Is Composite Decking Really Maintenance Free?
Although no composite decking is truly maintenance free, some composite decking products are much easier to take care of than others. Of course, compared with traditional pressure treated (PT) wood decking, composite decking maintenance won’t require anywhere near the same about of time-consuming, back-breaking, tedious scraping, sanding, painting and staining year after year.
Dispelling the Maintenance Free Myth
The reality is that anything that is exposed to the elements of an outdoor environment will need some attention over time – if not to help maintain its underlying structural integrity, then to keep it looking well cared for. Maintaining composite decking isn’t difficult. However, choosing the best composite decking material can make a deck easier to take care of than others. Typically, the better-quality composite decking products will also have a longer lifespan.
A Little Sweeping Goes A Long Way
Composite decks are built tough and remain impervious to moisture problems much better than natural wood, but homeowners should still make a point to routinely sweep off the surface of their decks to remove debris such as leaves, twigs, acorns etc. Routine sweeping with a firm bristled broom is often the most effective way to remove small debris from the deck surface. This also helps keep the spaces between each deck plank open to allow rain water to drain off the deck more easily too.
Warm Water Washing Works Well ... On Occasion
It’s also a good idea to periodically rinse away bird droppings, pollen and dirt, especially if your deck is located in a region where rainfall won’t accomplish the task for you. Good composite hygiene starts with an occasional wash with warm soapy water. Typically, a soft brush (similar to car wash brush) and a bucket of warm water with a small amount of non-abrasive, non-bleaching laundry or dish detergent is all you need. After washing, simply rinse away any remaining soapy water with a hose. This ‘freshening up’ will remove any buildup of dirt and pollen, and keep the deck looking new for many years to come.
How to Avoid Scratching Your Composite Deck
To prevent scratching the deck surface, avoid dragging heavy items across your deck and lift them up instead. For lighter, more mobile items such as tables and chairs, attaching inexpensive nylon or rubber glides to the legs can provide added protection. Thankfully, the time-consuming, often messy use of a power washer is not necessary for composite decking. In fact, power washing can even damage some older style composite materials. Power washers should only be used to very carefully rinse off the deck, using a low power setting and fan tipped nozzle.
Cleaning Composites in Sticky Situations
For stubborn stains that aren’t as easily removed with regular cleaning (such as grease from outdoor cooking, food spills, adhesives or pine tree sap) homeowners can use a multipurpose cleaning wipe to soak the stain and then use a firm-bristled brush to scrub it off if needed. For best results, scrub in the direction of the composite wood grain and never use a cleaner that contains bleach as this could permanently discolor the deck surface.
Why are DuraLife Composite Decks So Easy to Clean?
DuraLife® composite decking's unique combination of polypropylene plastic and hardwood fibers outperforms other polyethylene composite and PVC decking products in both strength and durability. It’s also easier to care for. Here’s a few reasons why:
- All DuraLife composite decking products are manufactured with a super-strong, co-extruded polypropylene outer shell that forms a “force field” around the entire surface of the board. This makes DuraLife exceptionally resistant to staining and fading.
- DuraLife’s ColorLock™ Multi-Layered Finishing System helps protect against discoloration that may occur more easily in other, less durable composite decking products. DuraLife’s ColorLock technology ensures that the color of the composite material is uniform from top to bottom.
- Made with a proprietary mixture of polypropylene plastic and hardwood fibers, DuraLife composite decking is inherently more resistant to damage from moisture buildup, mold and mildew growth. DuraLife decking is also much less susceptible to movement caused by humidity and temperature fluctuation. This ensures that proper spacing between the deck boards is maintained, allowing good water drainage across the surface of the deck throughout the year.
- DuraLife composite decking can be installed using a variety of hidden fastening systems, minimizing surface penetration and with it the opportunity for damage. DuraLife’s innovative Step-Clip System and the Fastenator are ideal for installing interior deck boards, while the Cortex Plugs are great for hiding screws on steps, picture-framed edges and benches.
- All DuraLife composite decking products feature a 25-Year Warranty – including 5 years of replacement labor. Should a piece of DuraLife decking become damaged to the point of being unrepairable, it can be easily replaced with a new board.
The Green Factor – No Need for Chemical Cleaners
Finally, an important element of comparing composite decking maintenance with maintaining a pressure treated (PT) lumber deck is the need for harsh chemical cleaners. Unlike pressure treated lumber, composite decking is made from inert materials that repel most substances and inhibit the organic growth of mold and mildew. Pressure treated decks, on the other hand, require strong chemical cleaners to protect them from similar threats. Inevitably, all of these chemicals will wash off down into the environment where you live.
DuraLife Decking is manufactured by using a combination of post-industrial and post-consumer recycled content with a maximum recycled content of up to 90% by weight. It contains no toxic chemicals or preservatives. If you want to reduce the amount maintenance and chemical cleaners that you and your family are exposed to, composite decking is a great long-term solution.
Order your FREE Samples of DuraLife Composite Decking now and have them shipped directly to your door!
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 Visualizer, or contact DuraLife now to learn more.