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Composite fencing is a durable fencing material that serves as a better alternative to wood fencing. Homeowners love composite fencing because the maintenance process is not like wood. Does this imply that composite fencing is maintenance-free?

Is Composite Decking Maintenance Free?

The simple answer is “no.” It is low maintenance but not zero maintenance. And this is where people are often confused. Most people think that because makers of composite fencing advertise their products as requiring little maintenance, they do not need to maintain their fencing. The truth is that plastic wood fencing, like other composite materials, requires little maintenance. 

When you purchase and install your composite fencing, you must maintain it regularly so that it will look good and last longer. The care you give your composite fencing includes cleaning. Also, you can decide to paint or stain your composite fencing if you like, although we don’t recommend that you stain/paint your fence as it is not designed to be stained/painted.

What Is the Difference Between Maintaining Composite Fencing and Wood?

Let’s start with wood fencing. Wood fencing requires cleaning, sanding, oiling, staining, and/or painting annually to keep it in good condition. This is a laborious task, taking up time and effort and will see you putting your hand into your pocket year after year. Purchasing the materials required—a few buckets of water, sandpaper, oil, staining, and/or painting.

On the other hand, composite fencing requires cleaning on a regular basis. Sweep your fence first with a soft bristle brush. Use a hose to rinse the fencing down, then add warm soapy water to a bucket and, with a soft bristle brush, clean the fence, rinsing down at the end with the hose. This is not a timely task and will only cost the price of a washing liquid and a few buckets of water.

How to Maintain Your Composite Fencing

Regular standard maintenance is expected for the composite fencing above.

For further information on more specific cleaning, please see below:

Snow and Ice

Removing snow and ice that has accumulated on and at the side of your composite fence is something you can do. You should use a plastic shovel to do the task. We recommend plastic shovels because metal shovels can scratch your fence more easily than plastic. Still, care should be taken, as plastic can still scratch the plastic.

Mud, Dirt and Debris

You should remove mud, dirt, and debris if they stick to your fence. Just sweep the surface with a soft bristle brush and allow the mud or dirt to fall off. To get a clean surface, you can use a hose to rinse the surface of your composite fence. If you don’t want to use a brush, you can use a cloth soaked in water to clean the surface of your composite fencing. 

Grease and Oil Stain

Grease and oil stains usually stick to the surface of your composite fencing. But unlike wood, composite fencing will only absorb a little grease and oil stains. To remove these types of stains, you will need a soft brush and soapy water. Note the mention of a soft brush. Using a hard floor brush will scratch the surface of your composite fencing. We recommend a soft brush.

Pour the soapy water on the spot and wait for it to absorb the water. When the soap in the water reacts with the stain and makes them weak, you can then use your brush to scrub the spot. After, you should rinse the surface with a hose.

If this does not remove the mark, a composite cleaner such as Owatrol compo cleaner degreaser should bring the stain out.

Mould and Mildew

You can remove mould and mildew the same way you remove oil and grease. Although their growth in composite fencing is not as common as it is in wood, certain conditions will let them thrive. 

If you allow leaves and pollen to decay on your fence, mould will grow on the spot and distort the surface of your fence. When this occurs, all you need is a soft brush and a bucket of soapy water to rinse.

Tannin Stains

Tannin stain is another thing that can distort the surface of your composite fence. Natural wood oils, during the fading process, will leach out and may cause water marks. You’ll usually see this after prolonged periods of rain.

This is nothing to worry about. It is the normal process for composite wood and should disappear after a 6-month period.

Understandably, you want your fencing to look its best; therefore, clean the fence as often as you see the marks with the usual warm soapy water and a soft bristle brush.

Calcium Chloride

Calcium chloride is often used to melt ice and snow. It can distort the surface of your composite fence if not removed quickly. Again, hose down the fence and use warm soapy water with a soft bristle brush.

Chalk Marks

Coloured marking chalks are very difficult to remove. You can try washing the spot with water and leaving it to fade away with time. You might have to use a Marking chalk cleaner/remover to remove the chalk line if using water is impossible. 

Abrasion

Abrasions can be difficult to remove when the scratch is deep into the fence. Light scratches can fade or disappear after 12-16 weeks naturally due to weathering.

If the composite fence has a sanded finish, then a stainless steel scourer can be used very gently in the direction of the fibres. It may initially appear lighter; however, it will weather.

If your fencing has a woodgrain finish, any abrasion may become harder to remove. A heat gun set at 450°C settings can be used, keeping the nozzle at 10-15 cm from the fencing so as not to overheat the fence, passing over the scratch lightly.

For any technique to remove scratches, it is recommended to try first on a cut-off or sample of the fence to perfect your technique before trying it on your actual fence.

Pressure Washer

Generally, it is not recommended to use a pressure washer, as it can damage the fence. However, if you do choose to use a pressure washer, you should not bring the hose too close to the fence, no more than 25–30 cm away and no more than 3000 PSI settings. Bringing it too close to the fence will peel the surface of your composite fence.

Conclusion

You must maintain your composite fencing to keep it in good condition, helping it achieve its estimated lifespan. Maintaining your composite fencing is easy and not too time-consuming.

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