a two-unit modular condo building built around 1999. I’ve had it power-washed several times and haven’t noticed any problems. It’s time for another power wash to remove the mildew and stains. My new neighbor in the other unit said it’s not a good idea to power-wash siding. I am unable to clean it myself. Is he right?

B.F.S., Gloucester

A. You can power-wash any type of siding: wood, vinyl, or cement-based; however, it should be done by a professional, as there are different settings for wood versus composite siding. I saw a painter destroy wood siding because he set the pressure too high. It gouged the siding beyond repair. We power-wash every house we paint. Power washing is the only way to maintain vinyl siding.

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Q. I had cellulose insulation sprayed in my attic a few years ago. My HVAC contractor said it is difficult to maintain the equipment due to the amount of cellulose in the attic, where the ducts are. I’m considering having the cellulose removed and replacing it with a different type of insulation. What would you suggest?

C.J.

A. Your HVAC contractor is definitely right; trying to maintain equipment in an attic filled with cellulose is difficult. I highly recommend removing the cellulose and installing closed-cell icynene insulation in the rafter bays, above the HVAC equipment. That will keep the attic substantially cooler and will add years to the life of the mechanicals because they won’t be working in extreme conditions.

Mark Philben is the project development manager at Charlie Allen Renovations in Cambridge. Send your questions to [email protected]. Questions are subject to editing. Subscribe to the Globe’s free real estate newsletter — our weekly digest on buying, selling, and design — at pages.email.bostonglobe.com/AddressSignUp. Follow us on Twitter @globehomes.

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