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Maintaining your composite cladding is crucial for preserving its aesthetic appeal and ensuring its longevity. While composite materials are designed to be low-maintenance, they are not ‘no-maintenance’ and require simple cleaning to retain their surface appearance and structural strength. Within this article, we will outline the necessary steps to maintain your composite cladding correctly and safely to avoid damaging your boards and extend the longevity of your cladding.

Simple steps to maintaining your composite cladding:

  1. Regular Cleaning:

One of the simplest yet effective maintenance practices for composite cladding is regular cleaning. Use warm soapy water (no ammonia dish soap) or a specialised composite cleaner, and apply it with a soft brush or cloth. This helps remove dirt, debris, and mildew that can accumulate over time. Routine cleaning not only enhances the appearance of your cladding but also prevents potential issues caused by the build-up of moisture and bacteria. 

  1. Avoid Harsh Chemicals:

When cleaning composite cladding, steer clear of abrasive or harsh chemicals. These can damage the protective surface layer and compromise the material’s structural integrity. Stick to mild, non-abrasive cleaning solutions recommended by the manufacturer to ensure safe and effective maintenance. Never use products that contain bleach and always test any products on your cladding boards in an inconspicuous area first. 

  1. Inspect for Damage:

Periodically inspect your composite cladding for any signs of damage, such as cracks, chips, or loose panels. Promptly addressing these issues can prevent water infiltration and maintain the cladding’s waterproofing capabilities. If you notice any damage beyond superficial issues, consult with a professional for proper repair or replacement. 

  1. Inspect Fasteners or screws

Some composite cladding systems utilise clips to install their boards whereas others you can simply drill into your batten. Make sure to examine any fasteners used to secure the composite cladding panels or screws to spot any damage that might have occurred over time. Sometimes, fasteners may loosen due to temperature fluctuations or incorrect installation. Tighten any loose screws or fasteners to maintain the structural integrity of the cladding system. Be careful not to cause damage to your cladding boards.

  1. Prevent Mould and Mildew Growth:

Composite cladding is resistant to mould and mildew, but it’s not entirely immune to its growth. Ensure that the area around your cladding is well-ventilated to discourage mould and mildew growth. Trim nearby vegetation if needed and keep the cladding clean to prevent the accumulation of organic matter that could foster mildew. Mould will grow in wet areas so where possible aim to keep it dry.

  1. Avoid Pressure Washing:

While cleaning is essential, avoid using high-pressure washers on your composite cladding. The force of high-pressure water can potentially damage the surface and compromise the protective layer. Stick to gentler cleaning methods to safeguard the integrity of the cladding. If you do opt for a pressure washer then make sure to use it as a safe distance away from the cladding surface (at least 30cm away) and on a low setting.

  1. Address Stains Promptly:

If you notice any stains on your composite cladding, address them promptly. Common stains like oil, grease, or food can be tackled with appropriate cleaning solutions. Prompt stain removal helps maintain the cladding’s appearance and prevents long-term discolouration or staining.

  1. Follow Manufacturer Guidelines:

Always refer to the maintenance guidelines provided by the manufacturer of your composite cladding. Different products may have specific recommendations, and following these instructions ensures that you are caring for your cladding in a manner consistent with its design and composition. This will also ensure you stick within your warranty.

Conclusion

By following these techniques, you can be sure that your composite cladding will reach and even extend its lifespan and look its best for decades. Remember not to utilise harsh chemicals or bleaches when cleaning as this will distort the appearance of your composite cladding and can even alter its structural integrity, leading to costly and time-consuming repairs.

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