Today’s consumers are realizing that no wood or wood product exposed to weather is going to be completely maintenance-free. Even exotic woods like Ipe require periodic cleaning and sealing as the natural oils within the wood dry out. All exterior lumber used in deck construction should be maintained every year to protect it from the elements and ground in dirt sheet pile type 3.
Composite lumber varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, but it appears that all of the popular ones contain wood particles (these ground particles are called “wood flour” by the industry). That means that any of these particles on or near the surface of the board, no matter what they are mixed with, will react to Mother Nature the same way all wood does. Graying and staining are common problems – and the stuff of nightmares for deck owners. Manufacturers are getting calls every day from end users about these issues, and deck restoration contractors are stepping in with the fix.
Cleaning composite decks is important to keep the material looking its best. Properly cleaning composite decks should be done with a composite wood cleaner that is designed specifically for these unique materials. Some manufacturers have suggested using bleach or oxygenated bleach to clean the wood, but the results have been varied. Most pressure washing contractors who do deck renewal are finding success through products made especially for this problem, such as Flood’s Composite Wood Cleaner. The key to this particular product is in the surfactants and cleaning chemicals in its formula.
This guide will give you the basic steps that should be used to get the best results when cleaning composite deck materials.
Preparing the composite deck: Sweep debris like leaves, twigs and dirt off the deck first. Then rinse off the composite lumber to cool it off and remove heavy built up deposits of dirt and mud. Rinsing off the composite deck first will cool the surface and prevent the possibility of flash drying the composite cleaner when it’s applied. Also wet down plants and grass around the deck and if necessary, Cover plants, grass, concrete and any other areas you don’t want the composite cleaner getting on.
Remove any stains on composite decks first! Use oxalic, citric or phosphoric acid-based cleaners to remove rust stains from metal furniture. These will also help remove leaf stains.
Use commercial degreasers containing propylene glycol, sodium hydroxide, and various detergents for removing grease and oil stains.
Spot removers or mineral spirits may be used carefully on stubborn grease or oil stains but should be washed off quickly with water, as it can damage the grain pattern. Spot removers normally include petroleum distillates, xylene, methanol, acetone, or other organic solvents. Use caution if the composite lumber has embedded color, as some solvents may affect the appearance. As always, test your cleaner on an inconspicuous spot.