Can You Stain or Paint a Composite Deck – 2024 Guide

This isn’t exactly a question one with composite decking would normally ask, given the fact that the composite decking is known to be very durable and long-lasting. It’s a type of decking material that requires minimal maintenance and is guaranteed to serve you for a very long time and look good doing it. Now, we won’t look to understand the reasons behind why you should want to paint or stain your composite decking, we’ll just try and answer your question.

Can You Do It?


So, let’s assume you’ve painted your house and would like to switch up the colour of the deck. Back in the day, it matched, now it doesn’t and you want it changed. Maybe you’ve simply got bored with the old colour and are in the mood for something new. Whatever the case may be, the short and simple answer to the question at hand is – yes, you can paint your composite deck.

As we’ve mentioned, this material isn’t necessarily built with repainting or re-staining in mind, so the process might be a little bit more difficult than you thought it would be. Unlike their wood counterparts, composite decking isn’t known for being porous or particularly accepting when it comes to painting. That’s one of the main reasons this material lasts for so long in the first place.

With that in mind, you can assume that if you’d like to paint or stain it, you’re in for a proper prep job. Proper preparation is the key to good end results. You can’t just open up a can of paint and start applying it. It takes more than that. Since we’ve established that you can indeed paint the composite decking, we can assume that you’d like to know how to do it, so we’re going to help with that as well.

What Do You Need?


As we’ve said, you’re in for a proper prep job, so let’s take a look at what will you need for this to be possible. Here’s a short list of all the necessities:

  1. Broom
  2. Pressure washer
  3. Vinegar, warm water and baking soda
  4. 240-grit sandpaper
  5. Primer
  6. Paintbrush, roller or a sprayer
  7. Outdoor paint for composite decking

There you have it, those are all of the things you’ll need if you want to paint your deck. Now, let’s get familiar with the process.

How To Paint A Composite Deck?


The best way to approach this is to take it step by step, so that’s how we’re going to go over it. If you follow this simple guide, you should have no problems and you’ll end up with a brand-new looking deck – just as good as the day finished building it.

  1. Remove everything – First thing you need to do is to remove every piece of furniture you have on deck. Don’t just slide it to one corner – take it away. Same goes for plants you may have hanging off the railings of the deck – find them another place for the time being. You’ll be working with chemicals, you don’t want them to take any damage.
  2. Clean the deck – It’s really important to properly clean your deck. First of all, take a broom and remove any debris and dirt. After you’ve finished cleaning the deck, use a pressure washer to really get the dirt out. You don’t want anything to get in the way between the surface and the new coat of paint. If there are any stubborn stains or mildew – use water, vinegar and baking soda mix to remove them.
  3. Sand the deck – After you’ve finished thoroughly cleaning the deck – it’s sandpaper time. You want to remove the protective coating off of the planks so that you can easily apply the new one. Also, don’t just randomly drag sandpaper across the planks – go with the grain. That way, you’ll do an even job. As we’ve mentioned, use 240-grit sandpaper – it’s ideal. After you’re done, wipe the deck clean, wash it again and let it dry.
  4. Apply the primer – The next step is to apply the primer. This will make sure that the paint sticks evenly and you don’t end up with a patchy paint job. Find a quality, acrylic latex exterior primer – as they’re the best option for what you’re doing. You could do this with a brush, but you’ll waste time and you’ll probably end up with a really sore back. Instead of a brush, use a roller with an extension handle. Apply the primer evenly along the length of the planks. Leave it to dry for as long as it takes. It usually takes about two hours for the primer to fully dry, but you can check the label just to make sure.
  5. Paint – We’ve reached the final stage – painting. This is the good part, right? Well, now that you’ve done everything and the primer is dry, you can dip your roller or a brush in a get to work. Once again, paint in the one direction, avoid random strokes. Once the first coat of paint is dried, you can apply the second one. Dry times vary, so check the label once again.

That’s it, after the second coat has dried off – you’ve done it.

How To Stain A Composite Deck?


Now, when it comes to staining your deck, the process is fairly similar in the early, prep stages. You should clean the deck thoroughly, preferably with the power washer. Once it’s cleaned and dried, you may proceed.

In this case, you won’t need the sandpaper. Once the deck is clean, you can begin to apply your stain and sealer. For best results, try and find a stain that’s UV resistant and has zinc particles and mildewcides – that offers better protection against the common foes. Once again, apply the coating evenly and thoroughly – either with a brush, roller or a sprayer, that part is up to you.

If you want this coating to be durable and serve you a long time, clean the deck thoroughly twice a year.

If you want to paint your deck because you’ve noticed some stains in certain places, you don’t need to re-do your whole deck. You can use the water, vinegar, and baking soda method to try and get rid of them.

As you can see, it’s possible to both stain and paint the deck. However, generally speaking, it’s best not to paint the composite decking. But, if you have to or you simply want to, hopefully, we’ve done a good job explaining to you how to do it.