How to Prep Your Composite Deck for a Good Spring Cleaning
As the snow continues to recede and a season’s worth of ice and sleet fade away to reveal a menagerie of leaves, twigs and other debris that Mother Nature has been silently depositing on your composite deck all winter, there are a few important steps that can help you save time and keep your outdoor living area in prime condition.
Here are some simple tips you can use to help wash away those winter blues from your composite deck and get it ready for another season of summer fun.
1. Remove the last remnants of snow and ice. Sometime, shady areas of an outdoor deck can hold onto snow cover for days, leaving a concentrated source of moisture perpetually melting and refreezing overnight. To avoid any potential damage caused by standing water, using only a plastic tip shovel, homeowners should carefully move the snowpack either out of the shade to a sunnier part of the deck, or completely off the deck. Composite deck owners should always remember to shovel snow and ice in the same direction as the grain imprinted on the decking. Pulling or pushing anything across the grain can potentially damage the edges of the decking on either side of the space between each plank.
2. Clear off and sweep deck to remove debris. Composite decking, especially high-quality products such as DuraLife Siesta and MVP composite decking, that are made with polypropylene plastic and hardwood fibers are inherently more resistant to staining, fading, mold and mildew that can be caused by debris remaining on the surface of the deck for too long. However, it’s still a good idea to keep your deck free of leaves, twigs, pine cones and other yard debris. This can help prevent people from slipping or tripping on anything accidentally while they are trying to relax and enjoy themselves. Routine sweeping with a firm bristled broom will help remove debris from the deck surface and from the spaces between each deck plank, allowing rain water to drain off the deck more easily, too. (Allowing your outdoor party to recover more quickly from an unexpected rain delay.)
3. Wash away dirt and pollen with warm, soapy water – Since DuraLife’s decking is made with capped composite materials, it is difficult for naturally occurring substances such as dust, dirt and pollen to attach themselves to the decking in the same way that it can stick to traditional lumber products. Without this type of adhesion, dirt and pollen can easily be removed with very little effort from the homeowner. A soft brush (similar to the type you might use to wash a car) and a bucket of warm water that contains a small amount of non-abrasive, non-bleaching laundry detergent will provide all the cleaning power needed to lift and remove most outdoor contaminants. After washing, simply rinse off any remaining soapy water with a hose. High power washing of a DuraLife deck is typically unnecessary, and should only be used for wetting or rinsing of the decking using a low power setting and a fan tip nozzle. Power washing a composite deck should be done very carefully and gradually to avoid potentially damaging the finish of the sealed outer surface of the decking.
4. For stubborn, sticky stains, use alcohol wipes. For stubborn stains that are not as easily removed with regular cleaning (such as grease from outdoor cooking, food spills, adhesives and tree sap) homeowners can use a small amount of isopropyl alcohol on a rag (or use a multipurpose wipe that contains the ingredient) to soak the stain and a firm-bristled brush to scrub it off. Again, remember to always scrub in the direction of the grain and never use a cleaner that contains bleach as this could cause permanent discoloration.
5. Scratches? Let them heal themselves. - The appearance of most minor surface scratches or scuffs should diminish after a few months of exposure to the weather and elements. DuraLife’s ColorLock™ Multi-Layered Finishing System helps protect against discoloration that may occur more easily in other, less durable composite decking products. To prevent scratches from occurring it’s always a good to remember not to not drag heavy items across your decking and to also protect deck furniture with nylon or rubber glides.
6. For larger, deeper scratches or scuffs, use a heat gun – available for sale or rent from most building supply or hardware stores, a heat gun can be used to carefully blend the blemished portion of the polypropylene cap material into the adjacent surface area. The heat gun should never be less than 2” away from the deck surface and kept in continuous motion to avoid causing permanent damage or discoloration to the composite material. Always test the heat gun on a scrap piece of decking or in a discreet area of the deck first, before using it on more prominent areas.
Lastly, should a piece of composite decking become damaged to the point of being unrepairable, it can be easily replaced with a new board. All DuraLife composite decking products feature a 25-year limited product performance warranty. Plus, if the damaged piece of DuraLife composite decking has been installed using the new, patent-pending Step-Clip™ hidden fastening system, it can be easily removed and replaced by simply sliding the damaged product out and snapping a new one in its place.
This article is made possible by DuraLife.DuraLife’s unique polypropylene and hardwood composite decking materials simply outperform all other wood and composite decking products.More solid and safe under foot, DuraLife decking is backed by a 25-year warranty. It is stain and fade resistant, mold and mildew resistant, and is available in the colors and deck railing options you want. Get Free Samples, try our Composite Deck & Railing Visualizer, or contact DuraLife now to learn more.