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Installation & Maintenance
Capped Composite Decking Dos & Don’ts
November 07 2016
Decking Installation & Maintenance

One of the benefits of capped composite decking is that it’s ultra-durable and resistant when it comes to common issues that typically affect wood decking materials. 

Of course, that’s not to say that a capped composite deck doesn’t require any maintenance. There are still some things that a composite deck owner should do to enhance the look and longevity of their deck. But even more importantly, there are certain things you should never do to this type of deck. Learn the do’s and don’ts of caring for your capped composite deck.    

Capped Composite Deck Pre-Build Concerns

Caring for a capped composite deck actually starts before the deck is even completed. Even though the product is highly resistant to mold and mildew, a deck’s ability to withstand such problems is determined by the flow of air (or the lack of it) between the decking boards. Therefore, when you install the deck, you need to ensure the deck boards are spaced according to the manufacturer’s instructions to allow for optimum air and rainwater flow. 

During the installation process, it’s recommended to grade the soil to allow for water run-off so water doesn’t accumulate under the deck. You also need to be sure you direct downspouts, downspout extensions, and splashguards away from your deck.

As for storing your composite decking products before you install your deck, you should ensure your boards are placed on a flat, level, and dry surface. Stack units with banding and bottom supports aligned, and avoid stacking bundles over eight units high.

Always leave any factory-applied protective wraps in place during storage. If stored outdoors, the composite decking must be covered with non-translucent material to avoid heat-related damage from occurring.

Cleaning Tips for a Capped Composite Deck

There’s no limit to how often you can clean your composite deck, but a thorough cleaning should be performed at least twice a year. In the meantime, if your deck has accumulated dirt or debris on its surface, the best way to get rid of it is to spray it off using a hose, or to brush it off using a soft bristle broom. If the debris has left behind some residue, then washing the area with warm soapy water and a soft cloth will usually work fine. 

If the debris is allowed to stand on the surface of the deck, mold can start to form and feed on the biofilm. Washing the deck with warm soapy water and a soft bristle brush will remove both the food source and the mold. If the debris has sat long enough that it left behind tannins, which are yellowish or brownish residues, then you can use a deck brightener product that contains oxalic acid. The oxalic acid will remove the tannins and restore the deck’s usual clean and bright appearance. Cleaning products recommended for use on TimberTech’s decking include:

  • Wash Safe Spray and Clean Composite Deck Cleaner
  • Resist Mist Composite Deck Cleaner®
  • Corte Clean
  • Super Deck Composite Deck Cleaner
  • Thompson’s Water Seal—Oxy Action

If you spill food, oil, or grease on your composite deck, you should remove the spills as quickly as possible and clean the area with warm soapy water. Failing to clean the spill in a timely manner could result in voiding the product’s stain warranty.

To remove snow from your deck, you can use a calcium chloride product or rock salt to melt the snow and ice. Only plastic shovels with non-metal edges are suitable for removing snow from a composite deck surface.

If your deck has suffered a color transfer issue, such as from the attachment of a baluster spacer, you should only use a Mr. Clean®, Magic Eraser® product to remove the color. 

What Not to Do to a Capped Composite Deck

When you are cleaning your composite deck, it’s important to avoid letting the soapy water or cleaning agent sit and dry on the surface of the deck. Once the area is cleaned, you should saturate the area with clean water to ensure that all of the cleaning product has been removed.  

While you can use a pressure washer to wash the surface of the deck, you should avoid using one higher than 1,500 psi, and never place the nozzle closer than 12” above the deck.  

Never use metal snow shovels, plastic shovels with metal edges, or other metal tools or objects to remove snow or ice from your deck. 

You also want to avoid letting leaves, dirt, and other debris gather between the gaps in decking boards. Keeping the gaps open allows rainwater to naturally keep your deck’s surface clean.

As you can see, there’s not a lot you have to worry about when you choose a capped composite deck from TimberTech. Follow these simple guidelines, and your capped composite deck will provide you with enduring beauty and functionality for as long as you own your home.