Composite decking is a very durable and low-maintenance decking option for families who may not have time for upkeep. Also known as eco decking, it doesn’t splinter, warp or fade like wood. However, while it is low-maintenance, it doesn’t mean that it’s a leave-and-go thing. You still need to maintain one way or another.
In this piece, we’re going to give you some tips on proper composite decking maintenance to keep your decking durable and make it last even longer. Let’s start!
How to protect and maintain your deck
The following tips and suggestions are ways to increase the longevity of your deck and avoid issues.
1. Avoid puddles on your deck
In many areas of the house, the archenemy is water. Your decking is not an exception, even though it is designed to withstand water and rot. You still need to take care of standing water as much as possible.
Mildew and mould are common environmental conditions that thrive in warm and moist environments. To minimise their growth, wipe off any puddles that collect on your composite decking every now and then, especially after rain.
2. Reduce Mulch
If you’re planning to use organic mulch in your garden, do not place it near or against the eco decking.
Certain types of mulch, especially those that are darker in colour or contain dyes, may transfer colour onto the composite decking surface when wet. This can lead to staining or discolouration.
Also, mulch retains moisture. And if it accumulates against the composite decking, it can create a damp environment. Prolonged moisture exposure can increase the risk of mould or mildew growth on the decking surface.
If you have to put mulch around or under the deck, opt for gravel or inorganic mulch.
3. Avoid Rubber Mats
Welcome mats and rugs with rubber backing are a reservoir for moisture. These easily trap moisture which can cause faster decay of the decking. Opt for mats with a woven back instead. These offer more breathability.
Routine Composite Decking Maintenance Tips
The tips mentioned above will help with the upkeep of your new composite decking. You still need to take steps to make your deck sparkle for a long time. This requires routine maintenance. Debris and dirt can still build up with regular care. Sometimes this causes marks and stains to develop. Here are some upkeep suggestions to make your decking stand the test of time.
1. Unclog Gaps in the Boards
Grass, leaves, stones, etc. can easily get stuck between the gaps in your composite decking. If it rains, the debris will trap moisture and promote faster organic decay of the deck. To prevent this from happening, use a putty knife or spatula to dig out anything trapped in the gaps. You may also use an air blower to remove additional debris.
2. Remove Dirt and Debris often
Mud trekked in from your shoes will accumulate on your deck with time. Water overflowing from your flower pots can also leave a trail of dirt on your deck. To prevent moisture or debris build-up, sweep regularly. If this doesn’t remove all the dirt, then use a gentle brush with mild soap and water mixture.
To prevent dirt build-up. make it a point to sweep once every couple of days or at least once a week. This prevents dirt and debris from getting trapped between the gaps.
3. Wipe off Grease
If you plan to eat or drink on your deck, you can expect spillages. In case you spill your coffee or wine, clean it up immediately. This is the first step in preventing permanent stains. Use a mild soap to break down grease. Wipe it away with a dry and clean cloth.
With these simple tips and suggestions, you will enjoy your composite decking for years to come.
4. Avoid Harsh Cleaning Methods
When cleaning your composite decking, avoid using abrasive cleaners, bleach, or pressure washers on your composite decking, as they can damage the surface. Stick to gentle cleaning methods with mild detergents and soft brushes or sponges. Want to learn more about the best cleaning method for your composite decking, read our cleaning guide here.
5. Minimise Scratches
While composite decking is generally scratch-resistant, it’s best to avoid dragging heavy furniture or sharp objects across the deck’s surface. Consider using furniture pads or protective mats to prevent scratching on the decking boards.
Installation Tips to Prevent Damage to Composite Decking
Preventing damage to your composite decking starts even before installing it in your outdoor space. Prevention is always better than cure, as they say. Here are some of the preventive measures that you can do to make sure that your decking will not be damaged and will make the maintenance of your composite decking even easier.
Ventilate the Underside
Allow air to circulate under the decking. It enables the material to dry faster. To ensure there is sufficient circulation, keep at least 150mm under the decking if the ground is dirt and there should be a 3-5mm gap between each board.
Adequate clearance can also allow proper drainage under the deck. It helps water to flow away from the structure, reducing the risk of water pooling or damage to the decking materials.
Before installing your composite decking, pay attention to the direction of your downspouts as it could also make or break the lifespan of your decking.
Keep the downspouts pointed in another direction to prevent the rainwater runoff from the roof splash from accumulating on your decking. This way, your composite decking isn’t exposed to excess moisture that could cause mould build-up and deterioration.
Relay Dryer Vents
Dryers need to ventilate heat coming from them towards the outside of the house. And much like the downspouts, you must make sure that the vent doesn’t open near the composite deck.
The heat coming out from the vent will raise the material’s temperature, leading to organic decay. Dryer vents also blow out moist air which is equally detrimental for composite decking.
Composite deck maintenance can be easy
These are only some of our most recommended tips to make your composite decking last longer. Keep in mind, however, that composite eco decking brands are not made equal. Remember to read and follow the manufacturer’s specific maintenance instructions for your composite decking product, as they may have specific recommendations or restrictions.
By following these maintenance tips, you can keep your composite decking looking great and extend its lifespan.