Most often made from a mixture of recycled wood fibers and plastic, composite decking is a very popular wood alternative material for building a deck. It’s long-lasting, won’t splinter, and requires minimal care and maintenance, which is good for homeowners who don’t want to spend a lot of time on upkeep. What’s more, composite decking comes in a variety of textures and colors that mimic different types of wood stains.
While composite decking does not need much work in the way of maintenance, you should still care for your deck. Doing so will help the material keep its like-new look longer. With that in mind, here are some tips for proper composite decking maintenance:
Avoid standing water
While composite decking is designed to resist water and the rot associated with wood decking, you should still do what you can to minimize standing liquid. Since mold and mildew are common environmental conditions and require moisture, air and warm weather to grow, it’s best to reduce these things to protect your deck. Here’s how:
Ventilate the underside of your deck
When air circulates under your composite decking, the material will dry faster. For this reason, make sure your deck has at least 6 inches of unobstructed airflow beneath it.
“Mold requires moisture, air and warm weather to grow, so reduce those things to protect your deck.”
Redirect dryer vents
Dryers have to ventilate the heat coming off them to the outside of your house. Make sure the vent does not open near your deck, as the heat can raise the temperature of your material and promote organic decay. Not only that, but dryer vents may also spew out moist air.
Watch out for standing water
If, after a rainy day, you notice that water pools in certain areas of the deck, you may need to make adjustments. Rework the deck to promote drainage.
Don’t let rainwater runoff from your roof splash down on your composite decking. Make sure downspouts point elsewhere so the material doesn’t get excess exposure to moisture.
If you use mulch in your backyard, avoid placing it against your deck.
Use woven rugs
Don’t use rugs or welcome mats that have rubber backing – these products can trap moisture. Instead, use mats that have a woven back, as they will breathe better.
Regular cleaning chores
By cleaning your deck on a regular basis, you can get rid of debris that may cause organic decay or staining. While composite decking resists stains, marks can still crop up if you don’t adequately care for the material. Make sure to complete these chores whenever necessary (i.e., when dirt or debris builds up):
Unclog gaps in boards
Leaves, grass, etc., can all get stuck in the gaps between your composite boards. If the debris gets wet, it may promote organic decay on your deck. Whenever you notice buildup, use a spatula or putty knife to get the leaves out. Afterward, you can spray the deck with a garden hose to make sure you rinse off anything you initially missed.
Sweeping your deck is easy to do and prevents debris from getting caught in gaps. Make sure to sweep regularly, especially during autumn when leaves fall en masse.
Clean off dirt and salt
Whether from a flower pot or your shoes, dirt may build up on your deck over time. Also, winter might leave rock-salt, which was used to melt snow and ice, on your deck. To remove these kinds of debris, start by sweeping. If that doesn’t get rid of the dirt, grab a gentle scrub brush (do not use metal), water and mild soap. Scrub the dirt away then rinse the area.
Whenever you spill on your deck, clean it up right away, as this will help prevent stains. However, if you spot grease or grime on the material, wash it using a mild detergent meant to cut through oil.
Click here to take a look at our online selection of low-maintenance composite decking. Find the right fit for your outdoor living space.