5 Great Tips for Cleaning & Maintaining your Outdoor Flooring

Rooftop patio lined with Ipe structural wood tiles. Skyscapes green and blue logo at bottom-left of image.
Rooftop patio lined with Ipe structural wood tiles.

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably realized that just as the sun beats down and relentlessly bakes your feet on a sweltering day, your outdoor flooring also takes a beating from the sun and other elements, such as rain, wind, and snow. In addition to Mother Nature wreaking havoc on your deck, spilled grease from your BBQ, grease trap, the paws of your four-legged friend and the constant foot traffic can also put extra wear and tear on your balcony or patio flooring over time.

While using a broom, a long-handled scrub brush or a hose to keep your outdoor balcony flooring clean and looking its best, Skyscapes Balcony and Patio Flooring has five great tips for maintaining outdoor decking and extending the longevity of your patio flooring for years to come. Below are five tips to keep in mind when considering cleaning your outdoor balcony tiles.

Let’s get started!

Clean away the Debris

Excess debris, such as leaves or excess dirt on an outdoor patio floor, can lead to water build-up or unsightly scratches and scrapes. Thus, loosening and removing debris is essential, especially if there is any build-up in spaces between your deck floor and tiles.

Sweep! Use a soft but firm bristled brush to remove debris–synthetic bristles are best.

Start with small sections and clear the debris from one area of the deck at a time.

For hard-to-reach areas, such as between deck tiles and boards, use a putty knife to remove any debris that has gotten trapped.

In addition to using a putty knife, pressure washing can help loosen debris and get into tight corners and crevices. Remember to leave at least 12-24 inches between your deck and the nozzle of your pressure washer and angle your pressure washer to lessen the direct force on your patio.

Pressure wash on low and move the nozzle evenly across your deck. Lingering for too long in one area with your pressure washer can cause damage to your patio floor. Don’t forget to test a small space with your pressure wash first.

Don’t Use Harsh Cleaning Products

Commercial cleaners tend to be harsh on your patio flooring and may leave stains that can damage the integrity of your outdoor flooring. 

Try an eco-friendly, non-toxic, do-it-yourself deck cleaning solution that will not only gently clean your patio floor but will keep it clean and fresh and is safer for the environment. 

Bob Villa says using OxiClean is a practical outdoor floor cleanser and can cut through most tough stains and grime. Its foaming action decreases the amount of scrubbing force required and provides an environmentally effective alternative.

Bleach solutions also effectively combat mould and mildew that may have surfaced on your balcony or patio flooring over the winter months.  Do not mix OxiClean and bleach as the ammonia in OxiClean is incompatible with bleach and will result in a toxic gas that is irritating to the respiratory tract. In addition, do not pour undiluted bleach on your outdoor flooring.

Oil! 

Oils bring out the natural elements of wood and assist in maintaining the integrity, richness, and colour of your outdoor wood floor.

If you have chosen exotic wood flooring and decking tiles, such as IPE (pronounced EE-pay) wood, oil treatment is recommended each year or every two years if you want to maintain the richness and colour of your wood floor. 

Oils penetrate the pores of the wood flooring, thus protecting your balcony floor from water damage and the growth of mould and algae on the surface of your wood floor. In addition, oils used on patio flooring have a UV blocking and UV filtering effect, thus protecting your exotic wood flooring from cracking, cupping, and warping, which can be a consequence of the natural UV rays of the sun.

Staining your exotic wood floors may not offer complete protection, is a cumbersome and time-consuming method and overall tends to hide the natural wood grain appearance. On the other hand, Oils tend to bring out the natural elements of the dense wood grain, lending to a more aesthetic appearance.

Glide and Protect

Your deck is vulnerable to scratches; therefore, lift chairs instead of pushing them across your patio floor and keep your pet’s nails trimmed to prevent accidental scratching and grooving.

Be mindful when it comes to moving furniture around on your outdoor patio or balcony floor. Patio chairs, BBQs, patio umbrellas, and other heavy items, such as flowerpots, when they are dragged across outdoor balcony flooring, can have a lasting impact.

Look for options such as felt stickers or furniture glides to apply to the bottom of table and chair legs or to the bottom edges of flowerpots allowing you to move heavy items with ease across your deck without causing damage.

Don’t butt out

This may sound obvious, yet so many decks end up with damage caused by improperly discarded cigarettes or cigars. This method of extinguishing a cigarette, a fire hazard, unnecessary burn holes, smoke damage and staining is a secondary result.

If your guests smoke, ensure that you provide ample opportunities for proper disposal of their cigarettes or cigar. By placing empty aluminum cans filled with sand close by, you can be sure to avoid any unwanted cigarettes from ending up on your patio floor.

Final Thoughts

We at Skyscapes Balcony and Patio Flooring know that the weather in the Greater Toronto Area can be harsh on your patio and balcony flooring. With elements such as humidity, snow, ice storms and high winds, the longevity of your balcony and patio flooring is susceptible to premature wear and tear.  Therefore, by following these five quick and easy tips and with a little conscious and intentional maintenance, you, your family, and your guests can enjoy your patio and balcony flooring for years to come. 

When considering outdoor patio and balcony flooring, a durable combination of aesthetics and longevity is vital to the overall value of your outdoor space. A quality hardwood, exotic wood, porcelain, or composite outdoor tile will keep your outdoor space functional and pleasing year-round.

Dave Rea

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