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Can You Power Wash Composite Decking?

One of the easiest and fastest ways to clean outdoor spaces is by using power washers also referred to as a pressure washer. It works well with stone pavements and brick walls. It does the job quickly and typically does not require harsh chemicals and cleaners to complete the job. However, you may wonder: is it safe to use a power washer on your composite decking and what are some other options for cleaning if you do not want to use a pressure washer?

Is It Safe To Power Wash Composite Decking?

In the world of landscaping materials and outdoor living spaces, your average homeowner does not want to spend their time off work doing copious amounts of maintenance. This is likely one of the main reasons they choose to purchase composite decking over other material options.

Despite composite decking boasting the benefits of being low-maintenance, ensuring your deck’s cleanliness is essential for its longevity. If the amount of spare time you have available for cleaning your decking is limited, you may want to consider using a pressure washer for ease and convenience.

The important question is whether you can safely use a pressure washer on composite decking. The answer is yes; however, it is imperative to consider multiple factors when doing so.

Things to Remember When Power Washing Your Composite Decking

When cleaning your decks with a power washer, remember the following:

  • Use a wide nozzle when using a power washer. The lower pressure with a wide nozzle or fan will minimise the chance of damaging your deck.
  • Depending on your manufacturer, there will be a maximum PSI that your composite decking materials can handle. Exceeding these may damage the deck. For more information about this, contact your supplier, as a rule of thumb you should not exceed 1500 (PSI)
  • Learn to use a power washer properly. If it’s your first time using a power washer, get all the information you need. It includes the PSI settings, the recommended distance, and the proper handling.
  • Go along the grains of the composite decking and do it plank by plank. It lessens the chance of grazing the composites.
  • If you’re still unsure whether it’s safe or not, you can test the power washer on a hidden surface of your deck. Just in case it gets damaged, you won’t need to worry about it so much.

Depending on the brand, some composite decking materials are softer than wood. Due to this, using a power washer badly can cause the outer layer of the material to come off. Once this happens, your patio will be more susceptible to weather damage, mould, and chipping.

So, if you’re planning to use a power washer, make sure to follow all necessary precautions to avoid damage. If you’re not confident about it, it’s best to skip the power washer.

How to Clean Your Composite Decking Without a Power Washer

If you don’t want to take the risk of using a pressure washer on your composite decking, you can try the traditional way of cleaning a garden deck. It may not be as fast as a power washer, but it can save you the trouble of replacing broken and chipped composites; plus, it works, if not better, than a power washers.

Here are the steps.

  • Remove all furniture, fixtures, decorations, and accessories. Doing this will ensure that you’ll clean the entire deck area.
  • Sweep the decking to remove dirt and debris. Make sure to clean even the smallest gaps. For this, you can use a vacuum cleaner, a brush, or a leaf blower.
  • Rinse the composite decking with water, using a garden hose, to get it ready to be soaped. It also helps remove leftover dirt and debris.
  • In a bucket or a similar container, prepare the cleaning solution you prefer. It can be a simple mixture of mild dishwashing soap and water. Some use vinegar and baking soda. Do not use chlorine, bleach, or other invasive chemicals on your decking.
  • With a soft-bristle brush, gently scrub away all the dirt on your deck. Make sure to go along the grain. You can divide the area into smaller sections if you have a large patio. Don’t allow any cleaning solution to dry out on the surface of your decking.
  • Rinse your deck with water. You can manually pour water over it or use a garden hose.
  • Let it dry before returning all the furniture and decorations that you removed. While waiting, you can also clean them before returning them to the deck.

Conclusion

Power washing is an efficient method for cleaning your composite decking and other outdoor spaces.

When it comes to composite decking, the safety of using a pressure washer should be a concern. Fortunately, using a pressure washer with a wide nozzle, adhering to the manufacturer’s maximum PSI recommendations, and going along the grain of the decking will not cause any structural issues or detrimental effects on the appearance of the decking, such as the loss of colour.

Alternatively, those who do not have access to a power washer or do not want to risk damaging their decking area can use other methods to clean their decking and maintain its appearance.

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