The composite deck, or vinyl deck, has become a popular choice for homeowners, instead of the more traditional wooden decks. Although wooden decks are attractive, vinyl decks have proven to be much easier to maintain, slower to deteriorate, and are nearly maintenance free. Nonetheless, being exposed to the elements, children and pets, means that they are not completely maintenance free. Still, by setting a simple routine to clean your vinyl deck each spring and fall, and by following the 6 steps below, you can keep your vinyl deck looking attractive and be able to enjoy it for years to come.
Step 1 – Sweep the Deck
Before beginning cleanup of your vinyl deck, sweep it thoroughly to remove any dirt or debris such as weeds, grass, mud and dirt that have been caught in the board cracks. If the debris you're removing includes loose material such as leaves, using a leaf blower can help reduce the time it takes to remove this debris from your deck.
Step 2 – Rinse the Deck
If there is good drainage for you deck, use a garden hose to rinse off remaining debris that could not be loosened by sweeping or blowing with a leaf blower. It is important to be sure you don't leave pools or standing water that over time can cause staining and damage to your deck surface.
Step 3 – Check for Stains, Rust or Mold
Before scrubbing the deck, look for stains, rust, and mold on your decking. Although these stains may have penetrated the decking and have been baked into it by the sun’s rays, you will be able to remove most of them if you check the deck periodically throughout the year and catch them early. You will find them much more difficult to remove if you allow them to remain on the deck for a longer period of time.
Step 4 – Prevent Grease Splatters
If you use a barbecue grill on the deck, use a protective splatter guard under your grill to prevent spills and grease from staining.
Step 5 – Remove Stains
Remove stains by adding a commercial cleaner to a bucket of hot water and scrubbing the stain with a stiff brush. Remove mold the same way. You can remove rust stains easier if you use a commercial cleaner that contains oxalic acid. Do not use bleach on your deck to remove stains until it is at least two years old.
Step 6 – Remove Grease Spots
A commercial degreaser purchased at your local hardware store is the best option for removing grease spots. Scrub your deck with this type of cleaner after you have scrubbed the deck with a regular cleaner and have still found grease spots remaining.
If you use power washing equipment, limit its use to wetting and rinsing the deck. Use the wide fan spray, and spray slowly and steadily in the direction of the deck grain.