You have a great deck made of composite material, and now you can just enjoy it. You thought there’d be no more pressure-washing and resealing. Not so. Composite decks require some level of regular maintenance as well, and how you maintain them is important.
Some of the older composite materials develop black spotting, usually attributed to mold or mildew growth. These materials were a mixture of plastics and cellulose. The cellulose, where exposed at the surface, can absorb moisture and in the right shady conditions will turn to mold or mildew.
The good point of composite decking is it will not rot or deteriorate structurally if you do nothing over the years. So, what should you plan to keep your deck in good condition? At a minimum, you should plan on a good spring cleaning, washing it down with warm, soapy water using a soft bristle brush to clean any debris from the embossed pattern.
Use of a pressure washer should be done with caution. Using a greater than 1500 psi pressure washer closer than 12 inches to the deck surface could damage the material and void the warranty. If you are fortunate to not have any stains from food, grease, rusting furniture or leaves, you are finished. Just plan on doing this twice per year in most environments.
Realize, though, that your composite deck will fade with time and gray a bit. It will not always look like the day it was installed. The other thing to be aware of is the use of rubber mats. The materials may react with each other and stain the deck, as will vinyl or plastic flower pots. Removal of different types of stains can be tricky, and you should strictly adhere to your manufacturer’s cleaning directions to maintain your warranty.
Yes, food, grease, wine and Kool-Aid will leave stains on composite decking, especially if not cleaned up immediately. Many of the cleaning agents recommended may also lighten the coloring of your deck, so always do a test in a less noticeable area before applying it to your entire deck.
Composite material decks and wooden decks each have benefits and drawbacks. Real wood requires more regular maintenance, but the natural beauty of the wood comes back to life each time it is cleaned and sealed. It just takes more effort and thus more cost. Composite material decks tend to cost more to install, but cost less to maintain. But, they are not maintenance-free. Just like everything else in life, there are trade-offs. You will need to decide which best meets your lifestyle needs.
Either way, it is time to get your deck ready for the outdoor season. It is still a little early for cleaning and sealing real wood, but you should get it scheduled so you are early on the contractor’s calendar when the weather and temperature are right. Let us know at HomeServicesLink if you need someone to maintain your deck or if you have questions about the different materials.
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