As the weather starts to shift, it’s important to keep your outdoor living area looking good. All exterior building products will require some maintenance to keep them looking their best for years to come, and composite decking is no different.
Thankfully, composite decking upkeep doesn’t have to be a time-consuming addition to your fall outdoor to-do list. Without the painting, sealing or staining requirements of wood, it’s easy to clean the durable boards before winter weather blows in. So, use these 5 easy steps to keep your deck ready for summer all winter long.
Give your deck a simple sweep
As the trees around your deck shed their leaves, sweep dirt and debris off the top of your deck with a broom, or use a leaf blower. Take a few extra minutes to inspect the spaces between individual boards and clear any trapped leaves and twigs. While high-performance composite decking is made with mold inhibitors that help resist rot, it’s still a good best practice to clear your deck before snow and ice set in.
Say goodbye to summertime stains
Composite decking brands with a smooth, wood-embossed surface like ChoiceDek composite decking make it easy to wipe up spills on the spot. However, since it’s impossible to monitor your deck 24/7, now is a good time to check for any summertime spills or stains that might have been overlooked. Household degreasing agents (such as dishwashing detergent) can help remove oil and grease left over from your last cookout. Deck brighteners with oxalic acid can help eliminate any water spots or rust stains from furniture and can also be used to remove the tannin oils that wash of out of plant matter as it dries. Remember to follow the cleaner label instructions closely.
Clean with soap and water
Once you’ve addressed any stains, clean your composite deck with mild soap, hot water and a soft bristle brush. This semi-annual maintenance helps ensure pollen, dirt and debris are removed, including invisible particles.
Inspect the deck
Once your composite deck is clean, take a walk around the deck and look for any areas requiring additional attention. Brands designed to hold up well no matter what nature throws at them, from harsh sunlight to soaking rains, should be in good condition and are backed by warranties that protect against rot, termites or insect damage. If you do see rotting, cracking or boards at risk for failure, don’t wait until winter weather has come and gone before addressing the issue. Now is also a good time to inspect your deck’s structural supports, beams and joists for damage.
Get prepared for snow and ice
Although inclement weather may still be a few months out, it’s better to be prepared for snowy conditions before they keep you locked inside. Consider purchasing calcium chloride or rock salt to help melt ice off composite decking. A plastic shovel is also good to have on hand for composite decks in areas with frequent snowfall.
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