The Deck Store has been helping home owners, business owners, and professional contractors better understand deck and patio construction for decades. We hope to expand the reach of that knowledge through our blog.
Composite decks are great. They last longer than wood decks, are water resistant, and look fantastic but they do need a little TLC every now and then. Even if composite decks require much less maintenance than real wood decks, they require some cleaning and care to keep the material in tip-top shape. Below are some tips on how to care for composite decks.
Assuming your composite deck was appropriately installed, the frame should last as long as the decking. So, the main focus will be on caring for the composite decking material itself.
The first step is to sweep the deck clean of any dirt, leaves, or debris that is sitting at the top of your deck. Be sure to use a broom that will not scratch the surface of your deck. Sometimes a leaf blower will be an even better option because it will take less time and has zero risk when it comes to damaging or scratching your deck.
The next step is to give the deck a good wash. You can do this with a hose and a mild soap or you can purchase composite deck cleaners made specifically for this material. Be sure to avoid any cleaners with bleach or other harsh chemicals as these ingredients can damage the color of your deck. Just like the broom, make sure you use a soft bristle brush to scrub in the cleaner. Once you have finished, rinse the cleaner off completely with a hose. If using a pressure washer please spray it at an angle, directly spraying the deck could cause damage and micro tears in the composite deck boards.
After your deck is clean and dry, it is time to inspect for any mold or mildew that might be present. These can both cause staining and discoloration of your deck if left untreated. If you see mold or mildew build up then you should manually clean it up with any leftover cleaner. Just be sure to rinse it off well once you are done and make sure no residue is left.
You should clean your composite deck at least once a year. If you live in an area with a lot of trees then you might need to clean it more often as sitting leaves and pollen can cause staining. If the weather is particularly rainy or snow melts onto the deck then you will want to give it a quick wash every spring and fall, this is not necessary but it will stop any mold or mildew build-up in between seasons.
When it comes to composite decks and winter weather, you want to take special care. Snow and ice can cause serious damage if left on the deck for extended periods of time. The best way to remove snow and ice is with a plastic shovel or broom. You never want to use metal as this can scratch the surface of your deck. Also, we recommend never to use rock salt on your composite deck to melt ice. Sure you can if you need to but it can leave behind a nasty residue on the surface of your deck.
Large plants and bushes keep in moisture for long periods of time. If you have any plants or bushes that touch your composite deck, it is important to trim them back so they are not in constant contact with the material and to avoid any damage from moisture. Also, if you have a grill or other outdoor cooking appliances, make sure they are not placed directly on the deck as this can cause grease stains that are difficult to remove.
With these simple tips, you can keep your composite deck looking brand new for the seasons to come. Just a little bit of regular maintenance will go a long way in preserving the material and preventing any severe damage.
The Deck Store has expert deck and patio builders on staff that are available to answer any question you might have.