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How to Maintain and Care for Composite Decking?

December 29, 2023

Composite decking has become very popular in recent years. This is because it looks great, lasts a long time, and doesn’t require much maintenance. With composite decking, people can spend more time enjoying their decks and less time keeping them in good condition.

Even though low maintenance is one of the top benefits of composite decking, it does require cleaning and maintenance every once in a while. We will cover how to maintain composite decking on a regular basis. Such as washing and scrubbing with soap and water. We will also discuss how to remove stains, mold, rust, and scratches.

What is Composite Decking Made of?

Composite wood decking is a fairly new material. So it makes sense that many people still don’t know what it’s made of. On the other hand, knowing what materials are used to make composite decking will help you figure out what it can and can’t withstand and how to care for it.

Composite decking is usually made from a number of different materials, mainly wood fibers and recyclable plastics. These materials are made in a way that makes them look like real wood. Wood fibers are usually made up of wood chips, sawdust, etc., which are waste materials from the lumber industry. Recyclable plastics usually originate from household plastic waste. Therefore, promoting and using composite decking is good for protecting our living environment.

Composite Decking Made of

How to Avoid Staining and Organic Decay?

By cleaning composite wood decking regularly, you can remove dirt and other things that can stain or rot it. Composite decking material is stain-resistant, but it can still leave marks if you don’t take care of it properly. When you notice debris starting to build up, be sure to do the following:

Remove debris from between the decking. There are large spaces between the boards that allow grass, leaves, and other debris to get in. If these get damp, they may cause the deck to rot naturally. If you notice any buildup, use a putty knife or spatula to clean out these holes. Afterward, spray composite decking boards with an outdoor hose to remove any dirt that may have been missed.

Sweep regularly. If the deck is swept regularly, dirt and other things won’t be able to get into the cracks. With more leaves falling in the fall, it’s important to keep your deck swept frequently.

Remove salt and dirt. Over time, dirt can easily build up on composite wood decking. There may also be winter to melt ice rock salt. To remove this debris, you should start by sweeping the deck. Do not use metal brushes, try to use rubber brushes. Then use light soap, water, and a soft brush to remove all the dirt. Once you have cleaned the dirt, rinse it thoroughly again using water.

Remove grease stains immediately. During the warmer months, most people will dine on their outdoor decks. So you will end up spilling greasy food or oil on the deck surface. Composite wood decking has good stain resistance. As long as you remove the food residue in time and then clean the deck surface with soapy water you can remove the stains from the deck surface completely.


How to Remove Food Stains from Composite Decking

There are several brands of composite decking on the market today. Each brand is slightly different in terms of stain and scratch resistance, longevity, and appearance. However, all of them can leave grease stains from dropped food, and in order to prevent your composite decking boards from getting stained, you should clean the grease stains off the deck as soon as possible.

Generally, the longer you put it off, the harder the marks will be to remove. Here are the steps to remove food stains from composite wood decking:

Wipe. Wearing rubber gloves, use a paper towel to wipe away as much of the food and grease as possible.

Spray. Use an outdoor hose to rinse off more dirt.

Prepare the detergent. Use a bucket to mix hot water and liquid detergent. Add one tablespoon of detergent per gallon of water.


Clean up. Get a nylon bristle brush into the prepared cleaner and use it to remove grease from the floor.

Soak a sponge. The next step is to soak the sponge in a bucket of soapy water. Then, use the sponge to wipe down the greasy area. If the grease doesn’t come to the surface, pour the detergent directly onto the grease and let it sit for 15 to 30 minutes. Then, scrub with a sponge.

Clean up the oil stain. Wipe off more soap and grease with a paper towel.

Rinse well. Spray the deck surface with a hose to rinse away the soapy water and dislodged grease. If there are still traces of grease on it, wash it again with water until the grease is gone.

If you are cooking or grilling on your deck, you should lay a splash pad on the deck. This will catch spilled grease and splatter. This way you won’t have to clean your deck as often! Wash it with warm water and you’ll be able to remove bird droppings just like you would a stain.


How to Remove Mold from Composite Decking

Mold growth is another problem that many wood deck users encounter. In many ways, mold and mildew are the same thing: they’re both types of fungi that grow best in damp, barely lit areas. They both begin to grow when their spores find a good place to start reproducing.

Mold usually grows on top of porous materials. And commonly wood, paper, fabric, drywall, clothing, insulation, padding or carpeting are all porous materials. For the most part, mold will not grow on man-made materials such as plastic, metal, and composite wood decking. However, if dirt is left on composite decking boards, mold can grow on them.

The main difference between mold and mildew is their appearance. Mildew is usually fluffy or powdery, gray or white. It grows on plant leaves and makes the plant look sick. When mildew begins to eat away at plant cells, it appears as gray or white spots. In terms of color, mold is usually black, green, or yellow and has a slimy feel to the touch. Mold sometimes eats away at its own home, just as plants do.

People who are exposed to mold for long periods of time may become seriously ill as a result. As mold grows, the fungi that make it release mycotoxins. These toxins can irritate the eyes, skin, and lungs, as well as cause allergic reactions and high fevers.


Mold and mildew can affect people in the neighborhood in different ways. People who inhale these germs may start coughing, get a headache, or have trouble breathing.

The effects of mildew are usually not as severe as mold. In the long run, mildew can damage buildings and make people sick. Some reactions to this fungus include:

  • Heart problems
  • Breathing problems
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Pain in the joints
  • Low mood
  • Fatigue

Mold allergies can also cause coughing and nasal congestion as well as eye, skin, and throat irritation. For this reason, it’s important to remove mold from your deck as soon as possible. Many things will not damage the composite decking material, but mold can still grow on it. Fortunately, removing mold from composite wood decking is not difficult. Simply do the following:

  • Clean with pressure. Use a pressure washer to remove as much mold as possible.
  • Prepare a cleaning solution. Mix together two parts vinegar and one part water.
  • Pour out the solution. Place the solution on the moldy spot and sprinkle it with baking soda.
  • Wait. Wait at least 20 minutes after applying the baking soda and vinegar.
  • Scrub. Scrub the area with a medium-hard bristle brush until all the mold is gone.
  • Rinse. Rinse well with water.

How to Prevent Mold Growth

Although composite decking is waterproof and corrosion resistant. However, you should still prevent water from entering the deck at all costs. Since mold and mildew usually grow outdoors, they need air, warm weather, and water to grow. Therefore you can take the following steps to prevent mold and mildew from growing:

Allow air to circulate under the deck. Your deck will dry out faster if there is air circulating underneath it. Make sure there is at least 6 inches of open space under the deck for air to circulate.

Change the direction of the dryer vents. The dryer generates a lot of heat that needs to be vented outside. Make sure the dryer vents are not under or near the deck. This is because the heat from the dryer can warm up the wood on the deck and cause rot. Vents that aren’t very humid can also carry moist air, which helps mold grow.

Watch out for standing water. If you notice water pooling in certain areas of your composite decking after it rains, you may need to make some changes. Make some modifications to your deck for better drainage.

Change the direction of your downspouts. Take care to avoid roof runoff washing onto composite decking boards. Make sure the downspouts lead elsewhere so the deck doesn’t get too wet.


Stay away from mulch. If composite decking is in the yard, keep soil off the side of the deck if possible.

Prevent soil spills. If you place planters on composite decking boards. Place the planter in a saucer large enough to catch any soil or water that may spill without falling onto the deck.

Allow for deck spacing. If building composite decking, make sure you leave some space between boards. If the gaps are too small, water and dirt won’t be able to escape.

Use braided carpeting. Don’t use rubber-backed rugs or mats, as these can trap water. Instead, braided mats allow more air to circulate.

Cut back bushes. You should cut back bushes and trees that are close to your deck so that they are about a foot away from composite decking. This way there is no room for mold to grow.

Installing a vapor barrier on your deck is another way to prevent mold growth. To make the right choice, avoid buying “waterproof” sealants and chemicals that “encapsulate” the material when shopping. These types of products can allow moisture to remain inside the deck, which can lead to other problems.


How to Clean Ice and Snow off Composite Wood Decking

Some people don’t use their decks in the winter, but those who do need to make sure there is a clear path to the front door. Here are some suggestions on how to do this:

Clean your deck before it snows. If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow, the first big snowstorm of the season may be the last time you see the surface of your deck. Before the first snowfall, be sure to clear your deck of fallen leaves, acorns, and other debris. You can either wind blow the fallen leaves or use a broom with stiff bristles. Clear the spaces between boards so that melted snow can flow easily.

Use a plastic shovel. When shoveling snow from composite decking, make sure that the blade of the shovel is made of plastic. This will prevent the surface of the decking from getting scratched. However, some plastic shovels, especially those with hard metal blades on the end of the shovel, can damage the surface of your composite decking. This means that your composite decking warranty is no longer valid.

Move the trowel the right way. To protect the sides of the decking boards, move the shovel parallel to the boards.


Use a leaf blower. If there is only a small amount of snow, you may not need to use a shovel. A leaf blower may be sufficient.

Use rock salt. If you build a good composite decking the right way, it should be able to handle a lot of snow. However, if you need to remove snow for safety reasons, you can melt it with rock salt or a product containing calcium chloride. When purchasing ice melt, look for labels that say things like “safe for concrete” or “safe for slate.”

Rinse off any excess salt. If you don’t want the salt to corrode or stain your deck, rinse off or sweep up the rock salt after clearing snow from your deck.

If you want to melt snow on composite wood decking, do not use the following items:

Sand. People who own their own homes may be inclined to use sand. This is because it helps people walk on slippery surfaces. However, walking on sand may damage the surface of composite decking.

Ice melt with added color. Sometimes ice melt is colored to help you see where the chemical is being spread. However, the dyes in these items can stain composite decking boards.

Freestanding Armor Benches with Backrests

How to Remove Scratches from Composite Decking

Wood fibers and recyclable plastics are mixed to produce composite decking. Due to the nature of the materials used in manufacturing, composite decking lasts longer and does not require as much regular maintenance as wood decking. With composite decking, you’ll never have to worry about it cracking, splitting, or rotting. However, scratches happen from time to time. Here’s how to eliminate scratches:

Wait. Let the scratches on the surface of composite decking boards disappear on their own. Over time and as the weather changes, the scratches will be less noticeable.

Eliminate. Hold the heat gun at least 7 inches from the surface. Then, use a wire brush to scrape the heated area smoothly. Make sure to scrape with the grain, not against it. The reason for using the heat gun is to soften the trim boards to better blend the scuff marks with the decking material. The brush will show another color where the surface has not yet worn off. However, over time, this surface will fade on its own in sunlight.

Replace the planks. If the scratches are too deep to brush off or dull, you should replace the boards with new composite decking boards.


How to Avoid Scratches

Although composite decking has superior scratch resistance to wood decking. However, no matter what material is used, it can still scratch the surface of the decking with enough pressure and contact. Using furniture pads can prevent composite wood decking from being scratched. Some furniture already has a protective nylon layer, but some will need to have nylon glides added after purchase.

When cleaning composite decking, be sure to scrub in the same direction as the grain. Some people may want to use rubber pads, but we do not recommend this. This is because rubber can change the color of some composite decking materials.

Slides are easy to find online or at hardware stores. Some glides slide right onto the legs of the furniture, while others need to be tapped with a hammer to hold them in place. Check the base of your outdoor table to see if there is anything between the hard plastic or metal and the decking. If not, be sure to add protective padding. You can also put down an outdoor rug that matches the style of your house.


Can I Seal Composite Decking?

Composite wood decking does not need to be sealed. But if you want to, you can seal your composite decking. after sealing your composite decking, you may not have to clean it for several years. If you choose not to seal, you should clean your composite decking once a year.

Sealing should not be done until the surface of the composite decking boards is clean. Here are some ways to seal your deck:

Choose the right stain. It is important to choose the right stain for your composite decking material. When shopping around, be sure to choose a water-based sealer. They work much better than acid-based ones, which are harder to use and often yellow the surface of the deck. Water-based sealers, on the other hand, are clear and do not change the color of the deck. In addition, mold, mildew, and algae will eat anything made with solvents. If you want to remove mold, look for water-based products that contain synthetic resins and zinc nanoparticles. These help stop mold growth.

Follow the instructions in the letter. You may be tempted to start working without reading the instructions but take a moment to read the directions. It contains all the information on how to use the product. It will tell you any information that may affect the effectiveness of the application. Things like how long it takes to dry, how many coats you should apply, how long you should go between coats, and if there is an important recoat time.

composite deck board

Brushing is important. Whether you choose to spray or roll on the sealer agent, you must brush it on first. If you apply the sealer with a roller first, simply brush it over before it dries. The spray application works the same way. However, you can avoid a lot of hassle if you only apply the sealant with a brush. The reason is easy to understand: when you apply the sealer with a brush, it creates friction on the surface of the deck, which breaks the surface tension of the boards and then spreads the sealer into the pores. If you can get the surface of the deck to absorb the sealer better, the deck will last longer.

Remove excess sealant. This may not make much sense, but if you apply more sealant than your deck can handle, be sure to wipe off the excess. If you use too much sealant, it can build up on the surface and leave unsightly spots. These spots are also likely to flake off over time. Don’t use more sealant than the deck boards can absorb.

Wait for drying. After wiping off the excess sealer, the sealing of the composite decking is complete. Let the deck dry for a day, this will give the sealer time to dry. Do not move your belongings outside and keep your pets indoors.


Common Maintenance Mistakes

There are a number of mistakes that people are likely to exemplify when cleaning composite decking. These mistakes will make them do more work in cleaning and maintaining their composite wood decking. Some of the common maintenance mistakes in composite decking are as follows:

Using the wrong cleaner. Choosing the right cleaner is very important. You should read the label of the cleaner carefully and never choose a “deck cleaner” that contains chlorine when shopping. If one of the main ingredients of the cleaner is sodium hypochlorite, then it contains bleach. This stuff can seriously erode a deck, damaging it and changing its color. It can also harm nearby plants and make mold problems worse. To avoid this mistake, choose a safe sodium percarbonate cleaner.

Not paying attention to the seams. One problem that anyone who owns composite decking encounters is the growth of mold underneath the deck. One of the main reasons for this is that the gaps between the boards get clogged. In these gaps, debris often builds up, and this debris can trap water and help mold grow. You should clean the gaps between the boards at least once a year, and more often may depending on the weather where you live. This opens up the space and allows air to circulate, which helps keep the underside of your deck dry.

Not using the right tools. A broom or garden hose is all you need to remove light debris and dirt. However, only tools recommended by the manufacturer of composite decking should be used for deeper cleaning. Soft bristle brushes work fine in most cases. The fewer areas that need to be cleaned, the better if the correct cleaner is used. When removing snow, use a plastic shovel rather than a metal one.


Get in Touch with Us

COOWIN manufactures many different outdoor products such as composite decking, composite cladding, railings, timber tubes, fencing, and more. Since its inception in 2000, COOWIN has been a leader in wood-plastic composite technology. COOWIN has been a leader in wood-plastic composite technology since its founding in 2000, creating products that are both functional and beautiful for homes and businesses around the world.

COOWIN has a professional hair service team that can answer all your questions. We can also provide you with free samples and brochures to give you a better understanding of our products. In addition, COOWIN also provides a professional customization service, we can customize the composite products according to your needs. Please fill out our online form to get in touch with us. We are happy to hear from you!

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Galen Content Writer
Galen is a content creator and decorator with five years of experience designing home decor. In his daily life, Galen is constantly on the lookout for the latest, great examples of house design and further optimizes his solutions. Additionally, he writes articles related to outdoor design, interior design, and architectural decorating materials to help brands build more engaging relationships with their audiences.
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