Composite decking typically requires less regular cleaning than natural wood. For some people, the fact that composite decking requires little maintenance is a deal maker. For others, composite decking creates an expectation of carefree enjoyment.
To keep your composite decking looking beautiful for as long as possible, thorough maintenance is key. Keep reading to discover all of our best tips for keeping your deck maintained.
Whether you’re curious how to prevent mould from growing on your deck or want to keep your deck sparkling clean throughout summer bbq season, we’ve included all the tips you need to know.
Prevent stains and water damage before they happen
If you already own a composite deck, it’s easy to get complacent with its routine care because of how low-maintenance composite decking boards are. Homeowners don’t always realise that there is still a level of regular care and cleaning that composite decks require to maintain durability.
The good news is that composite boards, unlike wood and timber decking, are very easy to take care of on a regular basis.
How to keep your composite decking boards safe from stains
- Sweep the deck often and whenever you can see that it needs it by the build-up of dirt and debris.
- Whenever you do sweep the deck, remember to sweep and clean underneath pots or furniture that can collect dirt or moisture underneath them.
- Clean up spills straight away, especially if it is from food, oils and wine that can cause staining when left for long periods.
- Use mats, stands or holders for plants and around BBQs.
- Add rugs around furniture to prevent spills, splashes, and moisture from reaching your composite decking.
Clean your composite deck on a regular basis
Regular sweeping and dusting will need to be combined with a gentle soapy clean from time to time. This could be needed when cleaning up after a party or when food has been spilled on the deck, after a storm or wet season where wet leaves and moisture have sat under your furniture for some time, or just from everyday dirt build-up.
Just like how the regular vacuuming of indoor floors doesn’t stop the need for mopping, your composite deck will need a wash every now and then. Australian composite decking can be cleaned with warm soapy water and a soft brush. This brush could be a broom or dustpan brush – so long as it is soft and used in the direction of the ‘wood grain’.
Pro tip: Harder materials like harsh bristles or metal wires that is used against the ‘grain’ of the boards can scratch and damage the deck’s surface.
Always avoid using coarse brushes, wire brushes or anything metal that might scratch or damage the decking. If you are trying to remove ice and snow from your composite deck, try using a plastic snow shovel and make sure you are following the ‘grain’ of the deck.
Use the right stain removal for your composite boards
Composite decking is not totally stain resistant. The ideal answer to stains is to avoid them by cleaning up spills and mess straight away, but stains do still happen sometimes.
Oil-based stains can come from things like BBQ splatter or sunscreen. A household degreaser can work well for these stains.
For more stubborn stains, you can try a harder brush than you would generally use for cleaning, brushing lightly with the grain but avoiding scratching at and compromising the surface.
Pro tip: If the stain still won’t budge, we recommend talking to a professional or someone from your local hardware shop about what solutions you could try. Make sure you let them know that it is for composite decking and ask about what risks might be involved with the chemicals they recommend for both the look and durability of your deck.
For more information, see our guide to composite deck cleaning and care.
Stop mould before it has time to grow
Like stains, mould and mildew should ideally be avoided with regular care and cleaning.
Mould and mildew will usually only occur where moisture and dirt have been allowed to sit for long periods of time. This makes moisture management important and things like drainage should be considered when planning your deck.
Avoid using rugs, mats or furniture that will block the gaps or holes between boards and prevent proper drainage.
Pro tip: If you have a particularly stubborn area of mould, try a very diluted bleach cleaning solution to target the affected boards. Be very careful to wash it off completely after application and avoid getting it on surrounding decking boards.
However, even new composite decks can suffer from mould if your composite deck is located in Sydney or Brisbane, or other areas with tropical humidity and storms. If you’re worried about damaging your composite boards with bleach, contact our professional decking experts for more info.
Skip the pressure washer
When stains seem stubborn or the build-up of dirt or grime is extensive, it can be tempting to try and find quicker cleaning methods.
Always avoid pressure washing composite decking. Pressure washers can damage and remove the finish of even the best weatherproof composite decking boards, reducing its durability and lifespan.
Resist the temptation to paint, stain, or bleach composite decks
Don’t use any paint or staining products on your composite decking. It will void your warranty and rarely ends up giving you the result you’re looking for.
Never use concentrated chlorine bleach, even if it’s in a ‘deck cleaner’ solution. Bleach is corrosive and will ‘eat’ at the surface of whatever it’s applied to, wearing down the integrity of the surface of the composite decking. Over time this can cause discolouration and exacerbate any stubborn mould or mildew issues you have.
Pro tip: Sodium Hypochlorite is a bleach product, so check the ingredients of any deck cleaners carefully knowing that they may call it that instead of ‘bleach’.
Compared to wooden decking materials, composite decking is by far the simplest and easiest form of decking material to clean and take care of.
It doesn’t require annual sanding, stripping, painting, oiling or any kind of time-consuming work to maintain. It only needs a regular basic clean and a standard level of care that involves cleaning up mess when it happens and avoiding moisture build-up to ensure it has a long, durable lifespan.
The best part about it? You can build your dream composite deck in Australia, no matter where you live. Call Brite Decking today to get your free sample and quote.