Top 10 Composite Decking Care Tips
Composite decking is one of the most popular decking materials due to its durability, attractiveness, and relative inexpensiveness. Unlike traditional wooden decking, composite decking does not need to sanded, stained, or painted. All exterior building materials do require periodic cleaning and composite decking is no different. However, comprehensively caring for your deck throughout the year is much more than just cleaning it with a power washer and cleaning solution (although you should do that yearly!); it’s a bunch of small, practical steps that add up over time.
Let’s look at the top 10 tips for caring for your composite deck!
1) Clean Up Any Spills Immediately
All oil, grease, or food spills should be removed as soon as possible. Spray off the affected area with a hose and use warm, soapy water and soft bristle brush to remove spills from the wood grain pattern on the deck board.
If you see any signs of mold on the top or bottom side of your deck, take care of it right away. Prolonged exposure can cause rot quicker than you might think. Use a manufacturer-approved outdoor cleaner to remove the mold and hopefully eliminate any spores that might be floating around.
Start by spraying the deck with a cleaning solution specifically rated for composite decking. NEVER use acetone or other solvents. Follow that by gently scrubbing each deck board with a soft bristle brush.
A power washer is the easiest way to rinse off the dirt and dust that cleaning loosened from your composite decking surface. Make sure that you check with the manufacturer to get their recommended settings, or you might damage your deck. Generally, you should never use PSI greater than 3100.
Spray rinse each individual deck board using a fan tip no closer than 8″ from the decking surface. Be sure to rinse thoroughly. If water with cleaning solution and grime residue is left to dry, it will cause a film to remain on the decking surface.
4) Be Careful With Snow Removal
You’re not going to want to use a sharp edged or metal shovel to remove snow from your deck in the winters. Instead, use something that has a rubber or nylon leading edge. Always shovel parallel to your decking boards, and never perpendicular to avoid snagging an edge.
Use calcium chloride or rock salt to melt the snow and ice from your composite deck surface.
5) Protect Your Deck From Your Grill
If you grill on your deck, you’re going to want to add a splash mat underneath the grill to catch any and all splatter and drippings. Hot grease and oil can damage your deck board and sealer that might be on it, so get a nice big splash mat to roll that grill on to.
Leaves, grass, etc., can all get stuck in the gaps between your composite boards. If the debris gets wet, it may promote organic decay on your deck. Whenever you notice buildup, use a spatula or putty knife to get the leaves out.
Afterward, you can spray the deck with a garden hose to make sure you rinse off anything you initially missed.
This one is easy. Just keep a broom handy and sweep it once a week or so. Really, this is super simple and will go a long way towards protecting your deck. By removing debris regularly, you are lowering the amount of pebbles, dirt, and organic matter that can be ground into the grain of your composite decking, which can damage and stains it.
8) Get Furniture That Won’t Scrape When Moved
Whenever possible, get furniture with legs that won’t scrape up your wood. Rubber or plastic legs and feet are best, and try to avoid metal legs that don’t wrap around (or else the edges might catch in the gaps between boards and scrape the wood.
9) Keep the Bushes Back
Make sure nearby bushes and trees are trimmed back about a foot away from the deck. By leaving this space, you make it a little bit harder for mold and moss to grow.
Don’t use rugs or welcome mats that have rubber backing – these products can trap moisture. Instead, use mats that have a woven back, as they will breathe better.
A clean deck is a happy deck, so make sure that deck gets some regular TLC! If you follow the steps outlined above regularly then you’ll have a durable, great looking deck for years to come. If you have any questions, or need decking advice, head on over to our website at koopmanlumber.com/decking and let us know! Thanks for reading!