Composite decking is a material made from a combination of plastic and recycled wood fibres. Sometimes called wood-plastic composite, it is a popular choice among homeowners who are looking for a wood alternative material for deck construction.
Composite decking is a durable material. It doesn’t splinter like wood. More importantly, it has minimal maintenance and care requirements, which is a great solution for families who may not have time for upkeep. Lastly, this material is available in an array of colors and textures that can closely mimic expensive wood grains. It is one of the best decking ideas
Although composite decking is generally low in maintenance, nevertheless you still need to care for your deck. With this in mind, here are a few tips to help you care for your wood-plastic deck.
- Prevent Standing Water.
Even though it is designed to withstand water and rot, you still need to take care of standing water. Avoid puddles on your deck as much as possible. Mildew and mold are common environmental conditions that thrive in warm and moist environments. To minimize their growth, wipe off any standing water that collects on your composite decking.
- Ventilate the Underside.
Allow air to circulate under the decking. It enables the material to dry faster. To ensure there is sufficient circulation, keep 6 inches of unblocked airflow underneath.
- Redirect Downspouts.
Pay attention to the direction of your downspouts. Prevent the rainwater runoff from the roof splash from accumulating on your decking. Keep the downspouts pointed in another direction so that the wood-plastic decking isn’t exposed to excess moisture.
- Relay Dryer Vents.
Dryers need to ventilate heat coming from them towards the outside the house. Ensure the vent doesn’t open near the composite deck. The heat will raise the material’s temperature, leading to organic decay. Dryer vents also blow out moist air which is equally detrimental for composite decking.
- Reduce Mulch.
If you’re planning to use organic mulch in your garden, do not place it near or against the decking. If you have to put mulch around or under the deck, opt for gravel or inorganic mulch.
- Avoid Rubber Mats.
Welcome mats and rugs with rubber backing are a reservoir for moisture. These easily trap moisture which can cause faster decay of the decking. Opt for mats with a woven back instead. These offer more breathability.
The tips mentioned above will help with the upkeep of your new composite decking. You still need to take steps to make your deck sparkle for a long time. This requires routine maintenance. Debris and dirt can still build up with regular care. Sometimes this causes marks and stains to develop. Here are some upkeep suggestions to make your decking stand the test of time.
- Unclog Gaps in the Boards.
Grass, leaves, stones, etc. will easily get stuck between the gaps in your composite decking. If it rains, the debris will trap moisture and promote faster organic decay of the deck. To prevent this from happening, use a putty knife or spatula to dig out anything trapped in the gaps. You may use an air blower to remove additional debris.
- Remove Dirt and Debris.
Mud trekked in from your shoes will accumulate on your deck with time. Water over-flowing from your flower pots can also leave a trail of dirt on your deck. To prevent moisture or debris build-up, sweep regularly. If this doesn’t remove all the dirt, then use a gentle brush with mild soap and water mixture.
- Sweep Often.
Make it a point to sweep once every couple of days. This prevents dirt and debris from getting trapped between the gaps.
- Wipe off Grease.
If you plan to eat or drink on your deck, you can expect spillages. In case you spill your coffee or wine, clean it up immediately. This is the first step in preventing permanent stains. Use a mild soap to break down grease. Wipe it away with a dry and clean cloth.
With these simple tips and suggestions, you will enjoy your composite decking for years to come.