Can you Paint Composite Decking? – Your Answer Is Here

Randy Charles
Professional Painter

Randy Charles is the owner of, a website dedicated to providing information, tips, tricks, and news about all things paint. With over 10 years...Read more

Are you wondering if your composite decking can be refreshed with a new coat of paint or stain? Although composite decks are known for their low maintenance, they may fade over time and require attention.

This article will provide step-by-step guidance on how to properly paint or stain your deck for optimal results. Stick around to discover the tips and tricks that will bring new life back into your weathered deck.

Can You Paint or Stain Composite Decking?

Composite decking is a popular choice for outdoor spaces due to its low maintenance and durability, but can you paint or stain it?

Understanding composite decking

Composite decking is a mix of wood and plastic. It’s better than traditional wood as it lasts longer and needs less care. Older types from an early time may need paint or stain after some years due to color loss or wear.

Some Trex styles such as Origins, Accents, Profiles, Brasilia, and Contours are good for painting or staining. Newer kinds have a PVC cap for more protection against stains or paint.

Always clean this decking well before you start to paint or stain it.

Related Article: Can you Paint a Bathtub?

Considerations for painting or staining

You have to think about a few things before you paint or stain your deck. First, find out what kind of composite decking you have.

Some types can’t take paint or stain well. These are usually the new ones with PVC caps like Trex Transcend and Trex Enhance.

If your deck is from early-generation brands like Origins, Accents, Profiles, Brasilia and Contours, then it’s okay to use paint or stain! Always clean your deck before you start any work on it.

Dust and dirt can spoil the look if they get into the paint or stain. Try out a small amount of color on a hidden part of the deck just to be sure that you’re happy with how it looks.

You should also always do what the maker says so that your finish stays nice for longer.

Steps to Paint Composite Decking

To paint composite decking, you will need to follow a few important steps.

Cleaning the deck surface

First, clean the deck. A clean surface is essential before painting. Use soapy water or a deck cleaner to remove dirt and dust. Rinse the deck well with a hose once you are done. If you see spots of mold or mildew, scrub them away with a mixture of bleach and water.

Let your deck dry completely after cleaning it. A dry surface makes sure the paint or stain sticks well to your composite decking.

Sanding and priming

Before painting or staining your composite decking, it’s important to prepare the surface by sanding and priming. Sanding helps to create a smooth and even surface for the paint or stain to adhere to.

Use a medium-grit sandpaper and lightly sand the entire deck, paying special attention to any rough areas or imperfections. After sanding, make sure to clean off any dust or debris.

Once the deck is sanded, it’s time to apply a primer. A high-quality bonding primer specifically designed for use on composite materials will help the paint or stain adhere better and last longer.

Apply the primer evenly using a brush or roller, making sure every part of the deck is covered.

Choosing the right paint

To ensure a successful paint job on your composite decking, it’s important to choose the right type of paint. The best option is to use a semi-gloss acrylic latex paint or a specialized composite deck stain.

These paints are specifically formulated to adhere well to the surface of composite materials and provide long-lasting protection against harsh weather conditions.

By using these types of paints, you can enhance the durability of your deck and reduce the risk of color fading over time.

Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper application and consider testing the paint on a small area first to ensure compatibility and achieve your desired results.

Applying the paint

To apply paint to your composite decking, start by thoroughly cleaning the surface and removing any dirt or debris.

Make sure the deck is completely dry before proceeding. Next, sand the deck lightly and apply a coat of primer to help the paint adhere better.

Choose a high-quality acrylic latex paint that is specifically designed for outdoor use and can withstand harsh weather conditions. Use a brush or roller to evenly apply the paint, working in small sections at a time.

Allow each coat to dry completely before applying additional coats if needed. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for drying times and recoating intervals.

Remember to test the paint on a small area first to ensure compatibility and desired results.

Steps to Stain Composite Decking

To stain composite decking, you’ll need to clean the deck surface, choose the right stain, apply it evenly, and seal the deck for long-lasting protection. Find out how to complete each step in our detailed guide.

Cleaning the deck surface

To ensure a smooth and long-lasting finish when painting or staining your composite decking, it is crucial to start with a clean deck surface.

Before you begin, remove any furniture or objects from the deck and sweep away any loose dirt or debris using a broom.

Next, use a mild soap and water solution to wash the entire surface, scrubbing gently with a soft-bristle brush to remove any stubborn stains or grime. Rinse thoroughly with clean water and allow the deck to dry completely before moving on to the next steps.

By cleaning the deck surface properly, you’ll create a solid foundation for your paint or stain application.

Choosing the right stain

To choose the right stain for your composite decking, you should consider a few factors. First, make sure the stain is specifically designed for use on composite materials. This will ensure that it adheres properly and provides long-lasting protection.

Look for stains that offer UV resistance and moisture-sealing properties to prevent fading and damage from weather conditions.

It’s also important to select a stain color that complements your outdoor space and matches your desired aesthetic.

Before applying the stain, clean the surface of your decking thoroughly to remove any dirt or debris.

Then, test the stain on a small area of the deck to ensure compatibility and desired results before proceeding with full application according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Applying the stain

To apply the stain on composite decking, start by cleaning the deck surface thoroughly. Remove any dirt or debris using a brush or a power washer. After cleaning, choose the right stain for your composite decking.

Make sure it is compatible with composite materials and provides protection against moisture and fading. Apply the stain evenly using a paintbrush or roller, following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Allow sufficient drying time before applying a sealant to protect the deck from moisture damage. Remember to test the stain on a small area first to ensure compatibility and desired results.

Sealing the deck

To ensure the longevity and durability of your composite decking, it is important to properly seal the deck. Sealing helps protect the surface from moisture, which can lead to cracking or splitting over time.

Apply the sealer evenly on a clean and dry surface using a brush or roller. Allow sufficient drying time before using your deck again.

Remember that not all composite decking requires sealing, so check with the manufacturer before proceeding with this step.

Pros and Cons of Painting or Staining Composite Decking

Painting or staining composite decking offers several benefits, including enhanced durability and reduced fading of the paint.

However, there are also drawbacks to consider such as the need for regular maintenance and the possibility of paint peeling or chipping over time.

Benefits of painting or staining

Painting or staining your composite decking can provide several benefits. This table provides an overview of the advantages you can enjoy when you decide to refresh your deck’s appearance.

Enhanced AestheticsPainting or staining can give your composite deck a new look and feel. You can choose colors that match your home’s exterior or create a contrast that stands out.
UV ProtectionThe right paint or stain can offer additional protection against harmful UV rays. This can help prevent color fading and extend the lifespan of your deck.
Improved DurabilityPaints and stains designed for outdoor use are formulated to withstand harsh weather conditions. This extra layer of protection can help prevent wear and tear, enhancing the durability of your composite deck.
Covering ImperfectionsOlder composite decks may have visible wear and tear. Painting or staining can cover these imperfections, giving your deck a fresh, clean appearance.
Increased Property ValueA well-maintained, freshly painted or stained deck can increase the value of your property. It boosts curb appeal and is attractive to potential buyers.

Drawbacks to consider

While painting or staining your composite decking can enhance its appearance and offer extra protection, there are a few drawbacks that you should be aware of before starting your project. These potential issues are outlined in the table below.

Limited CompatibilityNewer versions of composite decking are typically protected by a PVC cap, making them more resistant to staining or painting. Some early-generation Trex styles, such as Origins, Accents, Profiles, Brasilia, and Contours, however, can be painted or stained.
Possibility of Uneven ResultsThe results of painting or staining can vary based on the composite material’s texture and color. It is always recommended to test the paint or stain on a small, inconspicuous area of the decking to ensure compatibility and desired results.
MaintenanceComposite decking is designed to be a low maintenance product. Adding a layer of paint or stain could potentially increase the level of maintenance required, as it may peel or fade over time and require reapplication.
LongevityWhile applying paint or stain could potentially extend the life of your decking, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure proper application and longevity of the finish. Failing to do so could potentially shorten the lifespan of your deck.


In conclusion, painting or staining composite decking is possible, especially if you have older early-generation products. However, newer composite decking with a PVC cap may not require painting or staining.

Before starting the process, make sure to clean the surface properly and choose the right paint or stain for durability.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure a successful finish that will enhance your outdoor space.


Can you paint composite decking?

Yes, it is possible to paint composite decking, but it is important to use a specialized paint or stain that is designed for this type of material.

Do I need to prepare the surface before painting composite decking?

Yes, before painting composite decking, you should clean the surface thoroughly and remove any dirt, debris, or mold. Sanding may also be necessary to create a smooth finish.

How long does the painted finish on composite decking last?

The longevity of a painted finish on composite decking can vary depending on factors such as exposure to sunlight and foot traffic. Generally, regular maintenance and touch-ups may be needed every few years.

Are there any advantages or disadvantages to painting composite decking?

Painting composite decking can provide aesthetic benefits by allowing you to change its color or enhance its appearance. However, it may require more maintenance compared to natural wood decks and could potentially void warranty coverage.

Can I apply paint directly onto my existing composite deck without any preparation?

It is not recommended to apply paint directly onto an existing composite deck without proper preparation as it may lead to peeling or uneven application. Proper cleaning and surface preparation are essential for lasting results.

Randy CharlesProfessional Painter

Randy Charles is the owner of, a website dedicated to providing information, tips, tricks, and news about all things paint. With over 10 years of experience in the painting industry, Randy has become an expert in the field and is passionate about helping others learn more about painting. He has written numerous articles on the subject and is committed to providing accurate and up-to-date information to his readers.

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