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What Kind Of Paint Can You Use on Composite Decking?

Although not recommended or required for maintenance, you can paint composite decking if you wish to do so. Wooden decking requires regular painting to make it look its best. Composite decking, on the other hand, is quite different from wood decking and comes in various colours to choose from and is therefore not designed to be painted. Painting composite decking is not necessary to retain its appearance. Since composite decking maintenance is very minimal, there is no need for sanding, sealing, or painting. However, some homeowners do choose to paint their composite decking due to colour fade and natural weathering. The colour of your composite decking will fade* over time due to the harmful UV rays from the sun and other natural elements. Colour fade is more prominent with earlier, uncapped first-generation composite decking boards, and this should be considered at the time of purchase. Below we look at the reasons why some customers choose to paint their composite decking.

Why Paint Composite Decking

Marketed as resistant to fade and “no need to paint,” composite decking is one of the most preferred decking options. All types of decking fade, including composites, despite what you may have heard previously. It may not fade as fast as wood, but it will lose colour due to many factors over time. One of the most common causes of fading is prolonged exposure to UV rays and heat.

Exposure to Sunlight 

As mentioned above composite decking fades, however its important to note that composite decking is available in two different generations: first and second-generation decking boards, each offering a different level of performance. First-generation boards do not have a co-extrusion or protective layer around the outside of the board, whereas a second-generation board does. Second-generation boards also referred to as capped or shielded composite boards. This is due to its PE protective layer surrounding second-generation composite decking boards helps to significantly reduce UV colour fading and staining. 

Up to 40% of colour fading can be experienced during the first six months of a first generation composite decking’s service life, even more with lower-quality composite decking boards. When this happens, most homeowners will want to keep their decking looking its best by applying paint. With a second-generation board, colour fade is remarkably reduced and, in most cases, unnoticeable to the naked eye, also due to its PE layer applying any paints aren’t going to stick well to its surface and painting is highly not recommend on second generations boards

Stains 

If staining occurs on your deck, it can alter the appearance of your deck surface. Stains can occur due to a lack of general maintenance, not cleaning as soon as something has been spilled on the decking, cleaning with the wrong products, and even over-cleaning in one area. Painting over stains can improve the aesthetic of the composite decking. However, it is not recommended to just paint over the affected patch. All of the decking will need to be painted for the best results. 

Scratches on Decking

A scratched composite decking board can be difficult to fix. To improve the surface of the decking, you might want to paint it to mask the affected area and further protect the decking from the elements. We recommend reading an article about removing scratches in this case.

Whether due to scratches, old age, stains or prolonged sun exposure, your deck fades and lose its original colour, and you may want to recolour it. One option for doing so is to use paint. But before making changes to your deck, you may want to know what paint you can use.

Paints You Can Use on Composite Decking

Yes, not all kinds of paint are suitable for painting composite decking. You will need to use the right type for many reasons. The main concern of using the wrong type of paint is that it may rub off easily, which means you’ll only waste money on paint. So, the question is, what kind of paint can you use?

The best type of paint to use for composite decking is high-quality latex paint. To have that shiny and sheen look, you may want to get a semi-gloss or satin finish paint. However, it’s best to remember to ask your manufacturer or supplier about what kind of paint you can use. It’s also important to note that painting decking sometimes voids the warranty, depending on the manufacturer.

Aside from the type of paint that you’ll be using, there are other aspects to remember when painting composite decking.

Prepare the Decking for Painting

Even if you have the right type of paint for composite decking, without properly prepping the deck, it may not work well. So how do you prepare your decking for painting? Here are the steps to do it.

Clean the decking

Before painting, you should clean your decking thoroughly. Remove all furniture and decorations and cover your plants. Then proceed to clean your decking. You can use a homemade mixture of soap and water. You can also use commercial cleaning products like compo clean. As always, check with your manufacturer or supplier on which cleaning materials you can use. Use a low-pressure power washer or brush to remove dirt and grime. Rinse with water.

Sand the Decking

Next, you want to sand your decking with 60 to 80-grit sandpaper. This will help to remove the gloss and smooth out the deck’s surface. However, you want to do this gently as you don’t want to damage the decking surface. Remove the sanding dust with a brush, then rinse off with water and leave to dry.

Prime The Decking

Next is the most crucial part. Before applying the paint, you must prime the decking to allow the paint to stick and increase paint’s durability. For this, use an acrylic latex-based primer. Let it dry for two hours or according to the product instructions.

After these steps, you are now ready to paint your decking. When painting, make sure to go along the length of the boards. For best results, apply a second coating after the first one dries. 

Why Use Paint to Recolour Your Decking

Painting is only one way to recolour your deck to any colour you want; another way is by staining the deck. While paints are generally more expensive than stains, there are many advantages to using them. Paints can last longer than stains. It may take as long as ten years before you need to repaint a decking, whereas stains need to be re-applied in one to eight years. Paint also offers more protection from UV and moisture. Paints are also easier to maintain than stains. They also offer a greater variety of colours than stains.

Conclusion

Whilst composite decking does not typically require painting for maintenance there are still some homeowners that consider painting their decking for various reasons such as scratches or pro-longed UV exposure (fading). Capped composite decking boards will only lose up to 10% of their original colour meaning that painting your decking will have no effect. Due to the plastic membrane of a capped board, it is worth mentioning that the paint will not even be absorbed into the surface. Stains and scratches can be addressed via painting with first-generation composite decking boards. High Quality latex paint with a semi-gloss is recommended however homeowners should also ask for advice from their chosen decking supplier.

One comment

  1. Ross says:

    Thanks for your help

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