There are several advantages to using composite cladding, and one of the many advantages is the little maintenance necessary to maintain your composite wall cladding.
When placing composite cladding in your home, remember that it requires minimum upkeep and is not maintenance-free. Composite cladding is extremely simple to maintain and clean. Continue reading to learn about the upkeep of composite cladding.
How Durable is Composite Cladding?
Suitable for residential, commercial and garden offices, composite cladding not only insulates your building and protects the structure from moisture and condensation. Composite cladding is exceptionally durable and can resist rot, insect infestations, mildew, and mould buildup.
Made from recycled plastic and reclaimed wood fibre, composite cladding is also highly resistant to UV rays and impervious to water. Unlike wood cladding which requires protecting against these risks, composite cladding requires minimal upkeep.
Most composite cladding materials have a natural resistance to common issues like mildew and algae. While other materials can be easily treated and protected, composite claddings have a nearly maintenance-free lifespan and only requires warm soapy water to do the work.
Importance of Cleaning and Maintenance
High-quality composite decking and cladding for garden buildings, commercial applications and your home need some form of upkeep to prevent common issues associated with mildew and debris. Protection from these issues ensures the longevity and durability of the composite cladding remain intact.
Compared to wood cladding that requires sealing, painting, or oiling to protect them from UV rays, decay, mould, splitting, cracking, and splintering, composite cladding materials are naturally resistant to these issues.
What common issues are composite cladding prone to that require attention?
Algae, Mould and Mildew
Algae, mould and mildew are common issues that affect composite decking and cladding boards. Unlike traditional wooden cladding, mould and mildew are only surface issues on composite cladding that can easily be remedied.
It might sound strange to expect food stains on composite cladding, but it is possible, especially with young children. Cleaning up any food stains only requires a quick wipe of the surface using a paper towel. Use the soapy warm water method for stubborn food stains and rinse with clean water.
Oil and Grease
Accidental grease stains can land on composite cladding due to grilling in the summer. Use the soapy warm water method to wash away any grease stains.
Hard Water Stains
Hard water stains directly result from rainwater followed by sunshine that could cause white streaks on cladding when the water evaporates. The white streaks are caused by a combination of lime, silica and calcium.
White vinegar is pretty effective in removing the hard water stain buildups. Leave the white vinegar for a few minutes on the stain before gently washing it away with water.
How To Clean Composite Cladding
What You Need
- Soft-bristled brush
- Mild dish soap (ammonia-free)
- Warm Water
Mix the mild liquid dish soap into a bucket of warm water. Before washing your composite, rinse the cladding with a hose to remove any stubborn dust and debris. Gently start scrubbing your composite cladding with a soft-bristled brush and hot soapy water. Rinse the composite cladding.
Pressure Washing Composite Cladding
Composite cladding can be washed using a pressure washer. Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to avoid damaging the surface layer of composite cladding boards. Avoid using a pressure washer on uncapped composite cladding boards since they are much softer than capped composite cladding and could be damaged in the process.
- Ensure that the pressure washer has a fan tip nozzle. The fan tip disperses the water evenly and prevents a concentration of specific areas that could damage the protective surface layer of the composite cladding board.
- Never exceed the pressure washing setting of 1,500 pounds per square inch (PSI). Exceeding the PSI limit could cause unsightly and irreparable scratches and cuts on the composite cladding boards.
- Keep the pressure washer at a safe distance from the cladding, at least 20 to 30 centimetres away from the cladding.
- Always follow the direction of the grain when using the pressure washer. Failing to do so could cause damage to the surface and cut and scratch the cladding.
Note: There is a difference between a power washer and a pressure washer. Never use a power washer on composite cladding. Power washers rely on hot water and steam, and using a power washing on such a high heat setting could cause the splatters of water to drop and fall on you, burning yourself in the process. Always use proper safety precautions when using a pressure washer.
Routine Maintenance and Cleaning
Composite cladding is low-maintenance and only needs to be washed and maintained about twice a year. Avoid washing your composite cladding with hot soapy water on very hot days. The soap and water could dry quickly and leave behind residue. Instead, wash your exterior composite cladding in sections and rinse to avoid streaks and residue buildup.
Hard Water Staining
A quick and easy way to remove hard water stains is to add distilled white vinegar with a little baking soda and lemon to the water and wash the affected area to remove the residue caused by hard water stains. Rinse the area and allow it to dry naturally.
Although composite cladding is highly stain-resistant, dirt and debris from dust and pollen can stick to the cladding. Use warm water, liquid dish soap, and a soft-bristled brush to scrub tough, stubborn stains gently.
Scuff Marks and Scratches
Use soap and water to remove scuff marks and scratches from composite materials. If the scratches are deep, use sandpaper with 60 to 80 grit to remove the scratches. Do not scrub down too hard on the outdoor surface; you could cause more harm to your composite cladding.
Oil and grease stains can be washed away using liquid dish soap and warm water.
Algae, Moss, Mildew and Mould Growth
Weather conditions like wet and rainy weather and pollen dust and debris can cause composite cladding to grow environmental issues like surface mildew, algae and mould.
Mould, algae, moss, and mildew thrive in humid and damp environments. Unlike wood cladding, mildew does not penetrate and absorb into the boards but remains on the surface of composite cladding and decking. To remove the mould and mildew growth, use the warm soapy water method or a pressure washer.
Note: Avoid mould and mildew surface cleaners as they contain harsh chemicals. If you prefer a cleaner, make sure it is the right surface cleaner for composite cladding.
What Not To Do When Cleaning Composite Boards
Cleaning and maintaining your composite cladding is a relatively simple task, and some products can cause issues and damage your cladding. Please avoid the following:
Avoid Bleach and Bleach Products
Avoid using bleach on composite cladding and composite decking. Chlorine bleach will chip away at the surface of your cladding, causing irreversible damage to the boards.
Harsh industrial cleaners and bleach can cause discolouration to composite cladding and decking surfaces. Cleaning products with Sodium Hypochlorite should be avoided even if it is made for composite materials, it is chlorine bleach.
Use a Fan Tip Nozzle or Soft-bristled brushes.
Always use a fan nozzle or a soft-bristled brush when using a pressure washer. Hard bristles can cause scratches on the surface of your cladding.
Never Write on Composite Cladding
Writing on composite cladding causes discolouration. Coloured chalk is the main cause of discolouration, whereas white chalk does not affect the boards. Chalk stains are the hardest to remove, and warm soapy water or a composite cladding cleaner is not enough to remove the chalk stains.
Can you power wash cladding?
Pressure washing composite cladding is a safer option compared to using a power washer. Composite cladding in hard-to-reach areas will cause water to splatter, and power washers use hot water, which is a hazard and can cause you to burn yourself.
How do you remove tannin from composite cladding and decking?
Tannins are natural wood oils used in the manufacturing of composite materials. Extraction bleeding is the process where tannins begin to bleed, and this usually happens within the first six months after installation. Use warm soapy water to remove the bleeding caused by tannins.
Can you use vinegar on composite?
Distilled vinegar is safe to use on composite cladding; however, it must be diluted with water to remove stains and dirt effectively.
Is baking soda a non-abrasive cleaner?
Baking soda is a non-abrasive cleaner that is safe for composite cladding and decking.
Although composite cladding is a no-fuss, low-maintenance product compared to wood materials, it still needs some form of upkeep to ensure its longevity and durability but this is definitely an easy task compared to other cladding alternatives.
Buy our low-maintenance and no-fuss composite cladding today and make your home’s exterior look effortlessly stylish!