how to restore composite decking
Kristina Davis

When wood-rich composite decking fades and becomes weathered, it may be time to learn how to restore composite decking.

Composite decking is a wise investment with its long lifespan and minimal upkeep requirements.

It allows you to appreciate the great outdoors and can potentially improve your quality of life in other ways.

But, in time, though, any deck will deteriorate. The deck’s durability will suffer if it is not properly cared for.

Even though composite decking lasts much longer than wooden decks, you will eventually have to learn how to restore old composite decking.

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Restoring your composite decking involves clearing the deck, using a cleaner, scrubbing it, and removing any stains. 

The Factors Causing Composite Decking To Fade

the factors that cause fading

Restoration of composite decking can take a lot of time and effort.

Therefore, it makes much more sense to be proactive and ensure it does not get faded quickly.

To fix the issue and stop it from happening again, you must first identify the root cause of the fading of the composite surface. 

You may break down the fading of composite decking into four primary reasons: 

Extreme Heat

its extreme heat

Constant exposure to light and heat is a major cause of decking losing its color, which is true for both wooden and composite decking.

When composites fade, they only lighten in tone. However, prolonged exposure to sunlight can weather wood to a silvery gray color. 

Low-Quality Material

low quality materials

Ideally, you should make no compromises over the quality of the decking material.

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You should understand that decking material with a lower quality rating is more likely to fade over time.

The boards themselves may be to blame for their deterioration if you choose low-quality ones.

Composite decking materials from earlier generations can fade more quickly than modern composites.

Therefore, it is essential to research and only go with a renowned brand. 

Inadequate Maintenance

Inadequate Maintenance cleaning

It is also possible that the fading of your deck results from a lack of upkeep.

Several issues might arise from ignoring your deck, including premature fading. But other things can also go wrong, like molding and rotting. 

Improper Use of Cleaning Materials

improper use of cleaning materials

Sometimes, you know you have to clean and care for your deck regularly, but you make a mistake when choosing the best cleaning solutions.

You should be careful with the cleaning supplies you use on your deck.

For instance, chlorine bleach or other caustic cleaning agents can ruin your deck. It will cause the color to fade quickly.

Tip: Be sure to use gentle cleaners, or you may peel off the protective layer of a capped or protected composite deck. 

How To Restore Composite Decking With Ease

decking restore with ease

Now that you know what could damage your beautiful deck, you can always take special care and avoid those mistakes to prolong its life.

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But, no matter what you do, there will be times when you have to restore your decking.

It is often better to hire a professional or ask a restoration company to help fix your composite decking.

👍 But if you have time and are ready to do the hard work, you can do it yourself. 

Begin With Deck Clearance

starting with deck clearance

If your decking has faded, deck clearance is the first step in fixing it. What it means is that you need to remove anything you may have placed there.

It might include flower pots, furniture, or electric appliances. Removing debris at this stage is essential too.

Following the completion of the deck’s cleanup, sweep away any remaining debris.

You have to clear the debris off of every individual piece of decking.

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Knowing that mold can form in decks because of cleaning residue is essential. 

Make a Homemade Cleaner

making homemade cleaner

To restore your deck, you will have to clean it using an efficient cleaner.

You can find many commercially made cleaners, but trying your own is just as simple.

There is nothing tricky about preparing a homemade cleaner. 

You simply need two things:

  • A gallon of warm water
  • 2 tbsp of dish soap

Simply mix dish soap in warm water, and that is it!

If you are also up against some mold, add a cup of baking soda and half a cup of vinegar to the mix. Just spray it on your decking and leave it there for a while.

Tip: Take some care when selecting a dish soap, as it should not contain any ammonia, or it may cause damage to your composite deck. 

Remove the Cleaner

removing the cleaner

Once you have waited a few minutes, it is time to do the hard work. You must scrub your deck thoroughly to restore it to its original glory.

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You do not need to worry about scrubbing because most decking materials naturally resist stains.

But, if the mold pigments remain after washing, clean the deck with a soft bristle brush. All of the discolorations on your decking will go after a good scrub. 

Rinse It Properly

rinsing the deck properly

Once you have removed all the stains, you need to rinse the deck cleaner to eliminate debris and mold.

When rinsing, preventing water from pooling on the deck is crucial, or you will end up dealing with bigger problems. 

Depending on the condition of your deck, it is sometimes better to call in a pro.

They utilize a pressure washer with 3100 psi when cleaning your deck.

Moreover, there is often a little fan at the end of the pressure washer to prevent wet spots on the deck from setting in. 

Removing Stains To Restore Composite Decking

remove stains to restore

While restoring, you might have to deal with various types of stains.

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While the restoration process remains the same, you might need to use slightly different tactics to deal with specific stains. 

For instance: 

Dealing With Mold Staining

deal with mold staining

Your composite decking is mold-resistant by design, but mold can still grow on it if the conditions are correct and it is not maintained.

Mold thrives in wet, warm air and is fueled by organic matter such as pollen, soil, and fallen leaves.

Simply use the homemade deck cleaner and spray generously on affected areas.

Then use a soft brush to get rid of any mold. Ensure you do not scrub vigorously, or it might damage the deck. 

Hard Water Staining

the hard water staining

Mineral deposits left behind after cleaning your composite deck with hard water might give the impression of fading.

If you do not have access to soft water, it is essential to dry the deck surface by hand after cleaning it or make use of water-softening tablets.

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But in case you already notice some discoloration, you can try ways to clear it.  

What To Do?

consider this one

Scrub the affected planks with a solution of warm soapy water.

To help remove any remaining surface residue, you should jet wash the affected area once again.

To make it work faster, consider applying a composite decking brightener made to eliminate any lingering oils from the boards. 

An Important Consideration

this is important

If you notice any white streaks on your new composite decking, you should not worry about it.

In most cases, it goes away naturally within 6-8 weeks of use.

Tip: You can also use the same warm soapy water solution to remove white streaks caused by residual oils. 

Dealing With Rubber Mat Stains

deal with rubber mat stains

Safety and health benefits aside, rubber mats may contain chemicals that stain your composite deck.

In this case, it is best to replace the rubber mat with something else and give the deck a good cleaning. 

Dealing With Ice Stains

facing the ice stains

Although snow is less likely to discolor your composite decking, improper removal techniques could cause some damage.

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You should never use anything other than rock salt or calcium chloride to chip away at the ice.

Similarly, you should always dig using a plastic shovel to be on the safe side.

using a plastic shovel

It is essential because the soft surface of your composite deck is easily scratched by metal shovels and dulled by abrasive chemicals.

Tip: To avoid facing trouble, treat any stain as soon as you notice it on your deck, as the longer you wait, the more stubborn it becomes. 


Learning how to restore composite decking can help you considerably prolong its lifespan.

You have to be careful with your composite deck maintenance, but eventually, you will be up against some discoloration.

Be sure to restore your deck using basic techniques, and never opt for a strong chemical to remove any stains.

If in doubt, let a professional help you with composite decking restoration.