(NewsUSA) - Many people choose to build decks with composite materials because of the low-maintenance characteristics of the product. Although composite products are, in fact, less work then traditional wood decks, some care is required to keep the product looking great over time. As the cooler weather approaches, there are a few things you can do to protect the look of your composite deck:

Basic Cleaning Recommendations

Composite materials reduce the reoccurring work of painting, staining or sealing, but for the best results, a regular cleaning with an eco-friendly cleaner is required. TimberTech, a leading manufacturer of composite decking products, recommends using Corte Clean and spraying the deck with a pressure washer before winter weather approaches.

To clean with a power washer, use a fan tip nozzle and spray in the direction of the brush/grain pattern. Be sure to use proper safety precautions, including the recommended maximum pressure of 1500 psi.

Ice and Snow Removal

For homeowners who live in harsh winter environments, it's important to remove ice and snow from your deck in order to eliminate damage. For ice removal, it is best to use either rock salt or calcium chloride on the composite surface. However, either of these products may leave a white residue, which can be removed by either rinsing with water or a mild soap- and-water solution.

Prevention Is Key

Composite products, like the ones manufactured by TimberTech, are formulated to inhibit mildew growth and minimize staining. It is important to rinse off any composite product periodically with a hose in order to prevent the build-up of pollen and debris. Just as you would rake and gather leaves from your yard to maintain the grass, it's important to clean decking in the fall to remove build-up. Even if it appears clean, mildew stains may occur where moisture, pollen and dirt are present.

Maintaining a clean, dry surface is the best method to combat mildew. Ensure that water drains effectively from your deck, and be sure that gaps exist between planks to allow for adequate drainage.

No matter what type of composite product you choose, it is important to follow the manufacturer's directions carefully and maintain a periodic cleaning schedule to ensure that your deck is an enjoyable space for years to come.