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If Low-Maintenance Doesn't Mean "No-Maintenance," What Exactly Do You Need To Do?

Are you one of the many Dayton and Cincinnati-area homeowners who, upon having a low-maintenance deck installed, shifts to a “no-maintenance” mindset? If you added a low-maintenance composite deck to your home, was it for the look and feel of the boards, or the color options, or was it primarily for the low-maintenance aspect?

Unfortunately, many homeowners have the misconception that low-maintenance decking materials need absolutely no cleaning or maintenance. Ever. Or that they can let Mother Nature do the work for them … every time it rains. That’s like rinsing, isn’t it? Dayton and Cincinnati deck builder Archadeck of West Central & Southwest Ohio is here to tell you the answer is “no.”

TimberTech Deck
— Dayton TimberTech by Archadeck of West Central & Southwest Ohio

The reality is that composite and synthetic decks do not clean themselves, nor does Mother Nature get the job done. While these low-maintenance materials require nowhere near the amount of work to maintain as wood decks do, they do require some simple, routine care to keep them looking great. Dirt is carried by wind and rain and eventually lands on your deck. It spatters up from the ground. And rain doesn’t clean dirt.

Multi-level deck

Here are some general guidelines for ways to keep your low-maintenance deck looking its best:

• Whenever leaves and other organic matter collect on your deck, sweep or blow them off.
• Keep debris from settling into cracks between the decking boards. Remove debris with water from a hose.
• At least twice per year, clean your deck with mild soapy water to remove pollen, everyday dirt and organic debris.
• Unless your decking manufacturer provides guidelines for pressure-washing your deck, including psi, do not use a pressure washer to clean it.
• Clean up spills as soon as you notice them.
• Follow the manufacturer’s specific recommendations for cleaning up oil, grease, mold or mildew.
• Never sand the deck to remove spills.
• Never use abrasive cleaners on low-maintenance decks.

Archadeck of West Central & Southwest Ohio always recommends you check the decking material manufacturer’s website for specific cleaning instructions. Every brand of decking material is different.

Dog and kid

Using a brush or a rag:

Some manufacturers recommend a natural fiber brush, while others say that is not recommended. Others recommend a plastic bristle deck brush and others, a sponge or rag.

Cleaning material

Recommended cleaners:

Most all manufacturers recommend cleaning the deck with a dilution of mild liquid dishwashing detergent and water.

Tips for cleaning low-maintenance decks effectively:

When it’s time to perform that twice-a-year cleaning, these tips should help.

• Check the decking manufacturer’s recommendation for which cleaning products to use.
• Spray the deck with a hose to remove dirt from the surface (not with a pressure washer).
• Always read and follow the instructions given by the cleaning product manufacturer for use of their product on decks.
• Test a cleaner on a scrap piece or inconspicuous area of the deck to make sure it does not harm the surface.
• Always clean smaller, manageable areas and rinse often.
• Scrub gently with a sponge, rag or manufacturer-recommended brush type.
• Do not allow cleaner or soap residue to dry prior to rinsing thoroughly.
• Avoid cleaning in direct sunlight because the surface will dry too quickly. You don’t want it to dry before you can rinse the cleanser off thoroughly.
• Rinse area thoroughly with water after scrubbing.
• Never mix two or more cleaning agents when cleaning your deck.

Archadeck of West Central & Southwest Ohio can help you keep any deck clean

If low-maintenance is still too much maintenance for you—which we completely understand!—we offer an outdoor living space clean & protection service to keep your deck (and all your outdoor structures), looking great.

Person sitting on a deck

If you have a wood deck and are tired of performing maintenance yourself, including cleaning and sealing, we offer a cleaning service for wood decks, too.

We have the appropriate cleaning products based on what material your deck is made of. Our cleaning solutions are safe, environmentally-friendly and biodegradable.

If you are interested in adding a low-maintenance deck or wood deck to your outdoor living space, we can design it, build it and help you keep it clean and looking great. Contact us today at (937) 563-4847.

Roger Miller, owner Archadeck of West Central & Southwest Ohio
Roger Miller, owner, Archadeck of West Central & Southwest Ohio.