To maintain the beauty of your composite deck, a little care and cleaning goes a long way. All exterior building materials require cleaning and a composite deck is no different. Usually a soap-and-water cleaning or a gentle pressure washing will do the trick, but there are also options to use a composite deck cleaner and facilitate a semi-annual cleaning. Learn how to clean and care for your composite decking by reading the information that applies to your decking product and get ready to enjoy maximum outdoor living with minimal maintenance.
DIRT AND DEBRIS
The affected area should be sprayed off with a hose to remove surface debris. Use warm, soapy water and a soft bristle brush to remove dirt and debris from the embossing pattern.
HARD WATER STAINING
Hard water is water with a high amount of mineral deposits like lime, silica and calcium. When the water dries, deposits are left behind, leaving unsightly spots on surfaces. This is not a defect of composite products but an issue with the water itself. Generally, these deposits can be cleaned with white vinegar on decking surfaces or use of Magic Eraser® on railing surfaces. Rinsing is required so care should be taken to not use hard water for this purpose, and if it must be used, dry with a cloth or use a blower to dry surfaces.
Most colored chalks are permanent and may discolor the surface. Use only Irwin StraitLine®* Dust-Off Marking Chalk (purple), available at Irwin.com
TANNINS DUE TO DEBRIS
Remove all debris from deck using a hose or broom. Once the deck surface is dry, apply a “brightener” ** to the deck as directed by the manufacturer. Deck brighteners contain oxalic acid, which will remove tannins.
ICE AND SNOW
A plastic shovel may be used to remove snow from the deck. Use calcium chloride or rock salt to melt the snow and ice from the deck surface.
All food spills should be removed as soon as possible. If your decking is TREX, The surface must be cleaned within seven days to maintain the stain warranty. To remove, spray off with a hose and use warm, soapy water and a soft bristle brush to remove spills from embossing pattern.
MOLD AND MILDEW
If debris, such as pollen and dirt, is allowed to remain on the deck surface, mold can feed on the biofilm. Using a hose and warm, soapy water with a soft bristle brush is recommended to remove the food source and mold.
USING A PRESSURE WASHER
A pressure washer with no greater than 3100 psi*** that has a fan attachment/adjustment and soap dispenser may be used to remove dirt, concrete dust, or other types of construction dirt. Spray deck with soap, then follow by gently scrubbing each deck board with a soft bristle brush. Spray/rinse each individual deck board using a fan tip no closer than 8″ from the decking surface. RINSE THOROUGHLY. If dirty water from cleaning is left to dry, this will cause a film to remain on the decking surface.
Composite AND STATIC ELECTRICITY
While this is not common, static electricity can occur on walking surfaces in dry climates or in areas where dry winds and dust-borne particles lay on the decking surfaces. Static electricity can build up on occupants walking across any composite decking surface, including Trex, then produce a small static shock if they touch a grounded metal surface such as railing, door, etc.
This condition can be decreased greatly with the use of a product call ACL Staticide®. Two products tested were General Purpose Staticide® and Heavy Duty Staticide®. Both are effective in greatly reducing static electricity on Trex decking surfaces. Apply full strength using a mop on a dry decking surface, and allow to dry; no rinsing or diluting needed. Products are non-toxic, non-flammable, non-staining (will not change the color of decking surface), completely biodegradable and safe to use. Product is water-based and may require a second application after rain or other weather conditions. Over a period of time, the effect of static will dissipate naturally on the decking surface.
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* Strait-Line® is a registered trademark of Irwin Industrial Tool Company.
** Use of products containing bleach or acid will lighten the surface of Trex. Use in an inconspicuous area to determine whether you like the effect. Neither product will affect the structural integrity of Trex.
*** Use of a pressure washer greater than 3100 psi could damage the boards and void the warranty.
**** Mr. Clean® and Magic Eraser® are registered trademarks of The Procter & Gamble Company.
***** Scratch Seal™ Clear Sealer Pen is a registered trademark of Dupli-Color® Products Company.