Installing a decking area on your property can help you to enjoy more of your outside space and, when done correctly, can add value.
Composite decking can be an expensive choice of decking material, but when you consider its benefits, it can prove to be a cost-effective option.
Composite decking materials are long-lasting, durable, and resilient. This means you won’t have to worry about replacing your decking for a considerable time, and it requires minimal maintenance compared to wood decks.
This guide will explore the level of stain resistance that you can enjoy with composite decking boards and how certain stains can be washed off composite decking.
How is Composite Decking Different from Wood Decking?
The first thing you must consider when choosing composite deck boards is what sets them apart from other materials.
You should also realise the composite decking will differ depending on the supplier and individual product.
Clarity Composite Decking
Ecoscape has two composite deck board materials to choose from, Clarity and Forma.
Clarity is the first-generation composite decking option that Ecoscape offers. It is constructed from 45% recycled HDPE and 55% reclaimed wood fibres.
Clarity composite decking won’t split or splinter and comes with a natural wood finish with wide grooves on one side and narrow grooves on the other. The boards have excellent non-slip properties and are available in five colours.
The 20-year warranty will give consumers peace of mind, knowing that their decking will last.
Forma Composite Decking
Ecoscape’s Forma composite decking range is created with co-extrusion technology to create a durable external layer.
The boards come with a wide groove pattern on one side and a wood grain finish on the other.
The core of Forma decking boards is the same as the Clarity range offering an eco-friendly board with reclaimed wood fibres and recycled HDPE.
A durable capping of HDPE wraps the board to give it improved scratch and stain resistance. Special brushing and colour streaking techniques provide Ecoscape products with a finish that stands out from anyone else in the market.
Ecoscape’s Forma composite decking has a warranty of 25 years, making it one of the longest-lasting decking board choices.
Traditional wood decking materials are much more susceptible to stains as they are porous. Wood deck boards must be treated to weatherproof them, and this will give some protection against stains.
Softwood and hardwood offer different levels of durability but come with significantly different costs.
Natural wood decking requires a significant amount of upkeep. Even regular maintenance won’t make it last as long as high-quality composite boards, which sometimes last around twice as long.
How Stain-resistant is Composite decking?
No composite decking is completely stain-resistant. That being said, capped composite decking, like the Ecoscape Forma rage, does offer a level of stain resistance.
Because the thin, durable membrane protects the wood fibres used in capped composite decking, it does not allow the stain to soak as deeply. The capping membrane also provides greater scratch and stain resistance, and acting quickly can occasionally prevent staining completely.
The third-party certification and rigorous testing ensure the quality of Ecoscape decking boards. The high-performance Forma deck boards have a colour guarantee to protect against fading in direct sunlight.
Unlike pure wood materials, composite decking material does not require treatment.
How to Deal with Stains on Composite Deck Boards
Regular cleaning and taking care of products that have the potential to stain should be a priority. Acting quickly if a spill happens should minimise any staining and increase the possibility of being able to remove it.
The following advice will help with some of the most common stains that decking can face;
Mould can occur when decking boards are damp, underlining the importance of proper drainage systems and regularly cleaning your decking.
If mould does start to grow, cleaning it before it can spread is essential as it can leave stains after removal.
Rinse down the decking with a hose after clearing the deck. This will help to remove the mould from the surface.
Scrubbing the area with a solution made from baking soda and vinegar will help to remove the stains left behind.
Allow the solution to sit on the stain for a minute, then use a soft bristle brush to clean the area.
Be sure to hose down the deck after removing any solution, as vinegar can bleach colour if left for too long.
Oil and grease stains from food are relatively straightforward to remove from composite decking.
Hot soapy water should be used to scrub the area before rinsing. Try to get to the stain as quickly as possible to stop it from setting.
Hard water is water that contains a high mineral content. Magnesium and calcium are the two most common minerals found. They can leave a build-up in taps and showerheads and cause problems with washing machines, dishwashers, and other appliances.
Hard water that is used to clean decking can leave behind white deposits.
Dishwasher soap and hot water should be used to scrub the stains to remove them.
Also, filters can improve water quality and minimise the risk of hard water stains.
Animal Droppings and Urine
Even homes without pets can end up with their waste on their deck. Cleaning it off using liquid soap and a soft bristle brush will help to remove it.
Always rinse your deck well after cleaning because soapy residue can leave stains and be slippy.
If you are painting your house or near decking, always ensure it is covered. If the paint does get on the decking, it should be wiped off as quickly as possible with a cloth.
Soap and water can then be used to clean any remaining paint before rinsing thoroughly.
During spring and summer, pollen from nearby trees and plants can land on your decking. This shouldn’t pose any long-term issues but should be dealt with quickly.
Power washing your deck is the best way to completely remove pollen from the decking.
Composite Decking Cleaning Tips
Regular cleaning should help to protect your composite deck from stains. If you have to spot clean an area to prevent staining, it can often be a good idea to clean the entire deck soon after.
The following techniques and tips will help you clean your composite decking and keep it stain-free.
Regular Composite Decking Cleaning
Keeping your deck clean will help you to spot stains more easily, allowing you to deal with them quickly.
This straightforward cleaning technique will typically leave your composite decking looking fresh and clean.
The first thing you will have to do is remove all furnishings to clear the deck. You should then use a soft brush to remove loose debris or dirt from the deck’s surface. Leaves, dirt, and small sticks can get stuck between boards, limiting drainage and causing issues.
Rinse the surface with warm water when the deck has been swept clean. You should use a soft bristle brush, dish soap, and warm water to scrub the floor and grooves between the deck.
After you have scrubbed the entire surface, rinse the deck to remove soap residue and dirt.
Only replace your furnishings when the deck is dry. This will minimise the risk of moisture getting trapped beneath tables or chairs, allowing mould or mildew to grow.
Power Washing Composite Decking
Power washing composite decking can effectively remove dirt, but you should always be careful that you don’t damage the surface.
Using fan tips on a power washer spreads the water and ensures it is not concentrated on too small a section of the decking.
1,500 PSI should be the pressure limit when cleaning your deck surface. Supplier guidelines will advise maximum pressures that can be used, but this is typically adequate.
Keep the power washer at least 6 inches from the deck surface, and don’t clean against the grain. Spraying with the grain down each board at a time minimises the risk of scoring the deck.
A power washer can be a great way to remove stubborn dirt that can stain and help remove dirt from deck board gaps.
Cleaning Snow and Ice from Composite Decking
Removing snow or ice from the decking is relatively straightforward. You should avoid using sand or rock salt to melt snow or ice because this can leave stains on the decking.
Calcium-chloride ice melts can typically be used on composite decking, but you should always check the supplier guidelines.
If you plan to shovel snow from your deck, a plastic snow shovel should be used, so you don’t damage the decking.
Things to Avoid When Cleaning Composite Decking
Never use harsh chemicals or sharp tools to clean capped composite decking, even if it is stained.
Composite decking is typically easier to clean than wood decking, and soap and water usually work well. Cleaning solutions that the supplier doesn’t approve can damage the decking and invalidate warranties.
Are composite deck boards eco-friendly?
Yes, the composite deck boards available at Ecoscape are made using recycled materials, making them an eco-friendly decking option. Recycled plastics and reclaimed wood fibres help to make up composite decking products, minimising plastic production and tree felling needs.
How often should I clean my composite decking?
You should clean composite decking between two and four times a year. If it needs to be cleaned more often, that is fine, but it should be done with a non-abrasive brush and mild dish soap.
How long should composite decking last?
Composite decking should last between 25 and 30 years. However, it can last considerably longer than this when properly maintained.
While composite decks are not completely stain-resistant, some options like capped polymer deck boards offer more protection than wood decking.
Capped composite boards are durable and significantly easier to clean and maintain, making them a popular option in the UK.
Composite boards are a great choice for families and anyone looking for long-lasting, durable decking.