I have been a part of over 200 new and existing home contruction projects including one of the largest homes in Wisconsin (The Wascher Mansion in Greenville, WI, 25,000 square feet), and over 40 commercial and industrial projects in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Minnesota. During this time I have been fortunate enough to learn the science behind why we build the way we do and what not to do as well. I have also inspected over 1,200 homes in Wisconsin as a licensed home inspector and worked with Wisconsin Focus on Energy to provide customers with rebates to help with the cost of performing energy saving projects.
Also be sure to read the label on the container to find out what substances the product can remove. A solution formulated to strip latex paint may be ineffective at removing grease or oil. The label can also provide other valuable information you’ll need to know in order to choose the best product for the job (see Questions to Ask When Selecting a Remover or Cleaner).
One of the biggest problems with aluminum siding is that it’s really easy to dent. So if you ever get up on a ladder to clean out your gutters or do some minor roofing repairs, you have to be careful as the ladder could dent it. Plus, you might be mowing the yard and have a rock or something fly out and smack it, that’ll put a really good dent in them. You’ll also hear that they have a tendency to chalk-up a bit, but that’s nothing that a good cleaning can’t take care of. One thing though to keep in mind, if you do live in heavier, humid climates, the elements can take a toll on them.
Occasionally you may encounter deposits that refuse to surrender to your best cleaning efforts. If scraping or chemical stripping are ineffective at removing glues, caulk, mastics, or other heavy contaminants, Harris says that you may need to resort to mechanical removal methods, such as grinding. However, be aware that mechanical abrasion can also remove a layer of the cement paste from the surface, which will cause the stain to react differently. Grinding can also leave swirl marks in the slab if you’re overly aggressive.
Some chemical strippers can be extremely hazardous to breathe and apply, especially if you’re working in an enclosed environment. Be sure to read the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for the product to check for potential hazards and health effects. Products containing petroleum also are flammable and can be dangerous to use around floor scrubbing machines, warns Schmidt, because electrical sparks could ignite a fire or explosion.