How to Clean & Care for a Composite Deck
If your home has wooden decks or porches, they require staining, sanding, or painting to keep them in good shape. However, the newest material being used is composite decking, which holds off stains, fading and mold better than pressure treated wood. This means composite decking can be a huge time saver when it comes to cleaning and maintenance.
There are a few options on the market. Capped composite decking is standard composite decking with a cover or cap of polyethylene and proprietary additives. This decking has a 25 year fade and stain warranty. There is also PVC decking, which has been the industry standard for 10 years. PVC decking has unparalleled beauty, is also fade and stain resistant, and requires nothing but a good power wash each spring.
No matter the material you choose, a composite deck must still be cleaned and cared for in order to remain attractive over time.
It’s generally suggested that you use a power washer to clean a composite deck. You can purchase one (they can also be used to wash siding, driveways and walkways, so they can be a good investment) or rent one from most hardware or home improvement stores.
Be sure to read the settings and affix the correct nozzle on any power washer before using it on your deck—too much pressure or the wrong nozzle can damage the deck. Check with your deck’s manufacturer or installer to determine the recommended tip and pressure setting to use.
Prep and Test: Sweep all debris from your deck, then test the power washer in a place that you wouldn’t have too much trouble replacing—a smaller board or a step, perhaps—in case the setting is off for some reason. (Better to damage a small portion in a less prominent location than a centrally located, larger piece!) Once the settings are adjusted to your liking, rinse off remaining dust and debris with the power washer.
Degrease: Next, apply a degreaser/stain remover or a professional-grade deck cleaning solution. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for mixing. It is often recommended that you apply the cleaner in the early morning or evening hours so the cleaner doesn’t evaporate in the sun. Let it sit so it loosens stains.
- Final Rinse: Once the cleaner has been left to work on the boards for the period the manufacturer recommends, spray the deck clean with the power washer. You should then allow at least 24 hours before applying any further treatments or additional cleaning product to the deck.
While no home is really maintenance free, you can look for materials like composite decking that limit the effort you must put in to keep the home looking in top shape. Cleaning your deck is one of those important tasks that will allow a composite deck to retain its beauty and value for years to come.
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