Every great outdoor living space starts with a good plan and a solid foundation—which is what our decking series is all about. In this series, we sit down with our good friend Kevin Kunka of Trex Company to cover some of the ins and outs of executing a successful decking project. Trex is the world’s largest manufacturer of wood-alternative decking products and a veteran in the outdoor living industry. Over the years, the Trex name has become synonymous with quality manufactured decking.
Outdoor living spaces get more wear and tear up here in the Pacific Northwest than in most other parts of the country, which is one of the reasons manufactured decking has become so popular.
One of the most common misconceptions about a manufactured deck board, however, is that it doesn’t require any upkeep. The truth is, no decking product is truly no-maintenance—that said, high-quality manufactured decking boards get pretty darn close.
In this episode of our decking series, Kevin answers valuable questions about how to keep your low-maintenance manufactured deck in great condition. Watch our discussion above or read on for the highlights.
Familiarize yourself with basic deck upkeep
Cleaning your deck on an annual basis will help protect it from all of the rain, wind, and tree debris it’s exposed to throughout the seasons. The most important thing when cleaning your deck is selecting the right cleaning solution—depending on when and how your deck boards were made, they may require a specific cleaning product that won’t damage the surface.
For example, early generation manufactured decking products may require a chemical cleaner, like diluted bleach or a brand-specific cleaning chemical. Most of today’s manufactured decking products have been specially engineered for easy cleaning, and often only require a little soap and water to achieve a thorough clean. Be sure to refer to your owner’s manual or contact the manufacturer to make sure you’re using products that won’t damage your deck.
Manufactured decking can sometimes stand up to the force of a pressure washer. This is something you will want to research thoroughly: Always refer to your owner’s manual to determine the right PSI setting, as well as the correct fan tip and minimum distance from the deck surface when spraying.
Pay special attention to PVC deck boards
If your deck is made of a PVC product, you’ll want to pay special attention to products that contain petroleum. PVC can react to any petroleum-based products, which include anything rubber—doormats, grill mats, hoses, etc.—as well as aerosol products like bug spray and spray-on sunscreen. Over time, petroleum reactions will cause discoloration to the surface of a PVC deck board.
Don’t experiment with deck cleaning products
Kevin urges all manufactured decking owners to always refer to the clean and care guide before using a cleaning product or material on your deck. Using too harsh a chemical or too abrasive a cleaning tool could permanently discolor or damage your deck’s surface.
If you need to experiment—say with removing paint spill or overspray—Kevin encourages testing on a scrap piece of material rather than the finished deck itself.
Protect decks from unfinished construction
On new construction projects, decks are typically built before the interior of the home is finished—making them apt staging areas for finish carpentry jobs. The most durable manufactured decking products, like Trex’s Transcend line, can stand up to heavy machinery; however, other products are softer and can get damaged if they’re not protected.
Before loading up any tools or machinery onto a manufactured deck, Kevin recommends covering the surface with Ram Board to protect the deck from scratching, spills, and stains.
For more trusted knowledge on manufactured decking, be sure to see our ventilation best practices for manufactured decking and get our list of reliable resources for decking project information.