Once your beautiful new composite deck is installed, you’ll need to clean and maintain it to keep it looking its best for years to come. This will eradicate mildew, help you spot any problems over time, and protect your deck. Here’s what you need to know to clean and maintain your composite deck.
Check With the Manufacturer
To begin, check with the manufacturer of your decking to see if they have any specific care instructions. For example, Timbertech’s website shares information for cleaning their different products. Trex informs homeowners with older decks that they may need to take additional precautions to stop or slow mildew growth because older composite boards were not manufactured with a mildewcide. Homeowners with decks made from newer composite boards will likely have different cleaning instructions as mildewcide inclusion in composite boards became an industry standard.
If you’ve bought a home with a composite deck and are unsure of the manufacturer, that’s ok. You can follow these simple steps for cleaning and maintaining your deck
Find an Appropriate Deck Cleaner
Shop around for a composite deck cleaner and make sure it specifies it is for composite decking and not wood decking. You’ll want to do this first to make sure you have everything you need before you begin cleaning. Capped composite decks, which are generally newer, should be cleaned with dish soap and water. This is because often the cap is not made of the same composite as the rest of the board. Composite cleaners are best for regular composite boards.
Read the instructions on your cleaner and determine a good day (or a couple of days) when it is not too hot to focus on your deck. You’ll need to move furniture and cover any immovable fixtures with a tarp.
Sweep the deck to remove debris and dirt. Check in between boards for little twigs and other debris that like to gather there.
Power Wash Your Deck
Power wash your deck to remove any dirt, mildew, or other stains. If you have a newer deck, the manufacturer may recommend you simply clean it with your garden hose. Mildew stained decks, however, will benefit from a heavier stream of water. Power washing can also reduce the amount of time you’ll need to spend scrubbing to remove dirt and stains.
Apply composite decking cleaner as per manufacturer’s instructions. Alternatively, use a mixture of dish soap and water. Scrub soiled areas with a cloth or soft-bristled brush. A stiff brush may scratch or dull the finish of your decking and should not be used.
Once dry, you can replace your furniture. To keep furniture from scratching or causing discoloration to your decking, consider rearranging it periodically.
Spot Clean and Repair
Don’t let stains pile up. Clean spills as soon as possible so they don’t get worse over time. Regularly sweeping your deck can help protect it from mold and keep debris to a minimum. While cleaning, look for any nails or screws that need to be resecured or other issues that require attention. Cut back foliage that is hanging over your deck to reduce debris and diminish the chance of mold growth. After a rain shower, if water accumulates on your deck, sweep it off to help it dry more quickly and reduce the chances of mildew growth.
Your deck is a beautiful addition to your home, providing you and your family with space to recline, grill, and just hang out. Invest the time in properly treating your deck and you’ll be rewarded. Cleaning and maintaining your composite deck will help it last longer and keep it looking great.
If your composite or wooden deck needs to be replaced and you’re thinking of installing a composite deck, Decks and Docks can help. We carry a variety of composite decking to help homeowners find the right type of style for their project. Check out our website for more information.