Composite decks have become quite popular over the years, making them one of the preferred choices for decking materials. They’re more durable and versatile than other decking materials. Maintaining your decking is important to keep it looking great and ensure it lasts a lifetime. Cleaning your composite decking should be a biannual task so let’s take a look at the best way to achieve this.
Unlike other decking materials, composite decks don’t require a high degree of maintenance. Composite decking from companies like Azek offers colour-rich boards with an authentic timber-like appeal, giving you the traditional wood look that’s easier to maintain.
Cleaning composite decking
The easiest way to clean your decking is with a bucket of warm water, a soft bristle broom and some composite decking cleaning solution. The decking solution can be replaced with soap or washing up liquid but these won’t work as effectively as the cleaning solution.
The warm water helps activate the solution to help lift off stuck on grime, salt, mud, sand and other particles that might gather on your deck. Working in the warm water solution along the length of the boards will help remove most of the dirt but some smaller sideways strokes will help remove tougher stains.
For slightly tougher stains you can use the solution and warm water but this time a smaller and slightly tougher bristle brush can be used. Circular motions might work best for these tougher areas.
It may seem like a straightforward task to clean, but there are still a few things you can do wrong during your scheduled cleaning routine that can ultimately damage your composite decks.
5 common mistakes when cleaning composite decking
To help you out, here are five common mistakes you need to avoid when it’s time to clean your composite deck.
Using a pressure washer too close to the deck
Composite decks may be tough, but they’re not as durable as steel or real wood. And using a pressure washer may cause damage when improperly used. High-pressure water can damage your deck surface if you move the wand too close to the deck. It damages the boards and leaves them looking dull, and may even create holes.
In general, it’s best to avoid using a pressure washer to clean composite deck floors. A water hose is a safer option that can preserve your deck flooring. But if you really need to use a pressure washer, make sure to use the lowest pressure possible. Also, make sure that you’re not holding the wand too close to the deck’s surface.
Using bleach to remove mould
As with anything that’s outside, your composite decking is exposed to harsh elements and in a damp environment. If not properly protected and it retains moisture in some areas, your composite decking will harbour mould and mildew.
Mould can attack your composite decking, eating away the material, and causing expensive damage to your deck flooring. Plus, it can also cause or aggravate health issues such as asthma and allergies.
When mould appears, most homeowners turn to bleach to get rid of it immediately. However, using bleach is a big ‘no’ in terms of cleaning your composite decking. While it can instantly kill mould, bleach can also strip away the colour of your deck boards, making them look old and faded. Plus, bleach is highly corrosive and causes serious damage to the surface of your decking.
Instead of using bleach, you can clean your composite deck with warm, soapy water and a soft-bristle brush. You can also opt for natural deck cleaners, such as a mixture of vinegar and baking soda, to effectively kill off mould while removing stubborn stains on your deck.
Removing snow with metal shovel
During winter, snow tends to accumulate on top of your deck. It’s good practice to never let snow accumulate as it can cause the decking to be slippery and retain moisture that can damage the boards. The weight of accumulated snow can impact the integrity of the decking structure as well.
That said, when cleaning snow off your composite decks, never use metal shovels since they can damage the surface of your composite decking, causing scratches and cuts to the surface. Instead, use a plastic shovel to remove snow from your deck. If the snow isn’t thick, you can sweep it off using a broom, or you can use ice melt to dissolve ice or snow.
Forgetting the gaps
This is a common mistake that most people make when cleaning composite decks. The gaps between your decking act as a drainage system. Ignoring the gaps and spaces between the decking boards can cause dirt and debris buildup and cause water to pool on your decking. Plus, it makes your deck look dirty and gradually damages the overall structure of your boards. So, don’t forget to clean in between the spaces with a small brush or used toothbrush.
Dragging objects over your composite decking
When it’s time to clean your composite decking, you probably start by removing furniture and other materials from your deck to make it easier to clean the area.
But remember to never drag any furniture and other objects over your composite decking floor. This can cause scratches and damage to the surface of your decking, which can trap and accumulate more grime and dirt. So, if you need to remove or move things across your deck, make sure to lift and carry them instead. If it’s too heavy or big, ask someone to help you.
As you can see, cleaning your home’s composite deck doesn’t have to be complicated. You only need to pay attention to the proper cleaning methods and avoid the above-mentioned mistakes to prevent damage, prolong its lifespan, and preserve its beauty for a long time.
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