Cleaning your cladding this winter – A guide

Cladding can be an incredibly cost-effective and attractive option for protecting your home or business and giving it a little extra depth or character. But by its very nature, cladding can be tricky to clean, particularly in the winter months.

Particularly in the UK, where the weather is inconsistent at best, the constant changes in climate can have a devastating impact on external cladding and coatings if left alone. As the weather shifts from the warm summer into the cold autumn and winter, rust and damp are liable to set in. Winter ice and snow, meanwhile, can be just as damaging to the coating of your cladding as the summer sun.

This is why you should always give your cladding a thorough cleaning in November or December before the real ravages of the season begin in January. But what cleaning method you use will depend on the material of your cladding and its size.

Cladding materials

Most cladding for homes will be wood and brick, but businesses and larger properties might have aluminium, vinyl or metal cladding and each will require a different cleaning method. For example, brick cladding can be cleaned quite easily by using a power washer to blast away any lingering issues on the cladding and between the cracks. 

However, if there has been a significant amount of algae build-up in your cladding, you might need to get at it with a hand wash. Steam jets are also an option here, as they work similarly to power washers only with high-temperature steam that is perfect for breaking down stubborn patches of algae or grime.

Metal cladding, meanwhile, can be difficult to clean as you don’t want to catalyse unnecessary rusting. Power washers are certainly not recommended here unless you have no other option. There are specialist aluminium cleaners that will clean the cladding without tarnishing it, or you could get in there with your hands, though this could take hours and can be quite messy.

Cleaning wood cladding

Wooden cladding is the most popular option for homeowners due to its aesthetic appeal but once it loses its colour it can really start to look lacklustre. Because wood is a natural material, it retains moisture very well but thanks to the reliably poor British weather and its inconsistency, wood will swell and warp over time and leave it looking old and filthy.

Having the wood treated is perhaps the best option here as this will lock in the moisture and prevent any further moisture from seeping in. Another option would be to forego wood entirely and opt for something with all the characteristics of wood and few of the faults. Our low maintenance, a rot-free alternative to traditional timber cladding is a combination of natural and synthetic materials that gives you all of the look and none of the hassle.

It’s a tough job but it needs to be done

The festive season is the time we would all ideally like to be sat with our feet up in front of the TV. But cleaning your cladding is a task to which you should at least dedicate an afternoon if you want to retain the original finish. You could always hire a contractor to do it for you but nine times out of ten, hiring a jet or steam washer for the afternoon will be the more affordable option. You might even enjoy it!