Can You Paint Composite Decking?

Composite decking is popular because of its durability, low maintenance and affordable cost. This decking consists of recycled wood fiber and plastic, letting homeowners enjoy the look and feel of natural wood in a more eco-friendly way. Composite decking offers all the benefits of traditional wood planks plus additional perks like added strength. 

It’s clear why homeowners like you love the addition of a composite deck to their homes. However, when it’s time to refresh your exterior, you may start to wonder, “Can you change the color of composite decking?” 

Can I Paint My Composite Decking?

You can safely and effectively paint some kinds of composite decking. The type you have will determine whether or not painting is possible: 

  • Uncapped: Whether it’s solid or hollow, older uncapped composite decking is the easiest to paint. Solid composite boards look the most like traditional wood boards. As their name suggests, they use a solid plastic and wood fiber mixture throughout. Hollow boards are much more lightweight. They use a plastic and wood mixture around a hollow core sealed by plastic cap edges. 
  • Capped: You’ll find painting more of a challenge if your deck uses capped composite decking boards. This decking has a wood by-product core with a plastic outer coating. While that coating makes it great at resisting stains and scratches, it also makes it extremely difficult for paint to stick to the surface. Since sanding will damage the protective shell and may even void your warranty, you should avoid trying to paint capped composite decking. 

If your composite deck does not have a plastic outer layer, you’ll be able to paint the decking with a little bit of effort. It’s harder to paint composite decking than wood, but you can still achieve a beautifully painted deck with the proper cleaning, sanding and priming techniques.

What Kind of Paint Can You Use on Composite Decking?

Acrylic latex paint is the best option for composite decking. Exterior acrylic latex paint will be easy to work with while giving your deck durable coverage. 

When it comes to painting a composite deck, the higher the paint quality, the better. Higher-quality acrylic paint contains more acrylic resin, which creates a heavier, longer-lasting formula. Cheaper acrylic paint options typically include vinyl, which is less durable and will lead to your deck paint chipping and peeling much sooner.

While the type and quality of paint you use are crucial, primer is just as essential. A proper bonding primer helps your paint adhere to your deck. Without a good primer, your deck will look patchy and uneven with a less durable finish. You can purchase primer-infused paint or primer that you apply on its own.

How to Paint Composite Decking

How to Paint Composite Decking

Painting a composite deck is a multistep process — you can’t just start painting the area and expect great results. You’ll need to start with proper cleaning and priming steps to ensure the best outcome. 

Follow the steps below to achieve a beautifully painted deck.

1. Thoroughly Clean the Deck

A clean surface is crucial for a good paint finish, so it’s vital to wash your deck before you do anything else. Take your time and thoroughly clean your deck. Don’t just give the area a quick sweep — really examine your space and ensure you deal with any problem areas. 

Painting over dirt and stains will create an uneven color and bumpy surface. Dirt can also affect how well the paint adheres to the deck’s surface. A dirty surface will keep the paint from properly attaching to the composite decking boards, making it more likely to chip or peel. 

The cleaning process is critical, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Soap, water and a gentle brush are all you need to scrub away any dirt and debris. You can also use a pressure washer on a low setting.

2. Sand the Deck

Since composite decking is made of wood and plastic, sanding the surface is crucial to ensure the paint sticks to the surface. Without sanding, the paint may have a hard time sticking to the smooth, slippery plastic. Sanding down your deck allows the paint to adhere to the surface, which gives you a more even finish and longer-lasting results. 

Follow these steps for the best results:

  • Use 240-grit sandpaper to prep your surface for painting. 
  • After sanding, remove any dust with a broom and wet cloth. 
  • If your deck requires additional cleaning after sanding, make sure it dries completely before moving you start to paint.

3. Apply Paint Primer

You’ll want to start by applying painter’s tape to any areas you don’t want to cover with paint. If your deck is attached to your home, make sure to cover the deck’s edges so you don’t accidentally paint your home’s exterior walls. 

Apply an even layer of primer over the deck’s surface. While you’ll need a paintbrush for the railings, a roller will let you cover the flooring faster — you can use a roller extension to apply primer while standing and help speed up the process. Allow the primer to dry fully before applying your first coat of paint. 

If your paint already includes primer, you can feel free to skip this step.

4. Paint the Deck

Next, you’ll begin painting in a far corner of your deck. Apply even pressure with the roller as you create long strokes back and forth. Use a brush to paint the railings and any hard-to-reach corners. Once your first coat fully dries, apply a second coat of paint.

Painting vs. Replacing Your Composite Deck

While it is possible to paint a composite deck, this decking material was not designed for it. Once you begin painting your deck, you’ll be in a cycle of constantly having to repaint your deck as the paint chips and wears down. 

If you want to avoid continually repainting, consider upgrading your outdoor space with a new composite deck that will guarantee a beautiful look for years to come. A new composite deck offers durability and low-maintenance features that paint cannot. 

Transform Your Deck With Garrety Glass

Transform Your Deck With Garrety Glass

When you want to upgrade your deck or complete other home improvement projects, you want to work with a company you can trust. With a wide range of services and experienced staff, Garrety Glass is ready to help you achieve your dream home. 

When you work with us, you can always expect reliable customer service, fair pricing and high-quality materials. Explore our various home improvement services and request a free quote today.