If you’ve recently installed composite cladding onto your home, you may be wondering how you’re supposed to keep it clean and looking its best.
Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to do so, and you won’t need to spend much time cleaning it. Like composite decking, the simple maintenance requirements of composite cladding will save you time and money over the course of its service life.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at the best ways to clean your composite cladding so that you can keep it looking spick and span.
How Much Maintenance Does Composite Cladding Need?
One of the great benefits of composite materials is that they require very little maintenance. Like composite decking, composite cladding boards are made from a mixture of wood and recycled plastic, which makes them naturally durable.
Unlike other wood materials, they don’t need to be sealed or painted to shield them from the elements, and they’re resistant to rot, mould, fading, and warping.
However, composite boards still need to be cleaned occasionally to keep them looking their best.
The Standard Cleaning Process
Generally, you’ll need to clean your composite cladding around once every 3 to 6 months. This is necessary to clean off any accumulated mud, dirt, leaves, and stains that will naturally build up on any outdoor surface over time.
For routine cleaning, we’d recommend using warm, soapy water and a soft-bristled brush to gently remove any surface layer of dirt from the length of your composite cladding.
If there’s an excessive build-up of debris on the cladding, then it’s best to use a power washer instead to remove it. The jet wash that you choose shouldn’t have a PSI that’s greater than 3100, as this would be too powerful to use on composite cladding.
When pressure washing, you should also keep the power washer at least 250mm away from the surface of the cladding. It’s also recommended that you use the fan attachment to give your composite cladding a deeper clean.
Always be sure that you clean right the way along the length of the boards to avoid the accumulation of debris that may block the drainage of your composite cladding.
Although our composite cladding is manufactured to the highest standards, there may still be some residual oils that remain present within the boards. It’s possible that this may lead to the appearance of white streaks after the boards have been installed.
However, these streaks will gradually disappear over time once the boards have been exposed to the outdoor elements. Usually, they will be completely gone within six to eight weeks, particularly if there’s been a lot of rainfall.
If you’d prefer to remove these streaks more quickly, then it’s very easy to do so. You can use warm water, soap, and a soft brush to clean the affected area, which should mostly or completely remove the streaks.
Or, you can use pressure washing to blast the streaks off the boards. If you choose this method, be sure to follow the methods above so that you don’t damage the finish of the composite cladding boards.
You can also use a high-quality composite decking brightener on composite cladding, as these are specifically designed to remove any oils that may be left on the boards after the manufacturing process.
When removing stubborn spot stains such as grease stains and oil marks, you should usually be able to use the same cleaning methods that we outlined in the standard cleaning section.
However, there are other effective stain removal techniques that you can use for particularly stubborn oil and grease stains.
You can buy water-based cleaners, which are designed to clean grease and oil stains off composite decking and cladding. These cleaners usually just need to be added to soapy water and then applied to the composite cladding with a soft brush.
If the stains are really bad and can’t be removed using the above methods, then you can try lightly sanding the stained area to remove the oil or grease.
However, this should only be a last resort as we don’t recommend that you sand our composite cladding, as this could cause damage to the outer shell. Our composite panels are highly stain-resistant, and deep stains are very rare.
The best way to deal with stains is to make sure that you clean them away within the first seven days of them occurring. If you do this, it should be fairly straightforward to remove them.
Mildew And Mould Growth
Both composite decking and cladding are very resistant to mould and mildew, and this shouldn’t be much of an issue. However, it’s still possible that some surface mildew and mould may appear on the boards over time.
This is true of any surface that is exposed to the elements, and as long as it’s cleaned away, it won’t result in any staining.
The best way to avoid mould or mildew accumulating on your composite cladding is to stick to a regular cleaning schedule. This will avoid any build-up of mould or mildew and keep your boards looking spotless.
The Ideal Cleaning Agent For Composite Cladding
There are a number of cleaning agents that you can use when cleaning your composite cladding but sodium percarbonate is possibly the best choice. It’s a high-quality oxygen bleach that breaks down to sodium carbonate, water, and oxygen as it decomposes.
This makes it an eco-friendly choice as it doesn’t contaminate the water table, and it decomposes quickly.
It is also a very powerful cleaning agent which can be used for stain removal, bleaching, and deodorizing. You can use it on both composite decking and cladding, and it effectively kills fungi, bacteria, algae, and viruses.
Another benefit of sodium percarbonate is that it won’t damage the colours of your composite cladding as it is considered to be a colour-safe agent.
Cleaning your composite cladding with sodium percarbonate is very straightforward. Here are some handy tips for doing it effectively:
- Firstly, clear away any debris from the composite cladding.
- Then, take a litre of warm water and dissolve around 50 grams of sodium percarbonate into it.
- Apply this to the composite cladding surface and leave for between 30 to 60 minutes.
- Then, give it a good scrub with a soft brush.
- Once you’ve done this, rinse the solution away with some fresh water.
- Make sure you only brush small areas at a time.
- If you notice that the foam starts to turn black or grey, don’t worry. This is just the dirt being removed and not the colouring in your composite cladding.
Cleaning Composite Cladding Vs Cleaning Wood Cladding
Aside from composite, the other most popular type of cladding is wood cladding. Whilst it can be aesthetically pleasing, wood cladding is much harder to maintain than composite cladding and needs to be cleaned more often.
If wood cladding isn’t properly maintained and cleaned, then it can quickly start to lose its colour and begin to look old and dilapidated.
Unlike composite cladding, wood cladding is actually quite difficult to clean yourself, and many people choose to hire a professional cleaner to do it for them. This is an extra cost that you wouldn’t have to consider if you had composite cladding instead.
The main way of making wood cladding more manageable is to treat it so that it doesn’t collect as much moisture and dirt as it usually does. This is costly, time-consuming and will need to be re-applied fairly often.
Many of the treatments that are used for wood cladding are also harmful to the environment as they are washed away by rainwater into the soil. This contributes to land and water pollution.
Eco-friendliness is another advantage that composite cladding has over wood cladding, as composite doesn’t need to be treated.
Can I paint my composite cladding?
We strongly recommend that you don’t paint any of our composite cladding panels. Composite cladding is manufactured to be resistant to rot and has a high level of water resistance. This means that it is not necessary to paint it to give it protection from the elements.
If you were to paint it, this would also mean that its maintenance requirements would be greatly increased as you would have to re-paint it on a regular basis.
How long does composite cladding last?
On average, composite cladding lasts for between 25 and 30 years. This means that it lasts for much longer than wood cladding and doesn’t need to be replaced often.
Our composite cladding panels and boards come with 25-year warranties, so you can be confident that your cladding will last for a very long time.
Does composite cladding fade?
The plastic polymers that are used to manufacture composite materials mean that they’re highly resistant to UV light and fading. Although the panels will fade slightly during the first few months of their service life, this is something that will stop over time.
Can I use bleach on composite cladding?
You should never use bleach to clean your cladding. This chemical is too harsh and can cause damage to the structure of the panels. Using bleach may also lead to discolouration in the panels that could be permanent.
There are plenty of cleaning products that are designed for use on composite cladding, so using bleach will never be necessary.
It’s Time To Invest In Ecoscape’s Composite Cladding Today
Whether you want to cover up a tired brick veneer, add better insulation to your home, or even add value to your property, our range of cladding can offer you the solutions you’re looking for.
All of our composite cladding panels and boards are low-maintenance, UV-resistant, water-resistant and much more.
Starting at just £55.88 per square metre, there are plenty of affordable options to suit all budgets. Our panels and boards are also very easy to install, and you won’t need to pay extra for specialist installation.
So, why not request a free quote or sample today?