Common Enemies of a Vinyl Deck Surface
Covering your deck with a vinyl deck surface is a great way to a) protect your deck for the long term, and b) instantly refresh and revitalize your deck. However, it’s important to keep in mind that a vinyl deck surface is not infallible, so you must ensure that you keep any “enemies” away – that is, compounds or situations that could potentially damage the vinyl membrane. Here are a few common things to avoid:
Enemy #1: Sunscreen
While your vinyl deck surface comes with its own UV protection, that doesn’t mean that it’s protected from the damage sunscreen can cause. The components of sunscreen, over time, can eat into anything plastic, including a vinyl membrane. So, spray/rub your sunscreen on elsewhere!
Enemy #2: Insect Repellent
We all know that insect repellent isn’t good for much other than keeping bugs away, but there’s good reason to keep it away from your deck as well. Consider planting naturally insect-repellent plants around your deck (like citronella) instead.
Enemy #3: Charcoal Lighting Fluid
Any type of fire starter is going to contain petroleum products, which in turn is bad news for plastic-based compounds. If you do barbecue, invest in a mat to protect your vinyl deck from spillage and try to avoid caustic chemicals.
Enemy #4: Bubbles!
Kids love them, and parents love the sound of busy bodies – but the fluid from bubbles can cause staining if left on your deck too long, particularly if it’s the kind that is already dyed. Have kids play in the yard, and rinse off any bubbles that land on the vinyl deck surface before stains can set.
Enemy #5: Paint Thinners/Removers
You might need to use this type of product around your home, but be careful that you don’t spill any on your vinyl deck surface as it will eat through the protective coating. The same goes for nail polish and removers.
Enemy #6: Scouring Products
This one should be evident, but it’s surprising how many people use abrasive cleaners on vinyl deck surfaces. Just don’t! A soft bristle brush and some water is all you should need to remove dirt and grime, if not then it’s time to consult a professional.
Enemy #7: Lemony Cleaners
They might smell great and help you clean up around your deck, but keep in mind that citric acid is…acid. Even a small amount, in contact with your deck surface, can be enough to cause lasting damage, particularly if it’s used at full strength. The same goes for orange and pine-scented cleaners!
Enemy #8: Rubber or Vinyl Products
Long-term contact of these types of products (think children’s pools, rubber-backed mats, etc.) can cause damage to a vinyl membrane. Best to avoid, or place something in between as a buffer.
As with most things, a little common sense goes a long way. If you’re not sure whether a product is safe to come into contact with your vinyl deck surface, keep it away! If you notice problems, have a professional vinyl deck expert take a look.