Spring is the right time to clean your decking and railing. Keep in mind, when you build a deck with composite decking and railing, you get years of relaxing, carefree use when compared to traditional lumber decking. There’s no stripping, painting, sealing or staining necessary. Of course, thanks to nature, no product is maintenance free. But with Latitudes decking, a simple, occasional cleaning will prevent the buildup of dirt and chalk—as well as pollen and other debris that cause and accelerate the growth of mold or mildew.
When it’s time to clean your Latitudes composite deck, here are some easy-to-follow guidelines for great results. If you use a pressure washer, use a fan-style tip—and only use the washer to wet down or rinse your deck. Avoid high-pressure blasting that literally can drive dirt and spores deeper into the composite decking surface.
Typically, you can clean your deck with soap, water and a scrub bush or use a high-quality cleaner available at your home-improvement center. Most cleaners contain Sodium Percarbonate and a detergent. These types of cleaners are very effective in removing dirt while bleaching out mold and mildew stains—simply follow the label directions.
When you find stains, there are simple ways to deal with them. For rust stains caused by metal furniture and other sources, look for a deck cleaner containing oxalic acid. To wash away grease and oil stains, use any standard commercial degreaser. Typically, these will contain propylene glycol, sodium hydroxide and detergents.
If your deck has a stubborn grease or oil stain, try a small amount of spot remover or paint thinner. But use it sparingly and wash it away quickly. These products usually contain organic solvents that can attack the grain pattern in your composite deck. Whatever you use to clean your synthetic decking and railing, always perform a test in an inconspicuous area before you use it on the entire surface. Always be certain to read, understand and follow all label instructions.
Some cleaning products and inhibitors may be more effective than others, depending on your environmental conditions. And remember, the best way to manage stains—is not to have them occur. Always try to deal with spills before they have a chance to set-up.
Remember, that while mold and mildew can reappear on any exterior building surface, there are ways to manage them effectively on composite decking. Above all, sit back, relax and enjoy your low-maintenance, high-reward Latitudes composite lumber decking and railing. See additional tips for preventing mold and mildew from my past blog. Also watch our deck cleaning video.