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How to Care for Wood and Composite Deck Tiles

Easy to install and care for, wood and composite deck tiles are made for long-term convenience. However, they still require a regular maintenance regimen to keep your outdoor space looking its best. Here are simple cleaning steps for preserving your new deck tile’s beautiful appearance:

Wash dirt and debris

“Avoid scratching deck tiles by only using soft sponges.”

Because your deck tiles are outdoors, they’re exposed to the elements and will collect dirt and debris, from tracked mud to fallen leaves. Fortunately, cleaning off your deck tiles is easy. Simply wash the area with mild soap and water. If you’re concerned that the soap is too harsh, gently work a small amount into a corner of the tile just to see how the chemical impacts it. If no discoloration occurs, you can use the soap on your entire deck.

You can scrub with a mop that has a sponge head. Avoid scratching the tiles by only using a soft, spongy surface. After mopping, rinse with a garden hose.

Clean grease and oil

Spills happen, especially if you entertain friends and family on your deck with backyard grilling parties. If you drop greasy, oily foods or other substances on your deck tiles, clean them up right away. Fast action can help prevent staining.

First wipe up the source of the grease. Then wash with a gentle sponge or cloth, and soap and water. If the oil persists, you can clean it using a decking stain remover. Always be sure to read the label to make sure you pick a stain remover that’s compatible with your decking. Additionally, test the stain remover on a small area first, noting any discoloration. Should you see an issue, don’t use that cleaner and find another.

Tannin leaching

As with all wood-based products, wood and composite deck tiles are susceptible to tannin leaching. A tannin is a natural preservative that occurs in all wood and many species of plants. When this organic substance comes in contact with iron in a wet environment, it can turn your wood a darker color. This is called tannin leaching. Prevent this by keeping iron furniture off your deck and sweeping leaves right away, as they contain trace amounts of iron that could interact with the wood.

If a stain occurs, you can remove it. While sanding normally works for wood, it’s not advisable to sand deck tiles. Instead, you may treat the deck with oxalic or phosphoric acid, though you might want a professional to do the job. Oxalic and phosphoric acid are tough deck brighteners.

It’s important to note that some tannin leaching is normal for wood-based deck tiles as they are made from natural materials.

Scuffs, rust and other stains

You can leave scuffs from dragging your shoes while walking on deck tiles, moving furniture or otherwise pulling something over the material. Most of the time, these marks will eventually vanish on their own. However, if a scuff or abrasion persists, apply a deck brightener.

Also use a deck brightener to treat stains caused by rust, ground-in dirt, etc.

deck-tilesSweep your deck tile regularly to prevent leaves from staining it.

Mold and mildew

Most deck tile materials resist the growth of mold and mildew, but about twice a year, you should thoroughly clean your deck tiles to further protect them from this type of damage. Spring and fall are popular times to wash the deck, as the weather is nice and most homeowners do large cleaning projects anyway.

When you do deep clean your deck, it’s often recommended to wash it with a deck cleaner that contains sodium hypochlorite. You can find that in the ingredients list. Always follow the instructions on your chosen cleaner.

Salt and winter

If you use salt to melt ice and snow on your deck, be sure to clean it off when spring arrives. The salt can leave marks if left too long. Additionally, be careful when shoveling ice and snow. Do not push the shovel into the tiles, but move parallel to the surface instead. You can use a plastic shovel in place of a metal one, as it’s less likely to damage the tiles.

Other tips

In addition to treating scuffs and stains, and regularly cleaning your deck tiles, you can use these tips to help maintain the material:

  • Never use a pressure washer, as it can harm the deck.
  • Keep a couple extra, unused tiles on hand to use for testing deck cleaners and brighteners – if the chemical stains the tile, you know not to use it on your deck.
  • Avoid sanding – marks left by sanding aren’t covered under certain warranties.

With these tips and tricks, you’ll keep your new deck tiles in excellent condition.

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