When it comes to low-maintenance decking materials, few can beat vinyl. It’s hardy, fade-resistant, and easy to clean, making it an all-around winner in a variety of respects. That being said, no part of your home’s exterior is without care requirements altogether—if you want it to last, that is. And even though vinyl decks are pretty relaxed in this respect, there still is a rhyme and a reason for how to care for them.
Tony’s Lifetime Exteriors, your favorite Sauk Rapids deck builders, are here to shed some light on this subject. Below, you’ll learn how to care for your vinyl deck, whether it’s new or old—and you’ll also learn what to steer clear of.
Regular Cleanings: What to Do
Rest assured vinyl doesn’t tend to accumulate dirt quickly. According to SFGate, twice-yearly cleanings should suffice to keep it looking its best. The same source also cites a very simple way to clean it: a good sweeping, a good spray-down, a bucket of water and mild detergent, and a good wash and rinse later and your deck will be as good as new.
There’s no need to reach for the pressure washer for this one. A little gentle elbow grease and a bristle brush should suffice if you’ve kept up with your cleaning, and it’s much less risky.
Pressure washers are powerful machines, and as a siding company, we know they should stay far away from vinyl siding; we recommend the same for your vinyl deck.
Stains: The Lowdown
Vinyl is immensely stain-resistant; there’s a reason it’s a homeowner-favorite decking material. That being said, with enough bad luck or negligence, your vinyl can still become discolored. What specifically causes this? And what are you to do if the stain simply won’t lift?
Rust is a common culprit when it comes to vinyl deck stains. Though the material itself obviously doesn’t rust, appliances left outside and certain pieces of deck decor can leave some nasty red marks. Food and drink stains are also run-of-the-mill, as your vinyl deck is no doubt a popular location for family gatherings.
On top of all that, mold can also take up residence, though it’s not nearly as destructive as it is with a poorly maintained wooden deck.
Finally, never use rubber-backed mats on your vinyl deck. Despite how cute that welcome rug may be, the yellow stain you’ll find when you lift it after a time is certainly anything but. It’s something that’s as easy to avoid as reading the tag when you pick the mat up from the store, but once the stain appears, it’s all but impossible to remove.
What to Do About Stains
First, try the cleaning method denoted above; this should be enough to dislodge and eliminate any stain that hasn’t set. If the problem is an older one, though, you’ll need to use more specialized measures—but not before reading your decking manufacturer’s instructions.
Each material is different and interacts with different cleaners as such. The manufacturer might recommend a preferred product that will have the best effect—and don’t apply anything to your deck installation before you know for a fact that it won’t make the problem worse!
On that note, plenty of deck cleaners are commercially available, and they may do a fine job on those tough-to-remove spots. Avoid abrasive products, though, as they can wear down your decking. Bleach is also a no-no, as it doesn’t play well with vinyl decking in general.
As far as tools go, a gently rotating brush is great if you don’t want to or can’t put in the physical work needed to scrub out a stain. Just be careful not to get too tough with it. Vinyl is strong, but like any decking material, it doesn’t appreciate excess force.
Regular Inspections Are Paramount
Your deck has little to no protection from the elements; therefore, to some degree, it’s designed from a material standpoint to weather them. Plus, if you invest in the skills of a quality deck builder, the end product should be immensely structurally sound.
That being said, nobody can plan for everything, so it’s important that you inspect your dect at minimum on a seasonal basis to check for damage.
What sorts of damage? Stains, of course, which we’ve already covered—but primarily you’ll be looking for broken seals, caulk that has pulled away from surfaces, weathered hardware, and boards that have suffered cracks or dents.
Cracks and dents can be fixed with patch jobs, but generally speaking, it’s much safer and much less of a hassle to just get a new board altogether. You’ll also most likely find it more affordable in the long run, too, as denting to this sturdy material happens so infrequently.
Tony’s Lifetime Exteriors: Vinyl Deck Installation Pros
Whether vinyl or wood is more your speed, our deck experts are ready and waiting to build you the outdoor space of your dreams. To learn more about your opportunities with us, reach our Sauk Rapids office now at 320-252-9086.