How to Clean Composite Decking
All exterior surfaces collect dirt, dust and contaminants and require cleaning. It is necessary to clean them periodically to keep them looking good. Green Plank® composite decking, cladding and fencing products are low-maintenance products, not no-maintenance products. In fact, there are some mistakes that can actually increase the regular care required to maintain a composite deck. Here are a few tips to avoid the extra work and get the most out of your deck.
USING THE WRONG CLEANER
Choosing the right cleaner is important. When purchasing a cleaner, always check the label and NEVER use a Chlorine Bleach based “cleaner”. If the active ingredients read – Sodium Hypochlorite, it contains Bleach. Chlorine Bleach is extremely corrosive and will “eat” any material it’s applied to. Eventually, it will discolor your deck, damage the surface (not to mention your plants) and exacerbate any mold/mildew issues that can occur. Avoid this costly mistake and choose a non-toxic, sodium percarbonate based cleaner.
PRESSURE WASHING YOUR COMPOSITE DECKING, FENCING OR FACADE CLADDING
Pressure washing is not usually recommended for composite decking, cladding or fencing products. Pressure washing also risks to spray particles of soap on other surfaces. If done incorrectly, it can be a big mistake. Pressure washing too close or using too much pressure can be ruinous for your composite product. Once the material has been “opened up”, this can lead to a host of other issues including chipping, sun damage, and mold staining of the plastics inside the opening. Once mold has stained these plastics, it can be extremely hard to remove. In most cases, a garden hose should be sufficient for regular duty cleaning. If you must pressure wash, just remember to use a household pressure washer with spray nozzle, keep it at the lowest pressure possible and no closer than 25 cm from the surface.
FORGETTING THE GAPS
Don’t forget the gaps during their regular cleaning – the gaps! Dirt and debris can build up over time collecting moisture providing the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew. Depending on your climate, the gaps between your composite boards should be cleared out at least once a year. This will allow the air to pass between the boards helping to keep the underside nice and dry.
LOW-MAINTENANCE, NOT NO-MAINTENANCE
Periodic cleaning of Green Plank® composite products are suggested, even if they appear clean, it is important to prevent the build-up of pollen/debris that can cause mold. We recommend a basic cleaning with a composite deck cleaner or combination of soap (dishwashing detergent), hot water and a soft bristle brush. After cleaning rinse thoroughly. If unsure about the product being used to clean/ remove stains from your deck, it is recommended that you test a small area in an inconspicuous place to determine if the product will cause any unwanted discoloration. Hose off the entire deck with a garden hose and not with a pressure washer. The pressure washer will spray particles of soap on other surfaces, possibly causing staining. Using a garden hose is a better practice to gently rinse off homemade cleaner and get rid of all water spots.