Black Spots on Trex Decking TIPS Just Below
Black Spots on Trex Decking TIPS:
- NO composite deck is maintenance-free
- Spots are mildew or mold and harmless to decking
- Sugars from trees, bushes, dust, dirt are food source
- Clean with Stain Solver organic oxygen bleach
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DEAR TIM: I have 1500 sq. ft. of lakefront boardwalk consisting of TREX Accents decking. There are no trees nearby. It started developing black spots within two years after installation in 2014. Coincidentally that is the same year that TREX settled a class action law suit regarding Accents and they then discontinued that line of decking. However that didn’t stop the retailers (Lowe’s) from continuing to sell this substandard product in order to clear out their inventory. I am mad as hell at Lowe’s and TREX, I called TREX and they will not stand behind their product even though they have known for many years that Accents has a huge problem. It is going to cost me at least $20,000 to replace this deck. Jim C. Eaton, OH
DEAR JIM: Guess what? I had a generation-one Trex deck (manufactured in 2000) at the current house I live in here in central New Hampshire. It’s also lakefront, but I’ve got lots of oak, birch and evergreen trees around me. My deck also suffered from the black spots.
Don’t get out your checkbook for a new deck. You’ll spend another $30,000, or more, and you’ll end up with black spots again.
No Maintenance is a Myth
Up until recently many home building and remodeling products were sold as maintenance-free. That’s a myth. Everything, I don’t care what it is, requires maintenance.
Maintenance includes periodic cleaning.
It’s possible when you bought, or selected, the Trex Accents material you thought you were never going to have to do anything. I’ve received hundreds of emails from homeowners who told me this. They thought Mother Nature would take care of everything.
They were wrong.
Mold and Mildew Equals Black
Those black spots are mold and mildew. It’s eating food that lands on your Trex Accents decking. The food could be dust, dirt, and airborne sugars from some other vegetation that’s carried to your deck by the wind.
It can also be organic matter that’s in the lake water and is splashed up onto the decking.
It can be food that comes down on the deck each time it rains. Mother Nature doesn’t always have the best housekeeping habits.
Food + Water + Mold Spores = Black
Mold growth is like fire. You need three things to have a fire:
You need three things to have mold growth. I already mentioned the two you have – food and water.
Water can come from rain, dew or the lake.
The third part of the mold/mildew triangle is spores (seeds).
Mold spores are everywhere except in the Center for Disease Control labs and any other place that has incredible expensive air filtration that keeps mold spores out of the air.
Your deck is covered with mold and mildew spores. All the time everyday of the year. When the spores land on food and water is introduced, they start to grow.
Deep Clean First
You can STOP the black spots by just doing a periodic cleaning. The first step is to get the decking clean. I had great success at my own home using Stain Solver.
Stain Solver is a certified organic oxygen bleach you mix with hot tap water. Stir it until it dissolves, add the solution to a garden hand-pump sprayer and saturate the deck on an overcast cooler day.
IMPORTANT TIP: Let the solution work for 15-30 minutes. The longer you let it work, the less you, or a worker, has to scrub.
Some people let the solution work for two or three hours. This requires that you keep the decking WET with the solution with periodic re-spraying. Never allow the solution to evaporate.
Periodic Cleaning STOPS It
This is the part you’re not going to like. It goes back to the first part of my answer.
You need to maintain the cleanliness of the deck. This means you need to take away one of the three parts of the mold triangle.
You can’t take away the spores because they land there all day long. You can’t take away water.
Take away the food. The moment you see one black spot reappear, you get out the Stain Solver and spray down the deck. This time you can add a little liquid Dawn dish soap and lightly scrub the decking a few minutes after spraying the solution.
You don’t need to wait the 15 or 30 minutes. You’ll not have to work hard scrubbing.
Do this and you’ll have a gorgeous deck all the time.
Column Black Spots on Trex Decking