Can You Repair and Retouch Composite Decking?

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Wood composite decking, a popular choice for its durability and low maintenance, isn’t immune to time, wear and nature. Scratches, fading, and stains might have you wondering whether it’s possible to repair and retouch these composite decks to their former glory. This blog takes a closer look at the reality of maintaining composite decking, providing insights into what can be fixed and how. We will also shed some light on when you should call in the pros, so join us as we dive into practical solutions to help you keep your deck looking pristine.

Understanding how to maintain and repair composite decking is great for preserving your deck’s appearance and for extending its lifespan. Whether you’re a DIY aficionado or simply looking to keep your deck in tip-top condition (without hiring someone for potentially small jobs), the information here is designed to empower you with knowledge and confidence to handle whatever your composite decking throws at you.

 

Assessing the Damage

We all know that wood composite decking is more durable and requires less maintenance than regular wood materials. That being said, they still suffer from various types of damage as time goes on. Since the ability to repair and retouch composite decking depends on the type and severity of the damage, the first step is to identify the specific issue your deck is experiencing. Some common issues include:

  • Scratches & Scuffs: This type of damage usually occurs from moving furniture around, pet claws, or foot traffic. Scratches and scuffs are often not deep, but can negatively influence the surface appearance of your deck – if left untreated.
  • Stains: When you leave certain substances on your composite deck for too long, it will create a stain. Organic stains can also appear from leaving organic material like leaves, berries, or mould for too long on the deck’s surface.
  • Fading & Discolouration: When your composite decking is exposed to the sun for prolonged periods of time, it can become faded or its colour can simply change. UV rays break down the surface area of wood composite, leaving it looking dull or bleached in some cases.
  • Cracking & Splitting: Remaining in environments with extreme temperature fluctuations for too long can cause wood composite decks to crack or split. This is a less common issue with modern, high-quality composite decks, but it can still occur.
  • Warping & Cupping: Wood Composite Decking planks can warp or cup due to a number of factors. These factors include, but are not limited to, poor installation, poor material quality, and extreme temperature changes. This issue is also less common with modern composite materials, but can still occur.
  • Swelling & Water Damage: Even though wood composite is very resistant to water damage, when subjected to prolonged exposure to moisture you may find that your composite decking is starting to swell (especially near the ends of your decking planks).
  • General Surface Erosion: After a while, the surface of your composite deck may begin to look worn down due to heavy foot traffic. This surface erosion may cause the deck to become more slippery and therefore is dangerous.

 

Repair Techniques

Each type of damage mentioned above requires its own course of action and, depending on the severity of the damage, you might be able to repair it yourself. If you feel like the damage is too great for you to handle, or if you are unsure about your own abilities, we highly recommend that you contact a professional to assist you.

  1. Scratches & Scuffs:
    When the scratches and scuffs on your deck are shallow enough, you will be able to address them with an epoxy-based filler and a putty knife. Ensure that the filler is approved by your deck’s manufacturer. Keep an eye out for the repair kits sold by manufacturers for these jobs; they may just make your life a lot easier.
  2. Stains:
    Stains should be addressed sooner rather than later and most of them can be taken care of with mild soap and water, or a composite decking cleaning solution. For more information on how to remove stains safely, take a look at our blog, Keeping Your Composite Decking Pristine and Stain-Free
  3. Fading & Discolouration:
    Do not apply stains or paint to your deck before consulting the manufacturer as most modern composite decks are not suitable for staining or painting. The best course of action is either to find a colour rejuvenation product and follow the steps of said product or seek professional advice and help. Take preventative measures by considering a deck cover, awnings, or applying a composite deck-specific UV sealant.
  4. Cracking & Splitting:
    Decking boards that are cracked or split to the point where the structural integrity is compromised, will need to be replaced. Replacing a decking board is usually as simple as loosening the fasteners of the damaged board and replacing it with a new board. When the construction of the deck is complex, we recommend getting professional help. Similarly, if the decking board is damaged to the point where you can’t safely remove it yourself, please contact a professional. If the damage on the affected board is minimal, you may be able to repair it following the “Scratches & Scuffs” repair process.
  5. Warping & Cupping:
    Warping and cupping of wood composite decking boards is a rare occurrence, but when it does happen there is very little you can do to save the board. Seeing that wood composite materials make it very difficult to warp, it also makes it very difficult to fix when it does warp. We recommend replacing any decking board that is warped or cupped. Replacing a decking board should, in most cases, be a simple job. When your deck structure is complex or if you can not remove the affected board safely, we recommend that you hire a professional.
  6. Swelling & Water Damage:
    Similar to what was said above, swelling and water damage in wood composite is rare. When it does occur, the same resistances that make swelling and water damage rare in wood composite, make it very difficult to reverse when it does occur. We recommend that you replace any decking boards that are affected by swelling or water damage. Replacing a decking board should, in most cases, be a simple job. When your deck structure is complex or if you can not remove the affected board safely, we recommend that you hire a professional.
  7. General Surface Erosion:
    General surface erosion on composite decking is generally simple to avoid. Regular cleaning, avoiding dragging heavy objects on the surface of your deck, and addressing minor issues early should prevent surface erosion from forming.We do recommend that you contact the manufacturer of your deck or a professional before taking on any DIY work on your composite deck. Wood composite decking is very durable and resistant, thus general cleaning and maintenance should prevent most forms of damage. When damage does occur and is left until it becomes severe, it is recommended to seek professional help.

 

In conclusion, maintaining and repairing composite decking, while challenging at times, is certainly achievable. The key to this lies in early detection and appropriate action. We’ve explored various DIY solutions that can address common issues, but remember, the resilience of composite decking doesn’t make it invincible. That being said, with the right care and attention, your deck will continue to be a robust, attractive feature of your outdoor space. We recommend reaching out to professionals before taking on any DIY jobs as they can provide the expertise needed to keep your composite decking looking pristine for years to come.

If you’re looking for additional tips and guides, feel free to take a look at our various other blogs focused on wood composite decking, or contact us directly with any questions you may have.

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To ensure customer satisfaction, we offer up to a 20-year warranty on all our composite products. 

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