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eboutdoors06

10:34AM | 09/14/05
Member Since: 09/13/05
10 lifetime posts
Bvlawn
Our contractor recommended and installed Timbertech composite lumber when we built a large deck three years ago. After the first few rains, we began to have severe widespread black mildew spots. Our deck is in full sun and we keep debris off faithfully. We have used three different cleaning products mixed with bleach, pressure washed, about four or five times per season. After what we have experienced and spent on various cleaning and sealing products, I would not recommend using Timbertech. It was advertised to be "specially designed to provide years of virtually maintenance-free use and enjoyment." The company stands by its warranty by offering to replace the product, however, the vast majority of our cost was in labor, installing a hot tub, and building and painting rails around the deck. The labor and materials for replacing the decking would cost ten times more than the decking itself. And it would still be the same product. We have continued to address the mildew issue with frequent cleanings and recently sealed it. So far, the best product we have found is PSC Deck Restorer, Afterclean, and Protector, a three step process that cleans and seals. It was expensive, labor intensive, but after a month, the mildew has not yet returned. We are hoping to extend the time between treatments. Does anyone

have any sucess with other cleaners/sealers on composite? We are hoping to find a less expensive product that is effective.


Altereagle

07:26PM | 09/18/05
Member Since: 12/27/02
543 lifetime posts
Any wood or wood composite will require some maintenance especially in a wet climate on the north side... check the source:

I found this at http://www.timbertech.com/warranty/care.asp

[quote]

Basic Cleaning Recommendations

TimberTech highly recommends periodic cleaning of your TimberTech deck to help maintain the beauty of the product. Most deck-cleaning products will work on TimberTech. For best results use a cleaner that contains any of the following as an active ingredient for general cleaning and follow the manufacturer’s instruction for use:

• Phosphoric Acid

• Oxalic Acid

• Hydrochloric Acid

• Sodium Hypochlorite

Power washing will enhance results when cleaning your TimberTech deck. 1500psi is the recommended maximum for TimberTech products. A fan tip nozzle should be used along with the proper cleaning product. Spray in the direction of the brush/grain pattern to avoid damaging your decking. Use caution not to damage the material and always take the proper safety precautions when operating a power washer.

[/quote]

Here is a video:

http://easylink.playstream.com/timbertech/6_deckcare.wvx

Here is what they have to say on MILDEW:

[quote]

Mildew

Wash your deck periodically with a cleaner like Zinsser's JOMAX (www.zinsser.com) that contains or is mixed with Sodium Hypochlorite. Follow the manufacturer’s application instructions. Use a stiff brush to scrub heavily stained surfaces following the grain.

Rinse off your TimberTech deck periodically with a hose. Even if your deck appears clean, it is important to prevent build-up of pollen/debris. Mildew stains may occur where moisture, pollens, and/or dirt are present. Mildew needs a food source to grow, which can be grass, pollens, dirt, debris, wood and wood resins.

Maintaining a clean, dry deck surface is the best method for combating mildew. Ensure that water drains effectively from your deck. Keeping weep holes clear and unclogged on TimberTech Floorizon Planks. For TimberTech TwinFinish 5/4 and 2x6 planks, be sure that gaps exist between planks to allow for drainage.

Spot Stains

Oil Eater Cleaner and Degreaser is very effective against oil, grease and other stains. For extra heavy oil and grease stains or other specific stain types, check with your local lumberyard, hardware stores or home centers for cleaners applicable to a specific stain type.

If stains have set, you may want to use fine sandpaper and sand lightly, following the wood grain finish of the plank. The sanded area will weather back in approximately 8-10 weeks.

[/quote]

Alter Eagle Construction & Design

http://www.altereagle.com/ | Construction & Design | http://decks-ca.com/ | Decks, California outdoor living | http://kingofcrown.com/ | Molding and finishing | http://installcrown.com/ | Crown tutorial


eboutdoors06

09:04AM | 09/20/05
Member Since: 09/13/05
10 lifetime posts
I have followed the recommendations from the timbertech literature and the customer service representative. It really bugs me that they repeat over and over that pollen and environmental stuff is a breeding ground for mildew. My pressure treated lumber small decks that have stain have no problem with mildew, only the big Timbertech deck. These decks are in the same environment, except my wood decks are in full shade. Jomax mixed with bleach has been great for painted rails and other surfaces, but it was the least effective on timbertech mildew. I have also used the Timbertech cleaning product mixed with bleach, and it was more effective, but not as effective as PSC cleaner mixed with bleach. It is really obvious to us, our contractor, and other people who have cleaned our deck that the mildew is much deeper than surface, and seems to eminate from within the material and rises to the top. If it was surface mildew, it would be coming off without having to clean and soak it repeatedly. The mildew also does not scrape off. It is deeper.

The sealing after cleaning with PSC seems to be working, although it has only been one month and we are hoping it stays mildew free. But that brings me back to the original complaint. After spending all this money on Timbertech, why must I still clean and seal more than I do on my pressure treated lumber?

larry324567

06:29PM | 03/16/07
Member Since: 03/15/07
1 lifetime posts
Chlorine Bleach or Sodium Hypochlorite (active ingredient in Chlorine Bleach) based deck cleaners that the uneducated recommend may appear to quickly remove mildew (white in color) and mold (black and other colors) fungus from Timbertech and other Composite Decking. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) DO NOT RECOMMEND Chlorine Bleach for Mold (Mildew is a species of Mold) remediation on porous surfaces such as Timbertech and other composite decking.

The reason for this is that Chlorine Bleach does not remove or kill the roots (mycelium) of the fungus, but actually waters them. A few weeks after you have cleaned a deck with chlorine bleach or sodium hypochlorite based products you will notice the mildew or other mold fungus growing back in greater numbers, especially after additional moisture comes into contact with the deck. It will make the problem worse and harder to remove the next time the composite surface becomes unsightly.

In addition, Chlorine Bleach products reek havoc on the rest of the deck structure shortening the life of the entire structure. It is highly corrosive to any metal including structural connectors or fasteners (screws) holding the deck together. It shortens the life of the pressure treated lumber supporting the deck. This could lead to liability issues for the owner of the property and any company who recommends its use.

PRODUCTS THAT CONTAIN SODIUM HYPOCHLORITE ARE ENVIRONMENTALLY DESTRUCTIVE. It is shocking that Timbertech and other composite manufacturers do not follow the recommendations of the EPA or OSHA and recommend one of the most TOXIC chemicals known to this earth.

JC87652

04:28PM | 04/15/07
Member Since: 04/14/07
2 lifetime posts
You may want to review the label directions of bleach containers before mixing anything with it and using it for purposes not stated.

This violates federal and state laws, pollutes and is dangerous.

Altereagle

10:08PM | 04/15/07
Member Since: 12/27/02
543 lifetime posts
An excellent point, even though the company recommendations include the use of • Phosphoric Acid • Oxalic Acid • Hydrochloric Acid or • Sodium Hypochlorite always use caution with any chemical.

Personally I would try to find anything that would be environmentally friendly first. Even then you have to read the fine print...

For example I found moldex deck ( http://www.envirocarecorp.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=34&Itemid=56 ) by Envirocare but further reading found it also recommends the use of bleach.

The same with fiberon ( http://fiberondecking.com/html/files/G072005_mold_mildew.pdf ) decking...

PSC also requires bleach ( http://www.psc-solutions.com/DC_Main.asp )

I would start a search of the http://www.epa.gov/ see what recommendations they have and go from there.

Alter Eagle Construction & Design

http://www.altereagle.com/ | Construction & Design | http://decks-ca.com/ | Decks, California outdoor living | http://kingofcrown.com/ | Molding and finishing | http://installcrown.com/ | Crown tutorial


Kate24578

04:10PM | 07/06/07
Member Since: 07/05/07
1 lifetime posts
I have found a product that is eco friendly and does not have any chlorine bleach in it or added to it. It is called Corte Clean. It cleaned my Timbertech deck better than anything else I tried. Love the product! Took the black mold spots out of my deck and they have not returned in months.

When I used deck cleaners that contained sodium hypochlorite they returned with in weeks.

mike7333

01:23PM | 07/14/07
Member Since: 07/13/07
1 lifetime posts
I am about to purchase the Timbertech Floorizon T&G product for my new deck. Was your mold problem on the Floorizon line or on one of the other Timbertech products?

moofin74

08:56AM | 09/07/07
Member Since: 09/06/07
3 lifetime posts
I have been working with TT material a long time. The Floorizon (T&G) material will stand up and be beautiful if you make sure you install it correctly. Read the Installation Manual on proper installation requirements. If you plan on building your deck close to the ground or enclose it, check first. Floorizon requires at least 12" of un-obstructed airflow on at least three sides of the deck. If you have that great! You will love it! Easy to install and maintain. As far as mold and mildew, Corte-Clean is the best cleaner out there thus far! It is also Environmentally safe! Check out their website. Awesome before and after photos.

eboutdoors06

07:40AM | 03/27/08
Member Since: 09/13/05
10 lifetime posts
Its been a long time since I've posted. I still have perpetual maintenance with the Timbertech deck, and still regret building with it due to mold problems. I do not have trouble with rot or splinters, though, as some other composite owners have complained. If I can find the "magic" cleaner and protector at an economical price, I would not be so angry about this, still.

My routine the past two years is to keep it free of debris once a week with the leaf blower. In the early spring and in the fall, when it is too cold to use PSC cleaner/protector, I clean it with Dawn dish soap and clorox, diluted. It looks OK for a few weeks.

Around June or July when I see there will be several dry days in a row, I use the very expensive stuff. PCS deck cleaner and restorer. It takes one day of cleaning, another day to dry, and then I apply the Restorer to make the deck more waterproof. This seems to prolong the time between reappearance of mold black spots. Then in November, before the snow flies, I clean the deck again with Dawn and Clorox. After a long winter, it always looks very dirty, and I like to get it clean as soon as we can. Neither Corte-Clean, nor PCS can be used when it is still under 60 degrees.

I am tired of spending all this money and effort on a "low maintenance" deck. I bought some Corte-Clean online, could not find it at local retailers. I am going to try this product this spring as it has had good reviews. I'm thinking that it would still be wise to recoat it with protector after Corte- Cleaning it to keep water out.

If you are thinking about installing a composite deck, I would discourage it. If I had to do it over again, I would have gotten a few boards, put them outside for a season, to test them for quality. If I had done this, I would have seen the utter failure of Timbertech to maintain a decent appearance. If anyone hears of a class action suit against this company, it would be a responsible thing to join.

I don't have any experience with the newer lines of Timbertech, and wonder if they have been improving it due to complaints. Our building contractor refuses to use it any longer

eboutdoors06

07:40AM | 03/27/08
Member Since: 09/13/05
10 lifetime posts
Its been a long time since I've posted. I still have perpetual maintenance with the Timbertech deck, and still regret building with it due to mold problems. I do not have trouble with rot or splinters, though, as some other composite owners have complained. If I can find the "magic" cleaner and protector at an economical price, I would not be so angry about this, still.

My routine the past two years is to keep it free of debris once a week with the leaf blower. In the early spring and in the fall, when it is too cold to use PSC cleaner/protector, I clean it with Dawn dish soap and clorox, diluted. It looks OK for a few weeks.

Around June or July when I see there will be several dry days in a row, I use the very expensive stuff. PCS deck cleaner and restorer. It takes one day of cleaning, another day to dry, and then I apply the Restorer to make the deck more waterproof. This seems to prolong the time between reappearance of mold black spots. Then in November, before the snow flies, I clean the deck again with Dawn and Clorox. After a long winter, it always looks very dirty, and I like to get it clean as soon as we can. Neither Corte-Clean, nor PCS can be used when it is still under 60 degrees.

I am tired of spending all this money and effort on a "low maintenance" deck. I bought some Corte-Clean online, could not find it at local retailers. I am going to try this product this spring as it has had good reviews. I'm thinking that it would still be wise to recoat it with protector after Corte- Cleaning it to keep water out.

If you are thinking about installing a composite deck, I would discourage it. If I had to do it over again, I would have gotten a few boards, put them outside for a season, to test them for quality. If I had done this, I would have seen the utter failure of Timbertech to maintain a decent appearance. If anyone hears of a class action suit against this company, it would be a responsible thing to join.

I don't have any experience with the newer lines of Timbertech, and wonder if they have been improving it due to complaints. Our building contractor refuses to use it any longer

moofin74

09:52AM | 03/27/08
Member Since: 09/06/07
3 lifetime posts
I would have to agree that mold and mildew are troublesome and can get very aggrivating when you have to deal with it alot. As I have stated previously, I stand behind TimberTech products 100%. They have a mildew inhibitor in their formula that helps prevent mildew and mold from growing in their products. You have to remember when buying anything that will be exposed to the outside elements that mildew can happen and probably will. Take your house siding. It can do the exact same thing. If you do not wash it once in awhile, how is your house going to look after no cleaning or maintenance? Same is true with composite decking, railing and fencing.

I have had great sucess with Corte Clean. The best sealer to use is Sun Frog, found on the web at www.sunfrog.com. I ahve used corte clean and sun frog on the same deck and had great experiences and customers are very pleased.

I would say if you have bought your TimberTech material before they started introducing their mildew inhibitor, that may be why you are having the issues. I believe they started adding it to their formula in 2001 sometime so that would mean the products would have been on the market the next year. Dont be discouraged, it really IS a great product and their new products are even better and improving every year! They even have a new Maintenance Free product called XLM. And it is just that Xtreme Low Maintenance! Great product. Look into that!

tdcarp

02:59AM | 04/04/08
Member Since: 04/03/08
1 lifetime posts
We're at the end of our first full season with a new TT deck and are starting the cleaning chore. I'm experimenting with a few products and techniques and could use all the help out there.

It appears we have 4 types of cleaning: 1) mildew (will be trying Corte Clean and Jomax as recommended by TT, along with a product from our local lumber store. Too bad we have to wait until the temp is above 65 as stated on the Corte Clean product.) 2) minor grease spots around the picnic table, BBQ, etc. 3) other types of spots, and 4) ground in dirt, pollen, etc.

We started the cleaning yesterday using the lumberyard cleaner (from Bio-Wash the product that contains phosphoric acid and lineal alkyl. We highly diluted it and applied with a garden sprayer). It required a good brushing to work and had to go over each section twice to get good enough results with the ground in dirt.)

I'm going to try the Jomax today which calls for using an EPA registered household bleach. The Jomax was recommended also by the folk that built the deck.

I'm beginning to believe that these products (not counting Corte Clean since we haven't been able to try it) are all focused on mildew and not on "deep cleaning".

What appears to be left after the cleaning are some greasy spots and the ground in dirt and pollen.

For the greasy spots I'm going to have to look for something to clean. Is dishwashing liquid or TSP a good idea? TT does have a brand recommended on their site too.

I've been reluctant to use any power washer for fear of damaging the wood, but, given TT saying on their site just to be careful and not to go above 1500psi I think I may give that a try for the dirt (and also to save my back). Other than using a wide fan nozzle, keeping the pressure down, and holding the spray away from the decking, are there any other tricks?

Should I be putting anything on the deck after the cleaning? I tend to prefer to not add stuff after I went to all the work of cleaning it, but not knowing how the TT material works I may be being naive.

Since my impression is this chore will require multiple products and approaches I sure could use some wisdom and experience on how to keep this sucker clean.

Thanks

Liv

5slb6

12:16PM | 04/04/08
Member Since: 07/28/02
1356 lifetime posts
The JOMAX is great at removing dirt and mildew so it should take care of most of your project. All you need to add is regular household bleach to the JOMAX. You may have to do some agitation on the ground in dirt but this product does work very well. As far as the greasy spots I would try warm water and dishwashing liquid. I would stay away from the power washer as you may end up damaging the deck if you are not use to it.

Hope this helps out.

moofin74

12:06PM | 04/05/08
Member Since: 09/06/07
3 lifetime posts
The use of Corte Clean can be used in conjunction with a power washer. On the TimberTech website, their is a useful video that illustrates who to accomplich this. Corte Clean also has a great dvd illustrating useful ways to use their product for deck cleaning. TimberTech does not require the use of all the different products to clean it. You can pick one product and go with it. There is no need to add anything after you have cleaned your deck. I highly recommend going with the power washer and cleaner to get all the dirt and debris off the decking planks.

Good luck and refer to TImberTech's website for any help! Their warranty dept is great at answering questions and are very helpful when i have called in.

rosebowl

02:02PM | 05/04/08
Member Since: 05/03/08
1 lifetime posts
I too bought Timber Tech decking and was sucked in by the promise of the low-maintenance qualities that the company advertising purported and my contractor seconded. Not only is it as much work as cedar and pressure treated decks I've owned, it cost me a sizable premium to install it.

Two applications of JOMAX along with an hour of scrubbing on my hands and knees resolved on the lightest mildew stains. The entire 14' x 20' deck and stairs are still filled with thousands of dark nickle-sized stains that won't come off.

I'm ashamed this product is made in my native state of Ohio. Is it any wonder consumers buy foreign made products and American companies to out of business? If you're going to buy junk, you might as well buy cheap junk.

Their maintenance page tells you to hand sand the entire deck. Got a summer to do that? The principles of this company must be guffawing and belly-laughing in their corporate offices thinking about all the dim-witted consumers that bought this stuff. Never again.

malvernnj

11:15AM | 05/26/08
Member Since: 05/25/08
1 lifetime posts
I installed a Timbertech deck 2 years ago. I would not recommend Timbertech as the product requires an excessive amount of maintenance. In the spring the dirt and mold spots will not come off without vigorous scrubbing with a cleaning solution. My deck is 32 X 16 so this kills a weekend. I have friends who have Trex, etc. and they clean much easier. The mold spots are particularly stubborn and appear to be below the surface and they are slightly visible after cleaning. The weep holes also have to be cleared of debris so the deck drains properly. This goes on from March to June as we have many trees in my area. I have used the JOMAX cleaner but will try some of the others mentioned. Good luck to everyone.

calmom

07:27AM | 06/16/08
Member Since: 06/15/08
1 lifetime posts
Hi,

What Timber Tech did you use? Earthwood?

Floorizon?

We checked Consumer Reports and timber tech scored excellent on mildew...perhaps the newer products now no longer have mildew problems.

We live on the West Coast so I wonder if that would make a difference. After reading all the complaints I wonder what we should do.

eboutdoors06

06:22PM | 06/18/08
Member Since: 09/13/05
10 lifetime posts
Hi folks. In the continuing saga of maintaining Timbertech deck, my suspicions are confirmed. Others are having the same maintenance nightmare I've had with Timbertech composite decking. Someone from the company probably reads these blogs and offers positive comments to deflect criticism of Timbertech. DON'T BUY IT! I'm warning you!

I spent all of today and much of yesterday doing the most dreaded maintenance job I have-cleaning and sealing the Timbertech deck.

My 19 year old pressure treated small decks are so easy comparatively! I just pressure wash them and apply a coat of stain annually. But, the Timbertech deck is more involved! First, I have to clean the mold off three times a summer. (It comes back quickly)The first time, I clean in March or April with TSP, Clorox, and Dawn dish soap. The wonderful Corti-Clean cleaner can NOT be used under 60 degrees, so we can't use that till our second cleaning when it warms up in June. THEN, I seal this deck with an expensive product called PSC Protector, (developed after TREX lawsuits).

Note this: Use PSC protector or another composite sealer! Every little place that doesn't get covered by the sealer becomes moldy!

The number #1 product I've found helpful is the Sealer!! When mold comes back, it is just on the surface, and cleans off well with either Corti-Clean (if above 60 degrees), or TSP, or Jomax, and Bleach.

My deck still doesn't look good, but at least I have conquered the mold problem with sealing and cleaning. I don't like the color from frequent bleaching. It looks smudgy and un-uniform in color from the sealer.

Has anyone else used composite deck sealer, particularly McCloskey composite deck stain from Menards? My neighbor used it on her composite deck disaster last fall and it still looks good-no mold, no stains. It fared better than mine over the winter, having used sealer and cleaner. I am going to use her deck as the "guinea pig" and see how the McCloskey stain holds up over time. It was painstaking for them to carefully stain it, but they had no maintenance to do this spring/summer other than blowing the debris off with a leaf blower.

Positives: I can maintain it mold free finally!. No splinters!

Negatives: This is too much maintenance for a 50 year old with disc surgery!

Request: Someone please tell me of staining this deck will cut down on the effort and expense of maintenance!!! The McCloskey ads look promising, but I want to hear it from real people who actually use the stuff!!!

Thanks!!

eboutdoors06

06:32PM | 06/18/08
Member Since: 09/13/05
10 lifetime posts
PS. I do use a pressure washer. I use the fan spray only and hold it about 6 inches away from the deck, moving it back and forth evenly. It really helps clean the debris off and removes dirty cleaning water.

timbertechsux

06:47AM | 08/12/08
Member Since: 08/11/08
1 lifetime posts
Like so many of you who have installed Timbertech and suffered its consequences, I have the same views about, or, I should write, ANGER at a company that continues to market a product that is a gross failure.

Not only does Timbertech discolor, absorb and retain stains, it BUCKLES, CRACKS and SLOUGHS OFF resulting in an unsightly and virtually unuseable deck. Even with absolute correct installation and the recommended regular maintenance, the product is garbage. The many, many thousands of dollars that I spent on Timbertech and labor are all for naught.

The company turns a blind eye to one's inquiries -- I sent a claim to the company as a result of my problems -- and was brushed off. It was not their fault, I was told. As another Timbertech owner wrote, no wonder American buyers forgo domestic products in favor of foreign ones.

If other Timbertech owners feel as I do, we should initiate a class action suit. What do you think?
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