A deck transforms any outdoor space into a great year-round spot for gatherings and parties with friends or family. However, once you’ve installed your perfect decking, it does require some maintenance to keep it in tip-top condition.
Trex is an industry leader in hardy composite decking, which requires less daily maintenance than organic lumber decks. However, if your Trex decking has been through a few seasons already, it may be due for some basic care and restoration to get it back to full health.
In this guide, we’ll go through the best basic practices for how to restore Trex decking and get your deck looking brand new again.
The first step to fixing up any deck starts with a thorough cleaning. While composite decking requires less maintenance than other deck materials, it still requires cleaning to keep it looking fresh, especially after heavy snowfall or storms. Leftover debris can leave behind dirt, mud, and mold if not cleaned up properly.
Fortunately, cleaning doesn’t require any fancy materials or special products—you’ll just need a hose and some soap.
Step 1. Prepping for Washing
First, clear off your deck of any furniture; you want a clear surface to work on and to be able to get in all the nooks and crannies.
Use a hose and water to spray down the deck and remove any debris from the surface. If debris is particularly large (like tree branches after a storm), you may need to remove things by hand or with a broom.
Step 2. Spray Down with Soapy Water
Use a cleaning solution and mix it with water. Then, spray down your deck with the soapy solution, making sure to cover the entire area of the deck.
Trex composite decking doesn’t need a lot of elbow grease to get clean, though it can withstand a power washer if you’re so inclined. Use either a soft bristle brush to scrub down dirt or use a pressure washer at no more than 3100 psi.
Step 3. Rinse with Clean Water
Once you’ve removed the dirt and stains, spray down again with clean water to rinse away all the loose dirt and suds. This step is crucial since dirt and suds left to dry on your decking could form a film layer on the composite surface.
Tips for the Best Clean
Besides an overall wash, the techniques and tools you use also can make a significant difference in how to restore Trex decking. Check out some pro tips below!
Use the Correct Cleaner
When cleaning your decking, be sure to use the correct cleaner when making your soapy water. Otherwise, you could cause surface damage that affects the appearance of your Trex deck.
Composite decking such as Trex decking is porous and needs an oxygenated cleaner that can clean inside the deck and the surface.
It’s essential to stay away from chlorine bleach-based cleaners. These contain sodium hypochlorite, which will eat into your deck over time. Chlorine bleach is highly corrosive and can cause discoloration, damage, and exacerbate existing mold issues.
Apply Low Pressure with a Pressure Washer
If you pressure wash your deck, keep it on the lowest setting possible—no more than 3100 psi with a fan tip.
Composite decking is much softer than natural wood. A pressure washing at too high a setting can encourage chipping, sun damage, and mold staining.
Be sure to spray no closer than 8 inches away from the wood. You may want to spray on a clear, warm day so the sun can help dry excess water.
Mind the Gaps
When washing, be sure to clean the gaps in-between the wood. Dirt and debris can build up here and prevent moisture from escaping, which can cause mold to grow underneath your decking.
We recommend cleaning these gaps at least once a year with a soft bristle brush. That way, you can maintain consistent airflow and ensure the underside of your decking stays dry.
Composite decking is naturally resistant to mold, but mold can affect Trex decks if it’s allowed to feed on built-up dirt or pollen covering the surface.
Mold can ruin the beauty of your deck and also can lead to structural damage—so it’s essential to keep your deck clean and to address mold as soon as you notice it. You can keep your deck clean by using a hose to wash off debris or surface grime and then using a soft-bristled brush to clean away mold or mildew.
If you notice any soft spots or patches of mold that won’t go away, it’s time to call in a professional. Letting mold sit for too long can cause dangerous warping or weakening of your deck.
Removing Other Types of Staining
Hard Water Staining
If you clean your deck with hard water, it could dry with unsightly spots left on the surfaces. The reason is that hard water contains large amounts of mineral deposits, such as calcium and magnesium.
Generally, hard water is something to avoid. If there is no other option, you can dry the water from the decking using a dry cloth.
If there are already spots on the decking caused by hard water, you can remove them using white vinegar as a cleaning solution.
Discoloration from Rubber Mats
Be wary of rubber-backed mats as they sometimes contain substances that can cause discoloration. They can make the decking’s surface appear lighter. If you notice areas that have been lightened beneath a rubber mat, remove the mat and replace it with a non-rubber material.
Tannins from Debris
Some debris can leave behind tannins if left to sit for too long, which can cause discoloration. If you clear the debris from your deck and notice tannin bleeds have caused discoloration, you can use a deck brightener to remove the stains.
These deck brighteners contain oxalic acid, which removes tannins. Just ensure your deck is dry before applying.
Removing Ice and Snow
When removing ice and snow from your Trex decking, be sure to use a plastic shovel. A metal shovel could splinter and damage the softer composite wood.
If you melt the snow using chemicals, be sure to use calcium chloride or rock salt instead of something more corrosive.
Need help with your Trex deck? Contact us!
Whether you need expert advice on how to restore Trex decking or have questions about composite lumber, Decks & Docks has got your back. Our team can help with any questions or concerns you may have relating to your Trex decking—just contact us today to find out more.