It is easy to maintain your composite cladding. All you need are simple tools like a soft bristle brush and a hose. Add a bit of warm soapy water, and that’s it. The reason composite is low maintenance is that it is made of durable material that lasts longer than wood. Which is fantastic as cladding isn’t always in the most accessible of places.
Another thing about traditional wooden materials like cladding or decking is that they must be treated with chemicals to make them strong. Although wood cladding can be made with naturally strong wood, it is often made with softwood. This softwood, like pine and Spruce, must be treated with chemicals so that it will be resistant to insect attacks and the element of weather.
Even when they are treated, wood will lose its durability after using them for some time. That is why most homeowners must maintain their wood cladding regularly. To give wood the best lifespan you can, it requires extensive maintenance. This includes cleaning, sanding, oiling, staining, or painting.
Composite cladding, on the other hand, is made of synthetic materials. The materials are wood-fibre and plastic. After processing the materials in a factory, the composite cladding board is cut into shapes.
Unlike wood, which the makers treat with chemicals, composite cladding makers don’t treat it with chemicals. The composite boards are naturally strong. So, it doesn’t need all the laborious maintenance of wood cladding. But this does not imply that you will not maintain your composite cladding.
How to Maintain Plastic Wood Cladding
Plastic wood cladding is not maintenance-free. You must maintain your composite cladding to keep it looking its best. Although you don’t have to oil, sand, stain and paint your composite cladding like wood cladding, you still must clean it.
Composite cladding requires cleaning regularly, brushing dirt and debris away, and using warm soapy water, a soft bristle brush and a hose to rinse.
Composite Cladding Damage
There are things you must not do if you want your composite cladding to last longer. What this implies is that preventing your composite cladding from getting damaged is crucial to increasing its longevity.
Never Scratch Your Composite Cladding
Scratching your composite cladding will distort the texture to the extent that removing it will be difficult. Unlike decking, composite cladding is a vertical structure and is unlikely to be affected in the same way as decking. If the finish of your cladding is sanded, then take a steel wool scrubber and gently go over the scratch parallel to the length of the board. This can strip the colour from the board, so care must be taken. If it does lighten the board initially, the weather over time can bring the colours of the board in line. If the finish of your cladding is woodgrain second generation, this can be much trickier. Using a heat gun at 450 degrees Celsius, lightly pass over the scratch 10-15cm away from the board.
It is always recommended that before carrying out either of the methods directly onto your already installed cladding, you perfect your technique on a cut-off or sample first.
Cleaning Your Composite Cladding
Cleaning your composite cladding is the same as maintaining it and is crucial if there is dirt or debris. As this can encourage mould and mildew, which leads to further damage, weakening the cladding.
Removing Mud or Dirt
Removing mud or dirt from the surface of your composite cladding is easy. When dust accumulates on your cladding, it will eventually form dirt. When this happens, it may be necessary to spray your cladding with a hose. Pressure washing your composite cladding will accelerate the process, but you must be careful. The hose must be no more than 25-30cm away from the surface of the cladding and no more than 3000PSI setting. If you do not follow this guide, you can strip the cladding boards colour.
Use warm soapy water with a soft bristle brush to clean the cladding, and rinse with a hose. Never over scrub as this can damage the cladding.
Removing Oil and Grease Stain
Always try to clean the cladding as soon as possible after the oil or grease has come into contact with the cladding board. First, wipe the cladding and then, with warm soapy water and a soft bristle brush, clean the affected area with a hose. If this does not remove the stain, you can try a composite cleaner that is designed to clean grease off composite, like compo-clean, a cleaning degreaser by Owatrol.
Mould and Mildew
Although composite materials like composite cladding are resistant to mould growth, mould can still grow on them. Dirt and debris can create a breeding ground for mould and mildew. It is always best to keep up with regular maintenance to prevent mould and mildew but if it does arise, then scrubbing with a soft brush is the only way to remove mould stains. After cleaning, rinse the cladding thoroughly. Remember, scrubbing can remove the colour of the cladding depending on how hard you scrub.
In conclusion, regularly cleaning your cladding boards will assist in keeping them in good condition, improving their longevity.