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How To Maintain Composite Decking

Composite material is greatly popular within the decking market, due to its extensive number of benefits that make it stand out in comparison to other decking materials, such as wood. One of the main benefits of choosing composite decking is the minimal maintenance required post-installation.

When it comes to maintaining your composite decking correctly, there are many different tips to take on board to avoid damaging your decking boards. Alongside cleaning, there are general maintenance techniques and care tips that can prevent damage to the surface of your composite decking and keep it looking its best all year round. This article focuses on the general maintenance methods to consider once you have installed composite decking in your outdoor space. To find out how to safely clean your composite decking follow this link. Look no further if you are researching how to accurately maintain and care for your composite decking. This article is for you.

Maintenance starts after installation

Once your composite decking is installed, we recommend checking all the following key points:

· Check the Gradient – There should be no water pooling or any area which holds water on your deck, you can run a quick test by pouring or using a garden hose to ensure the water runs off your deck smoothly and effectively, any area that water sits, please discuss this with your fitter or re-check your installation process.

· Check gaps – Checking the gaps is key, no gaps lead to issues in the future- please go around your deck and check the gap end to end is 6mm and side to side is 3mm, if it isn’t please then discuss with your fitter or revisit your installation guide.

· Check the flex – when working on your decking boards check for any flex or bounce with the boards this is a clear giveaway that the joist centres aren’t at 300mm and this needs checking urgently.

FAQs from customers

Can you use Vinegar & Baking Soda?

Natural products, vinegar and baking soda can be utilised when cleaning your outdoor composite decking without causing any damage to the structure or appearance of your composite boards. To remove stains that won’t come off with ordinary dishwashing liquid, you can use vinegar and baking soda to do the job.

Vinegar and baking soda will even successfully remove grease and oil stains from your decking surface, which can be a common issue in summer through the use of BBQs and food on your composite decking.

Should I Brush Away Dirt and Debris?

Brushing your composite decking ensures the removal of dirt and debris from its surface. Ensure you remove leaves from the decking surface, especially in autumn, to avoid any build-up of bacteria and moisture. Check the gaps between the boards and remove any dirt to allow easy water drainage from the surface of your decking

Can I remove bird droppings from my decking?

Bird droppings can create a mess with your composite decking. It would help if you immediately cleaned any bird droppings you noticed on your composite decking. When removing bird poop from your decking, you need to be careful. Remove the excrement with care to avoid scratching your composite decking. Do not use any sharp objects to scrape the faeces off your decking.

You can remove bird droppings away from a composite decking yourself by first rinsing the decking with water to soften the excrement. After rinsing your decking with water,

get a brush and use it to scrub the decking surface gently. You can also add a liquid dishwasher to the decking and scrub lightly till the stains are gone.

Ensure you scrub the decking thoroughly to remove all traces of bird droppings. After doing that, use a garden hose to rinse the entire decking.

How often should I clean my decking?

The best way to maintain the quality of your composite decking is by cleaning it regularly. It is important to check your decking surface regularly to check for any staining or marking that might have occurred. Removing any stains as soon as you notice them is imperative, as any left on the surface can not only distort the decking’s appearance but can also alter the structural integrity of the boards.

As a rule of thumb, we recommend regularly cleaning your composite decking boards monthly with dishwashing liquid and water to retain the appearance of your decking and ensure its longevity. Remember that the location of your decking can greatly affect the amount your decking needs cleaning. For example, if you have lots of trees over your decking boards, this will lead to more debris on your decking surface that needs to be cleaned.

Can I put a BBQ on my deck?

Placing a hot object on decking can distort its appearance. If you plan to use your decking area as a kitchen, avoid placing hot objects directly on the deck’s surface. Grills and BBQs can damage or create dents on the decking surface. Remember that composite decking differs from wood, made from recycled plastic and wood fibres. Hot objects placed directly on the surface will distort or dent your decking

How can I prevent and reduce Mould & Mildew?

Despite the fact composite decking has resistant qualities to mould and mildew due to its composition, which ensures a reduction in moisture absorption; composite boards can still experience growth of mould and mildew when the accumulation of leaves and debris build up on the boards. When debris, such as leaves, fall onto the deck and pile up, this creates a barrier on the deck surface, which traps the moisture and heat in an insulating layer. Mould and bacteria thrive within these conditions and, in turn, are more likely to grow when left on your decking.

Therefore, the location of your decking is important to consider in the maintenance of your composite decking. For example, if you place your decking under trees and bushes, you will need to clean your decking more regularly. Mould is not only an eye sore but will also damage and weaken your composite boards, which can lead to the costly and time-consuming process of having to replace or reinstall boards.

As stated above, regular checking of the condition of your decking boards is important, as mould can spread and ultimately damage multiple boards if left untreated. In most cases, mould and mildew can be simply cleaned with hot soapy water and a soft bristle brush. For tougher stains, you can attempt to use a vinegar and baking soda solution, resorting to stronger products such as Compo Clean if all else fails

What To Avoid After Installing Your Composite Deck

Avoid water standing on my decking?

Composite decking is a water-resistant material, but this does not mean it won’t absorb moisture if fully submerged in water. Composite decking repels more water than wood but is not completely waterproof. To properly care for your composite decking, avoid any build up of water on the deck surface and ensure water drains off the deck easily.

Clean any Food from your Decking Immediately

Most homeowners use their decking as an outdoor eating area, especially in the summer months. Food particles on your deck surface can make it look less attractive and cause staining. It can even cause stains and the growth of mould to grow on your deck. Whenever you have your meal on your deck, ensure you don’t leave food scraps on the deck. Check around and clean away any food scraps to prevent mould growth.

Oil stains from the food can stain the surface of your decking. Use hot soapy water and a soft-bristle brush to remove stains. For more stubborn stains, a mix of baking soda and white vinegar should do the trick.

Avoid Scratches on the Decking

When there are scratches on your decking, it can distort the decking’s appearance. Scratches can also be difficult to fix on composite decking. Although composite decking is a quality material, it is still prone to scratches. Avoid dragging items such as furniture and BBQs over your decking or placing objects with sharp edges on your composite decking in order to protect the decking surface.

Remove Snow and Ice Carefully

When there is ice or snow on the decking, it can cause a slip hazard on your decking. Snow can become very heavy, leading to possible structural failure. Therefore, any build-up of snow should be removed as soon as possible. You can use a shovel with a plastic edge to remove the snow from your decking to avoid scratching. Ensure you avoid using a metal shovel, as it can scratch your decking surface. For light snowfall, you could use a leaf blower to remove the snow from your decking. You can also use ice melt to dissolve the ice on your decking. When choosing ice melt for your decking, select a type that suits the material. Always apply the ice melt moderately. We recommend testing a discrete area prior to using it on the entirety of your decking. When choosing ice melt, avoid any that contains colouring or dye. It will prevent the ice melt from discolouring your decking surface. Also, avoid ones that contain grit, as they can scratch your composite decking surface.

Remove Oil and Grease Stains

Another composite decking maintenance tip is to remove stains on the decking surface. Homeowners using their decking as a cooking and dining area should always check for grease stains. If you notice an oil or grease stain on the decking surface, clean it immediately. Remove the grease stain with vinegar and baking soda. Use the baking soda and vinegar mixture to gently scrub the affected area with a decking brush.

Get Rid of Leaves

A build-up of dead leaves and twigs on your composite decking traps moisture leading to mould and bacteria growth on the composite boards. It is important to remove leaves and twigs to avoid this from occurring, as mould can stain and damage your decking.

Avoid Using Bleach

To care for your composite decking, avoid the use of bleach. Chlorine bleach can fade the colour of your composite decking and damage its structural integrity. If you want to clean your composite decking, use a mild composite decking cleaner. Ammonia-free liquid dishwashers, vinegar, and baking soda are examples of cleaners you can use on your composite decking. Mould can attack your decking material; when this happens, most homeowners turn to bleach to get rid of the moulds.

When you want to remove moulds from your composite decking, avoid using bleach, as it is too harsh for composite material and will damage your surface finish. Additionally, bleach will not remove mould from porous surfaces such as composite. As bleach is corrosive to metals, you will not only damage your composite boards but risk corroding any metal fasteners. This will affect the structural integrity of your decking, leading to decking collapse and possible injury.

Dont Forget To Clean The Gaps

The gaps between the composite decking allow for proper drainage of water. If the gaps are clogged, it can hinder the water flow of the decking. A regular cleaning schedule should include the removal of dirt and debris in the spaces between the composite decking. The gaps between your decking are important as they aid the easy passage of water from your decking. Sometimes we make mistakes while cleaning our decking by ignoring the gaps between the boards. When cleaning your composite decking, don’t ignore the spaces between the boards.

Dirt can get stuck between the gaps, causing water to pool on the decking. Ensure you clean the spaces between the decking board by removing dirt and debris.

Avoid Placing Hot Objects on Your Decking

Placing a hot object on decking can distort its appearance. If you plan to use your decking area as a kitchen, avoid placing hot objects directly on the deck’s surface. Grills and BBQs can damage or create dents on the decking surface. Remember that composite decking differs from wood, as it is made from recycled plastic and wood fibres. Hot objects placed directly on the surface will distort or dent your decking.

Using the Wrong Deck Cleaner  

The right cleaner for composite decking is hot, soapy water. In most cases, that’s all that is needed to rinse the decking area clean. If there are stains on it, gently scrubbing with hot, soapy water will do the job. Most homeowners make the mistake of using harsh deck cleaners to clean their composite decking.   

Harsh chemicals often contain chlorine bleach, which will damage composite decking. Use dishwasher liquid on your deck and avoid using any type of cleaner that contains ammonia. We recommend liquid dishwashers to clean your decking since they are ammonia-free. You do not need any harsh chemicals or products in order to clean your composite decking. 

The Do's and Dont's To Maintain Composite Decking

The Do’s 

  • Always brush your decking whenever you need it or before thoroughly washing it.  
  • When cleaning your composite decking, ensure you read and follow any specific instructions supplied by the manufacturers or suppliers. 
  • Use a soft-bristle brush to remove dirt. Try to reach even the smallest gaps in between the decking boards. This is where mould and fungi can build up. 
  • If you happen to spill grease, oil, or food on your composite decking, make sure to clean it right away. The longer it takes for you to clean it, the more chance there is that the oils will soak into the composites, which will cause eventual damage to your decking. 
  • Likewise, if you spilled water or any other liquid on your decking, make sure to dry it immediately. Prolonged exposure to moisture can damage your composite decking. 
  • During the winter, use non-abrasive chemicals to remove the ice from your composite decking. Contact your supplier regarding what to use and what not to use. 
  • If you notice a broken or rotting decking board, make sure to replace it immediately. Not doing so can infect the surrounding boards. It also presents a safety risk if left untreated. 

The Don'ts 

  • Do not let debris, such as leaves, accumulate on your decking. Although composite decking has resistant qualities against fungi and moulds, it can still grow on fallen leaves and debris. 
  • Do not use a pressure washer too close to the decking surface. We recommend staying at least 8-12 inches away from the deck in order to avoid damaging the composite boards. Also, ensure a low setting that isn’t too powerful against the decking. 
  • Do not use harsh chemicals as cleaning solutions, such as chlorine bleach. This can damage your decking. 
  • Do not use metal brushes or shovels when scrubbing or removing debris from your surface. 
  • Do not let the soap dry on the deck when thoroughly cleaning your composite decking with a mild soap and water solution. Instead, rinse it immediately. 
  • Do not use abrasive ice removers or salt to remove snow from your decking. You can use calcium chloride-based ice removers instead. 
  • Do not drag pieces of furniture across the decking. If you need to transport furniture in or out of your deck, you will need to lift or carry them instead. 


In conclusion, maintaining your composite decking is simple and only requires regular cleaning in order to retain its beautiful appearance and longevity. Although composite boards have excellent resilience to the weathering, they still need to be maintained correctly to reach their service lifespan. To accurately maintain your composite decking, ensure you follow the steps and tips within this article to avoid causing any damage to the boards.

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