Having a new deck installed is an exciting time, especially once it’s completed and your friends and family can start enjoying your improved outdoor area. If you want to protect your investment for the long term, it’s important to follow a few steps to care for your deck. From choosing the right composite deck cleaner to handling snow and ice, here’s what you need to know to enjoy a long-lasting deck.
Know Your Decking
Composite decks require only a small amount of maintenance to stay in top shape. The first step for caring for your new composite deck is to know which decking material was used in its construction, as this will determine which products you’ll need for regular maintenance.
The care and cleaning recommendations here will apply to Trex decking products. However, it’s important to always check with the recommendations from the manufacturer of your decking before using or applying any products to your composite deck.
Whether it’s composite, a natural wood deck, or other material, every deck should be thoroughly cleaned both in the spring and before the cooler months set in. Dirt and debris should be swept, and the surface should be hosed down.
Early-generation composite products from Trex, including Trex Accents, Trex Origins, or Trex Contours, a sodium percarbonate-based composite deck cleaning agent is recommended for semi-annual washing. Newer, high-performance products such as Trex Transcend and Trex Enhance can be cleaned with regular soap and water and a soft-bristled brush.
Pressure washing can also be an effective way to clean your deck. When using a pressure washer, maintain a maximum of 3100 psi and use only the fan attachment. When using soaps and cleaning solutions, it’s important to rinse the entire surface with clear water thoroughly. Otherwise, a film may remain on the decking surface.
What to Do About Stains
No matter how hard we try, the occasional stain on your new decking is inevitable. Whether it’s from kids, guests, or spillover from cooking, here’s what you need to know about these types of stains:
- Chalk. Colored chalk, whether the construction aid or the children’s type, can permanently stain your composite deck. Trex recommends avoiding chalk on your decking completely and using a specialized marking chalk for building purposes when necessary.
- Hard Water. Mineral deposits from lime and calcium can leave unsightly spots on your surfaces. For most decking, vinegar can be used to wash away these spots. Rinsing with hard water can leave more spots, so be sure to dry the surface to avoid this.
- Tannins. Natural debris such as leaves and soil can cause tannins to stain your decking. First, sweep or hose away all debris and allow the composite surface to dry. Then, apply a deck brightener according to the manufacturer’s directions to remove stains from tannins.
- Oil & Grease. To avoid stains, food spills should be removed as quickly as possible, and greasy or oily stains should be washed with warm, soapy water and a soft-bristled brush. Keep in mind that Trex requires these surface stains to be cleaned within seven days to maintain the stain-free warranty.
- Mold & Mildew. Dirt and pollen buildup make a delicious meal for mold and mildew spores. It’s important to rinse the surface of your deck from this type of buildup regularly. If a simple garden hose doesn’t remove it completely, soapy warm water and a soft-bristled brush should get the job done.
Acetone, chlorine bleach, and other chemicals and solvents should never be used to clean any composite decking, railing, or other surfaces. If necessary, melamine sponges can be used to remove minor scuffs, and commercial scratch sealers can be used for small scratches.
For any type of decking, it’s important to give your deck a thorough cleaning before the cold weather sets in to remove fallen leaves and other debris. It’s usually a good idea to either store or cover furniture and decor, especially anything that isn’t suited for freezing temperatures.
It’s not necessary to remove snow and ice from your deck unless you need the path to be cleared for safety reasons. If you do need to do removal, be sure to use a plastic shovel to avoid scratching the surface and only calcium chloride or rock salt for ice removal.
We want all of our customers to get the most from their new deck. One of the most significant benefits of new composite decking products is that they require so little care and maintenance. When you follow these simple steps, you’ll enjoy a long-lasting deck for years to come. To learn more about composite decking for your home, contact Mitchell Construction today.