Composite Deck Maintenance Guide: 9 Tips Everyone Should Know
A deck is not just an extension of your living space; it’s an integral part of it. It serves as an entryway to your home and is also a perfect space to spend quality time with family and friends. Because of this, your deck should be in excellent condition all year long.
Most homeowners prefer composite decking because of its durability and low maintenance. In fact, according to a study by the Freedonia Group, composite decking is projected to make up 20% of the decking market due to its durability and low maintenance requirements. Another study by Global Market Insights found that the composite decking market will hit the $4.4 billion mark by 2027 as more homeowners seek low-maintenance and long-lasting decking materials.
That said, to keep your composite deck pristine for a long time, maintenance is key. This post will walk you through the tips for maintaining composite decks and why it’s important to maintain your decks regularly.
Tips for Maintaining Composite Decks
Maintaining composite decks entails cleaning them, taking measures to protect and prevent them from damage, and performing repairs and replacements.
1. Remove Debris and Dirt
Whether you use your composite decks as a dining area or relaxation spot, it is bound to get some dirt and debris. Because of this, you’ll want to clean your deck as often as necessary. Ensure you remove all dirt and debris, especially those that can get stuck between the boards.
Remember, when you let dirt and debris accumulate, they can not only stain your deck but can also promote the growth of mold and mildew.
2. Use a Composite Deck Cleaner
When it comes to cleaning your composite deck, we recommend using a composite deck cleaner. This is because composite deck cleaners are made using components that can easily tackle various types of dirt and stain. Alternatively, you can use a combination of hot water, soap, and a soft bristle brush.
When choosing a composite deck cleaner, be sure to check the ingredients. Preferably, you should use oxygen-based cleaners and avoid ones with chlorine bleach. This is because deck cleaners with chlorine bleach can lead to premature chipping, cracking, and splintering, affecting the structural integrity of your deck.
3. Pressure Wash the Deck
A pressure washer can remove all the embedded dirt without a cleaning product. However, the high-pressure water can damage the composite decking if the pressure washer isn’t used properly.
When using a pressure washer to clean your deck, ensure that you use the fan tip to prevent the spray from concentrating in one area. Also, you shouldn’t exceed 1500 PSI, or you could damage the surface of your deck.
Other tips to use when using a pressure washer to clean your deck include:
- Maintain at least six inches between the pressure washer’s wand and the deck.
- Never use solvents or brighteners with a pressure washer
- Don’t clean with the grain of the deck boards
4. Apply a Protective Sealant
Applying a protective sealant on your composite decking helps protect it and makes it easier to maintain. With a protective sealant, you’ll avoid problems such as moisture damage, staining, and mold growth.
Another reason you should apply a protective sealant on your composite decking is to brighten or restore its color. While it often takes a long time for the color of your deck to fade from constant exposure to the Sun’s harmful UV rays, a coating of a protective sealant can make your composite deck look new again. Before using a sealant on your composite deck, check whether your manufacturer advises against it. If they do and you still use a sealant, it could void your deck warranty.
5. Address Mold and Mildew Promptly
Mold and mildew usually occur in areas where dirt and moisture have been allowed to accumulate for long periods. They can weaken the structure of your deck over time, resulting in it having cracks and splinters or even fading.
You can avoid such damage to your deck by promptly addressing mold and mildew before they become problematic. One way you can do this is by not covering your composite deck with rugs since they promote the growth of mold and mildew that could discolor or stain it. Regularly cleaning your deck can also prevent the growth of mold and mildew.
6. Exercise Caution When Using Snow Shovels and Ice Melt
You should exercise caution when using snow shovels to remove ice from your deck, given that some snow shovels are made of metals that can scuff or scratch it.
Also, before putting ice melts on your deck, it’s vital to know how they work. Ice melts release heat and creates a brine for melting snow and preventing ice from forming. Avoid using ice melts made of abrasive materials such as aluminum oxide because they can stain or permanently damage your deck. We recommend using a salt-free, non-corrosive ice melt.
7. Inspect for Damage or Wear and Tear
Most homeowners tend to inspect their decks only when they encounter an issue. Unfortunately, the damage could be impossible to repair or highly expensive. To avoid such a predicament, you should regularly inspect your deck. Check for wear and tear, wobbling boards, decaying subframes, and other signs of damage.
8. Replace Damaged Boards
Damaged boards can put you at risk of an accident or even cause further damage to your composite deck. As such, when you discover damaged or worn-out boards during the inspection, ensure that you replace them promptly.
Replacing damaged boards quickly prevents you from incurring higher costs due to extensive damage on your deck and also ensures your safety and that of your friends and family.
9. Consider Upgrading to High-Performance Composite Materials
While they may be more costly, high-performance composite materials offer a wide range of benefits. Besides a greater aesthetic, they offer the promise of less maintenance and greater durability. So, upgrading to high-performance composite materials is a no-brainer if you want greater value for your money.
There’s no denying that composite decks are more durable and reliable than most traditional decks. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t require maintenance. Ideally, you should perform maintenance on your deck every 3 to 6 months. Ensure you follow the maintenance tips outlined above to keep your composite deck pristine for a long time.
However, for the best results, you should hire a deck maintenance professional. At PDX Prowash, our team of deck cleaning and maintenance professionals can give your deck a specialized touch, making it look new. Contact us to learn more about our services and guidance on deck maintenance.