How to Clean Composite Decking

About the Author

About the Author

Mike Mitchell

Mike Mitchell is an award-winning deck builder and designer who specializes in urban decking, transforming cityscapes with his creative constructions. He is a second-generation deck builder.

Table of Contents

One of the most significant benefits of composite decking is its resistance to mold and mildew. These two pests will not “eat” or otherwise damage composite decking. Still, it’s possible for these slippery substances to accumulate on the surface of your deck. If you’re wondering how to clean composite decking, we’ve got the answers you’re looking for.

Long-Lasting Composite Decking

Your outdoor living area is an extension of your home. It serves as a place to entertain guests, relax with your family, or spend a few moments to yourself enjoying the outdoors. For these reasons, it’s important to care for your deck to make sure you achieve the longest possible life from your investment.

The average lifespan for composite decking is between 25 and 30 years. Plus, among products currently available, it needs the least maintenance to achieve a long life. In fact, with proper care, some composite decks have lasted 40 or even 50 years! Compared to the 10 to 15-year lifespan of a wood deck, it’s easy to see why it’s worth maintaining your composite deck.

How Composite Decking Holds Up

One problem homeowners have with wooden decking is the eventual splintering. Composite decking is engineered to resist splintering entirely. That means there’s no sanding and refinishing required and no painful slivers in anyone’s feet!

Discoloration is also a problem with wooden decking as the sun and harsh winter conditions wear away at the surface of the wood. On the other hand, composite decking is manufactured to retain its color and appearance for its entire lifespan. In fact, Trex offers a 25-year warranty for fade and stain resistance!

The biggest cause of demise for a wooden deck is mold and rotting. When mold starts to grow on the wood, it’s only a matter of time before the deck is consumed. Composite decking, however, is completely impervious to mold and will never deteriorate for this reason.

Mold and mildew can, however, accumulate on the surface of composite decking boards. The good news is that it’s easy to remove mold and make your deck look like new again.

How to Clean Mold Mildew from Composite Decking

While mold and mildew will not harm your composite decking, they can be unsightly and may be slippery in wet conditions. Trex recommends periodically cleaning your composite decking to keep it looking great for years to come.

First, you’ll want to start with a deck cleaning solution. Trex recommends using warm, soapy water when cleaning mildew and mold from your composite deck. If a commercial solution is desired, Trex recommends either Olympic Deck Wash or Expert Chemical Composite Deck Cleaner & Enhancer. Chlorine bleach may cause the color to fade on your decking, so we prefer to stick with the products Trex recommends.

To wash the deck:

  1. Clear the surface of furniture and sweep away any dirt and debris.
  2. For the soap and water approach, hose off the deck and then use a soft-bristled brush to scrub the entire deck. Avoid stiff bristles that could scratch the surface and damage the wood.
  3. Rinse the deck thoroughly and allow it to dry.
  4. Commercial cleaning solutions are typically applied to a dry deck, but be sure to follow the instructions on the label for your product for best results.

An Ounce of Prevention

Because mold and mildew cannot grow on the composite decking itself, it must get its food from other sources. This commonly occurs when debris such as pollen, dirt, and plant matter is allowed to remain on the deck surface and begins to break down. Sweeping your deck frequently and periodically using a garden hose or pressure washer to clear off the entire surface will reduce buildup and help prevent mold and mildew from growing in the first place.

To learn more about how a composite deck can enhance your Frankfort home, or to learn about maintaining your existing deck, contact the friendly experts at Mitchell Construction.