May 10, 2021

Can You Paint Composite Decking | The Clear Guide To It

Can You Paint Composite Decking?

Yes, you can paint composite decking boards. After years of hard use, wooden decking warps, cracks and splinters. That’s when you need to replace them. Composite decking boards, a combination of plastic and wood, are the next logical choice. But can you paint composite decking boards? The short answer is yes. Composite decking boards do not respond to old paints and wood but to some traditional wood paints.

Many people wonder if you can paint composite decking boards. They see the decks and fences in their neighbours’ and friends’ homes and wonder if they can paint their composite decks, too. The answer is yes and no. You can paint composite decking boards, but the process is not as simple as wood. This is because composite decking boards are not one of the materials for which oil-based paints have been developed.

In this pose, we will cover:

  • Decking
  • Stains
  • Which to use?
  • Waterproofing
  • How to do it?
  • How to clean composite decking
  • How to paint composite decking
  • Removing old paint from composite decking
  • What paint should I use?
  • What tools should I use?


The material used to make composite decking can impact how the composite decking will react to specific finishes, first at the manufacturer’s description of the material that makes up your deck. If they do not give you an accurate description, it is possible that your composite decking is a proprietary blend of materials used by that company. This is common because companies use different combinations of plastic and wood fibers.


Wood stains are a perfect match for wood. They hide any minor imperfections in the wood while making the surface look and feel like natural wood. But guess what? They only go so deep. The stain needs time to soak into the composite decking’s texture or pores. If you want more than an instant coat of a stain, you’ll need to follow up with another coat 2-4 days later.

Which to use?

While it is true that you can use paint and stains on composite decking, the results are often not as excellent as you would like them to be. The next question is, if I want the best results, which should I use?

Remember that stains and paints must work their way into the wood’s pores. With composite decking, this is much easier said than done. Composite decks do not have any pores, so traditional finishing products will not get into the decking material to give you a good finish.


You first need to decide whether you will go with traditional oil- or water-based paint. Generally speaking, oil-based paints are better at resisting water and moisture damage than their water-based counterparts. The extra moisture resistance may not be as crucial if you live primarily dry. However, if you live in an area with lots of rain, snow, and other forms of precipitation (or your new deck will be adjacent to your hot tub), oil-based paints will provide better protection.

How to do it?

Whether painting or staining composite decking, you must follow a few simple guidelines.

The first thing to do before you paint composite decking is to clean the area thoroughly. This will help your finished product look nice while protecting it from damage. Composite decks do not absorb stains very easily. The cleaner and drier the deck is before application. The better your finished product will look.

The second thing you need to decide when painting composite decking is what paint to use. There are hundreds of different types of paints, stains, and sealers. Do a little research on the best option for your composite decking.

Some composite decking manufacturers recommend using a specific type of paint. Your deck needs to be treated with the same care as wood because it is made from the same materials.

How to clean composite decking

One of the most critical steps before staining or painting composite decking is cleaning. While it is true that you can clean your composite decking with a good power wash, other options are also available. Since you want your finished product to be as perfect as possible, take the time to thoroughly clean your composite decking before proceeding with the staining or painting process.

Do not use any harsh cleaners on your composite decking. This includes bleach, vinegar, and any other cleaning agent that could damage your deck.

How to paint composite decking

Once you have taken the time to make sure your composite deck looks its best, you are ready to start painting. It’s important to know that your product will need a primer for the top coat to adhere properly. This is because there is no “grain” on composite decking like wood.

Removing old paint from composite decking

When working with composite decking, you will notice that any old paint or sealer can be hard to remove. This is because hybrid decking bonds to the paint during the application process. If you are planning on painting your composite decking and an old layer of paint on the surface, it may be necessary to take a little extra time to ensure you get it all off before applying a new coat.

What paint should I use?

Components of most decking, such as the deck surface and railing, are manufactured with a colored polymer. It gives the composite decking its appearance. While this decorative finish looks excellent, it doesn’t always work so well on the structural components that make up your composite deck.

It would help if you considered purchasing paint made for laminated deck surfaces to see great results.

What tools should I use?

You will notice that different materials require different equipment to be adequately repaired and maintained. There are a few tools that you may want to keep handy when painting or staining your composite deck.

Painting gun

For many years, people have used a spray gun to coat laminated decks with paint. Although this does offer the best option for quick and easy application, it can leave the surface looking dull after multiple coats instead of having the “shiny” finish desired.


A roller can be an effective tool for applying your first coat of paint to the deck surface. The finish will not be as smooth as that produced by a spray gun, but it does offer the benefit of applying multiple coats without needing clean equipment in-between applications. Rollers are available in several sizes and are ideal for smooth surfaces such as decking.


Another option that does not involve the use of a spray gun is to use a stain. As you may know, stains seal composite decking and protect it from various weather conditions.

Although most people prefer to choose a clear coat of paint for their deck, some like the look of stained or pebbled finishes.


You may want to paint or stain your composite deck for several reasons. If you wish to paint your deck to change its appearance or to prevent damage from weathering, there are numerous benefits for DIYers and professionals alike.

If you are doing it yourself, you’ll need to choose the right look for your composite deck, whether you prefer a glossy fabric finish or something more natural.

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