Keeping your composite deck looking pristine is easy, whatever the weather (or your guests!) throw at it. From clearing fallen leaves to removing food and drink stains, a little routine maintenance goes a very long way.
Composite decking is a great way to enjoy your garden or outdoor living space, and keeping it looking clean and inviting is straightforward and won’t take up too much time.
Dust and Debris
Keeping your deck free from leaves and debris does more than just keep it looking great – maintaining a clean, dry surface can actually ensure that your deck boards last longer. A combination of pollen left to sit on the deck surface or in the gaps between boards mixes with moisture and can lead to mould and mildew, which causes unsightly black stains.
To clear your deck, sweep with a soft brush in the direction of the decking board, or for larger deck areas a leaf blower may be useful. Once you have cleared the surface of the deck, be sure to clean away any debris that has fallen into the gaps between the boards, which can build up and prevent air movement, causing drainage and mould issues.
Depending on the position of your deck, seasonal sweeping may be required as often as once a week at certain times of the year, or as little as twice a year.
It’s good practice to remove any surface dirt from your decking twice a year, usually in spring and autumn. This is quick and easy to do, requiring just a hose, a soft brush and a bucket of soapy water.
Begin by sweeping the deck to remove loose dust and debris, and follow by hosing down the surface thoroughly. Mix warm water (not too hot) and a mild dish soap in a bucket, and use a soft bristled brush to gently scrub the dirt away. Always scrub in the direction of the deck plank. Once the surface is clean, make sure you get into the corners and gaps between boards to keep mould at bay.
Once the deck has been cleaned with the soapy water solution, hose down the entire deck once more to remove all traces of soap, preventing dirty water marks. On warmer days, work in small sections and rinse before the soap solution has time to dry.
Stains & Spills
It’s inevitable that your deck will have something spilt on it at some point, particularly as most decked areas are used for eating, drinking and often barbecuing. It’s important to remove spills as soon as possible after they happen to prevent staining. Once again, a mix of warm water and dish soap can be used with a soft scrubbing brush – the soap will help to remove any grease. Additionally, composite decking cleaners are available, and are specifically designed to ensure they won’t damage your deck. Always check that cleaning solutions don’t contain bleach, which should never be used on composite deck boards as it is corrosive.
While it doesn’t happen too often in the UK, heavy snow sitting on your deck surface is not ideal. Remove it carefully with a plastic snow shovel rather than a metal one to avoid scratching or damaging the deck boards underneath.
While it can be tempting to speed up the deck cleaning process by using a pressure washer rather than soap and water, this method won’t be any more effective and can actually cause damage if not carried out carefully – flying debris may even be harmful. If you do decide to use your pressure washer, make sure it is under 3000psi, always keep it at least 8in from the deck’s surface and work in the direction of the wood grain.
Just a few hours of cleaning over the course of a year will keep your deck looking as good as new while also maintaining effective drainage, allowing you to enjoy your beautiful outdoor space year after year.