When vinyl siding was gaining serious traction in popularity during the 1970s and 1980s, one of the main claims and attractions was that “it never had to be painted.” Just think, say goodbye to your painting tools. Unfortunately, too many homeowners made the assumption, maybe with the assistance of unscrupulous salespeople, that not needing to be painted equated to “Maintenance Free.” Tens and hundreds of thousands of homeowners slowly realized within 2 – 10 years of installation that mildew and fungus readily attach and grow on vinyl siding and unless greenish brown was their color of choice, their siding needed periodic cleaning. The need for maintenance, however, does not make it a bad product – it just wasn’t as maintenance free as they thought.
History seems to be repeating itself, this time with composite decking. While these materials are flaunted as “never needing staining,” they most definitely need maintenance.
First, like all new innovations, some of the first models available are lacking the full potential of the innovation. Such it was with composite decking. Early brands were subject to modestly rapid deterioration. I have personally viewed installations that were failing so badly, I could gouge out an 1/8″ to 1/4″ with just my finger nails.
Fortunately, the brands have evolved and are much more rugged now. However, even the newest and best composite decks are still subject to accumulating mildew, fungus, and sludge, especially through the wet winters we have in the Portland Oregon area. Additionally, as they are still generally porous materials, they are subject to embedded stains occurring on them. Both stains from “natural sources”, such as mildew, or stains from introduced sources, such barbecue grease can leave a lasting negative impression on a very expensive part of your home.
All Surface maintains quite a few composite decks. Some just require being gentle washed. Others get washed then treated with a stain repellent, much as you might have done to your carpet. Some stain manufacturers have even developed lines of deck stains uniquely developed for composite decks. Why? Because unlike wood, with a composite deck, once you chose your color you have to stick with it.
Obviously, most homeowners like to make changes from time to time, especially with the exterior color of their homes (unless they have vinyl siding.) Thus the need to be able to change deck color. So if you are considering building or rebuilding a deck, composites are a good, legitimate choice. Just don’t go into one thinking your maintenance days are over. And one final tip – try to avoid mixing of materials, such as a wood floor and a composite railing. That is a sure fire way to increase either the time or cost of maintenance.
If you have a composite deck and want it to look better, please do not hesitate to give All Surface Cleaning Co. a call today.