"Understanding Your Home" by Building Inspector Mark Visser
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Rinse off your composite decking periodically with water. Even if your deck appears clean, it is important to prevent build-up of pollen. Mildew stains may occur where moisture, pollens, or dirt are present. Mildew needs a food source to grow, which can be grass, pollens, dirt, debris, wood and wood resins. Using a deck cleaner product is recommended. Follow the manufacturer’s application instructions. Product labels should be read carefully and you may want to contact your decking supplier to make sure that the right product is used for your deck. Chances are that after a thorough cleaning mildew or mold will reappear and the cleaning process will start all over again.

Composite Wood Decking

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Composite wood decking. Composite wood decks. Deck cleaner.

Many older dwellings have a front or wrap-around porch which adds character and charm to the home. Before the age of TV and air conditioning, the porch was a place where families would congregate and meet friends and neighbours. In today's society, activities take place on the ever-popular backyard deck. Style, size and choice of material for the deck depends on your needs, budget and available space.
What is composite wood?

Composite is a non-recyclable lumber or timber made of recycled plastic and wood wastes.
Composite decking is still a very new material compared to the long history of natural lumber such as cedar. Although being highly resistant to rot, composites still soak up water due to their mixing with organic wood fibers.
Resistant to cracking and splitting, composites can be moulded with or without simulated wood grain details.
Even with the wood grain design these materials are still visually easy to distinguish from natural timber as the material is very uniform in color.

Uniform colour of composite decking
Is the use of composite decking a good idea?
My opinion in a nutshell, no. I have never used composite deck boards myself and if I were to build another deck I would use either pressure treated lumber or cedar wood. Let me explain why...

A major selling point of these materials is their lack of need for paint or stain as they are manufactured in a variety of colors, mainly in grays and earth tones. Manufacturers claim that the material is moisture, rot, mildew and mold resistant. However, after inspecting homes for over 25 years I have not seen a composite deck yet that still looked good after five years. Many were discoloured by mildew or mold and even after a good cleaning mildew and/or mold would reappear within a short period. Also, they are not as rigid as wood and may slightly deform in extremely hot weather.

Building permit. It is almost a given that you need a building permit for your deck so, before you start, check with your local building department.

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