3 Things you should know before cleaning a composite deck

If you have a composite deck you most likely know the significant cost to install it and it may come as a surprise to you that they will get dirty and moldy and can’t be power washed.

Composite decks like azec, timberline and trex are made from plastic and wood fibers.

Newer materials have a composite core and a finished cap making them look like real wood.

These materials are soft and a pressure washer will destroy your deck in short order. Most manufacturers recommend less than 600 psi at a distance off the surface of 10 inches. The most common pressure washers sold to homeowners and rented to homeowners are 2000psi and up making them unacceptable for cleaning composite decks.

Mold and mildew will grow on the surface or on organic materials on the surface and make your deck look dirty and old. Trying to clean it yourself or using a contractor that is not knowledgeable in composite deck cleaning can damage your deck beyond repair.

Every year we get called by homeowners to try and fix damage done by either them or a contractor that attempted to clean their deck. Unfortunately once the damage is done it’s permanent and can’t be fixed.

Professionals use hot water, safe solutions recommended by the decking manufacture and low or no pressure to clean composites.

The process involves first wetting the deck and bushes surrounding the deck with fresh water. The next step is to apply the cleaning solution to the deck and rails. This will achieve a 100% kill ratio on all mold and mildew. The next step is to apply a soap solution to the rails and scrub them to remove all the black streaks and whiten them up to looking like new.  A thorough rinse then removes all the dirt, solution and dead mold.

You’ll need the following equipment to do the job right:

  • A low pressure hot water power washer, if you don’t have that cold water will work but not as well.
  • A way of applying a bleach and soap solution to the deck. This can be a chemical injector, Softwash pump or pump sprayer.  These are in the order of best to least advised.
  • Proper PPE like a respirator made to protect from chlorine inhalation, eye ware, long rubber gloves, rubber boots and rain gear.
  • A soft brush with a broom handle and a water connection of at least 6 gallons per minute.

Steps to take:

  • First step is to wet the bushes and grass to protect them from overspray.
  • Then wet the deck if it’s in direct sunlight
  • Next apply the detergent and never letting it dry.
  • Rinse the deck with less than  300 psi from a distance of 10 inches or more.
  • Clean off all the siding and vegetation and you’ll have a beautiful deck to enjoy!

Contact us today if you would like help from the professionals!