What Causes Composite Decking to Fade?
Knowing what causes a composite surface to fade is essential for solving the problem and preventing it from happening again in future. There are four main reasons why composites lose color:
- Inappropriate cleaning solution: Composite decking like Trex is made from a combination of materials that react best to specific cleaning products. Chlorine bleach, wire brushes and too much pressure washing are surefire ways to fade composite decking.
- Poor maintenance: Improper maintenance is a major cause of faded decking. Trex is low-maintenance, not maintenance-free — so you’ll need to keep it clean and tidy, just like any other part of your home. Buildup of leaves, dust and debris can cause mold and rot over a long timeframe, so be sure to gently clean your Trex composite decking at regular intervals. The more frequently you do it, the less of a job it’ll be.
- Sun damage: There’s no denying that the Virginia sun gets pretty hot during the summer months. If you have a south-facing yard or a particularly exposed deck, you might run the risk of sun damage over time. That said, composite decking is nowhere near as prone to sun damage as natural wood, and an excellent product like Trex is unlikely to fade for this reason.
- Inferior decking material: If your deck is made from a material other than Trex, such as wood or an inferior composite decking brand, it might be more prone to fading. Older deck boards made from composite material could also be more likely to fade.
How to Keep Your Deck Clean
In most cases, making sure you correctly maintain your decking should be enough to prevent it from fading. Even if your deck has already faded, the first step to restore it is giving it a thorough cleaning. It’s especially important following a storm, when debris and surface grime is most prone to build up.
Don’t worry, though; you don’t need to buy expensive cleaning solutions or equipment to keep your deck clean. In fact, you should use a pressure washer with great caution, using a low setting and not doing it more than once or twice per year. Many people prefer not to pressure wash their deck because composites are softer than wood and therefore more prone to damage.
Take the following steps to keep your deck pristine:
- Prepare the surface by removing all furniture and giving yourself a clear space to work with. Remove larger items of debris by hand or with a broom, then use a water hose to spray down the surface of the decking.
- Combine half a cup of apple cider or white wine vinegar with a gallon of water and a cup of baking soda — this is the cleaning solution recommended by Trex for its decking boards. Spray down the deck, being careful to cover the entire area with the solution. Use a soft bristle brush and minimal elbow grease or a pressure washer at no higher than 3100 PSI.
- Rinse thoroughly with clean, warm water, and be sure not to leave any puddles to remove all suds and prevent mold from building up.
Removing Stains From a Composite Deck
Composite decks can get stained if they aren’t kept clean and tidy. Below are tips to help you remove stains from your composite deck.
Trex decking is naturally mold-resistant, but given the right environment and a lack of maintenance, mold can build up. Pollen, dirt and leaves are the main culprits for mold, along with damp, warm air. Provided you follow the cleaning advice laid out above (which also serves as the method for mold removal), you shouldn’t have to worry about mold.
Cleaning decking with hard water can lead to mineral deposits on the surface that may look like fading. If you can’t avoid using hard water, you’ll need to manually dry the deck surface once you finish cleaning it or use water softening tablets for the water you clean it with.
Rubber mats are great for health and safety, but they can contain chemicals that cause discoloration of your deck. If you notice this happening, clean the deck thoroughly, discard the rubber mat and find one made from a different material.
Snow and Ice
Ice and snow themselves shouldn’t stain your Trex deck, but you need to be extra careful about how you remove them. Always use a plastic shovel and avoid using anything other than calcium chloride or rock salt to dissolve ice. Metal shovels and abrasive chemicals can damage the soft surface of your deck and diminish its aesthetic appeal.
Trex Composite Decking Is Built to Last
Trex decks are the best when it comes to maintenance, appearance and durability, but you still need to take care of your investment. If you’ve got a faded deck and want to replace it with a brand new and improved model, Prince William Home Improvement can help. Visit the website today for a free estimate.