Our Expert Advice on How to Clean a Composite Deck
Composite decking is popular, in part, because it can last a long time with proper maintenance. Are you wondering how to clean a composite deck? Don’t worry; it is actually pretty easy! Here’s what you need to know about this type of decking material.
What is Composite Decking?
When you’re building a new deck, you have several material options. While the majority of decks use boards made from pressure-treated pine, this is just one of the available materials. Composite decking is also a popular option for homeowners who want the look of wood with some added benefits.
Composite decking combines wood and plastic particles with a binding agent. Although it can be slightly pricier than pine, it has several benefits:
- In general, composite lasts longer with proper maintenance.
- You don’t need to stain or paint composite. It comes in a variety of colors and typically holds its color well.
- Along with being fade-resistant, composite decking is less likely to stain and scratch. It is also easy to clean a deck if it’s composite.
- Many composites are made with recycled plastics and by-products from the lumber industry, so it could be a more environmentally-friendly option.
- Composites can look like a wide range of different types of wood. This allows you to select a look that might otherwise be out of budget or not currently available because of supply-chain issues.
Of course, even though composite decks typically lasts longer, no deck will last forever. You can extend the life of your deck by ensuring that you properly maintain it and take care of any issues as quickly as possible.
How to Clean a Composite Deck
When it comes to maintaining a composite deck, we recommend taking a three-fold approach:
- Daily/weekly sweeping to remove debris
- Soap and water washing as needed
- Seasonal maintenance
First, you’ll want to inspect your deck for debris whenever you enjoy your outdoor space. Gently sweep away dirt, leaves, grass, etc. using a soft-bristle broom. If you’re not using your deck regularly at the moment, we recommend checking your deck at least once a week to remove any debris. If you don’t, this can cause staining, mold, and mildew.
As needed, you can also use a mild soap and warm water to wash your deck. Regular Dawn dish soap works well, or you can use a mild soap meant for composite decks. Make sure you remove debris first, along with any furniture or other items on your deck. Washing with soap and water should remove any dirt or stains. If you have a stubborn stain, check with manufacturer recommendations for stronger cleaners that won’t harm your deck.
Lastly, you should provide seasonal maintenance to your deck to keep it looking great. If you need to remove snow, use a plastic- or rubber-edged shovel. Avoid rock salt (sodium chloride) or sand, since this can cause damage, and instead choose a calcium chloride ice melt if you need it. Once or twice a year, you can also power washer your deck to get dirt out of the grooves. Use a fan tip, and do not exceed 1500 PSI. Make sure you keep the power washer around 8 inches away from the deck to prevent damage. If you’re unsure, the manufacturer will have recommendations about how to clean a composite deck using a power washer.
Other Decking Materials
Composite decking is a great alternative to pressure-treated pine if you want a different look for your custom deck. However, you can also consider other decking materials such as exotic hardwoods and cedar. Frankly, supply chain issues still plague the building industry and composite deck isn’t always available and pricing can fluctuate drastically.
Some people also don’t like the look of composite decking, since it doesn’t give you the same look and feel as natural wood. Exotic hardwoods and cedar decking can also have other benefits, such as being resistant to pests and mold. Every material has its own pros and cons.
Here at Structurally Speaking, we’re happy to go over all currently available options, along with current pricing. If you are extremely interested in composite wood, let us know so we can talk to you about what’s available.
Rejuvenate Your Backyard with Custom Features
Cleaning your deck can really help your backyard look fresh, but if you don’t love your current deck all the cleaning in the world won’t help. Instead, consider giving us a call! Here at Structurally Speaking, we specialize in custom decks that make sense for how your family wants to use the space. Your deck should flow with your home to create a seamless outdoor living space that you love using.
Here are just a few of the features we can include to customize your deck:
- Multiple levels or even two stories to create different zones for different uses
- Built-in areas for grilling, including full outdoor kitchens
- Seating areas custom-built for your furniture or including built-in benches or other seating
- Outdoor lighting that highlights beautiful features of your deck or home, as well as providing safety
- Sunken areas that are perfect as cozy fire pits
- Walkways or stairs leading to other parts of your yard
If you can dream it, we can build it! We love to turn our clients’ dreams into reality. If you’re not sure what you want, don’t worry. We have experience walking you through the process so you love the final result.
FAQs About Building a Deck
We’d love to answer any questions you may have about building a deck or how to clean a composite deck. Here are a few FAQs to help you get started:
Is composite decking the right choice for me?
While many homeowners love composite decks, this may not be the best material for you. We’ll go over all your options to find the style and functionality that will work best for your new deck.
How can I make my deck look new again?
Proper maintenance is key, but sometimes there are stubborn stains or damage. Always take care of issues as soon as possible so they don’t get worse. Composite decking doesn’t need paint or stain, but if you have a wood deck, sanding and repainting or staining can help it look fresh and new.
Should I build a new deck?
Decks can last anywhere from 10 to 25 years or more if properly maintained. However, at some point it will be time to build a new deck. A new deck can add value to your home and give your family a beautiful place to relax. We can come out for a free initial meeting to see the damage to your old deck and make recommendations about rejuvenating your backyard with a brand new outdoor living space. If you live in Raleigh or the Triangle area, click here to contact us today.